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Book Review: The Revival by Stephen King


This is going to be a short one because I don’t have much to say about it. I didn’t hate it, so I don’t want to spoil it. But I didn’t love it, either, so there isn’t much to gush about. Shorter version of a short review: if you like whisper-subtle horror that leads to a truly bizarre climax, absolutely read this book. If you like Stephen King in general, consider picking this one up.

The novel opens with an idyllic scene from a small town on the eastern edge of America. It’s Stephen King, though, and that goes without saying. A six year old boy (Jamie, our main character) meets the town’s new preacher, a young man named Charles Jacobs. We are also introduced to Jacobs’ beautiful wife and young son. Red flags for days. It’s not a spoiler to tell you they die, it basically tells you as much on the back flap of the book. And, obviously, right? It’s at that point that Jacobs abandons his faith and tells the town (from the pulpit, no less) that they’re fools to believe in God.

What follows is a brutally real recounting of Jamie’s life after Jacobs leaves town. He joins a band, finds drugs, joins a different band, gets addicted, gets ousted from yet another band, and finds himself homeless. He stumbles through a carnival looking to score heroin and runs into Jacobs instead. The former preacher is running some kind of magic show there. He tells Jamie he can cure his addiction with electricity.

And that’s about all I’m willing to say. It gets pretty twisty from there. It doesn’t, however, get scary. I’ve always adored Stephen King and I don’t begrudge him expanding his craft. Murder mysteries and experimental fiction are all worthy endeavors. I even like them, most of the time. But when I saw the cover, and read the short reviews, I expected old style Stephen King. Or even his more recent oppressively creepy work that doesn’t deliver scares but more the feeling that nothing will ever be all right again.

Read this book for Stephen King’s impressive style and unique voice. Or for the story of two men whose lives become perpetually intertwined because of one good deed. But if you want to be scared, pick up something by King’s son, Joe Hill. I’m reading 20th Century Ghosts right now and it’s damn terrifying.


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Movie Review: The Boy (no spoilers)

These days, a trailer tells you exactly what you can expect from a movie. The trailer might as well be a synopsis of the plot. Especially with a horror movie. So I saw a trailer about a possessed doll and big creepy house and a hot babysitter and I thought, yeah, OK, I know what this is. I was pleasantly surprised.

I can’t say too much in this review without spoiling the whole thing, but I can issue this warning: the story is slow to start. They chuck you right in with the babysitter, Greta, riding in a taxi up to this giant spooky mansion. There’s a couple pointless, frustrating jump scares before you even meet the titular boy. It gets a bit tedious  for a time after that and it’s chock full of horror movie tropes.

If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve pretty much seen the first hour of this movie already. The original boy, Brahms, died in a house fire 20 years before and his parents treat a terrifyingly life like doll like he’s their little boy. Spooky enough, except Brahms keeps seeming like he might actually be a little boy. And it turns out that the parents (who call each other “mummy” and “daddy” just to add to the creep factor) have been looking for a nanny so that they can go on a two month vacation. They give her rules to follow which she immediately disregards when they walk out the door. Which leads to wacky doll related hi-jinks. The grocery boy comes around and fills out the plot and also prods Greta into sharing her backstory.

Then the movie goes fucking bananas.

This isn’t a good movie, but isn’t bad, either. I wouldn’t recommend it to a film snob or even a horror buff. It’s pretty standard fare, even with the twists. The plot pretty much falls apart with even the most cursory of inspections. However! If you can enjoy being scared without needing to pick apart every little thing, you should definitely see this movie. It’s genuinely enjoyable and has a few proper scares that aren’t just the typical jump scare.

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Harry Potter Candy Jars

I’m a terrible, terrible blogger. But I’m a phenom when compared to my abilities as a crafter. My husband is good at everything he tries, I’m not so fortunate. However, I had this idea and I got really excited about it. Lily, my niece who you likely remember from my kid crafts posts, asked me for candy for Christmas. So I needed to think of a way to give her candy and have it look like a present. I’m fancy like that. Teenagers are the worst.



Now, Lily has never been huge on Harry Potter, much to my chagrin, but she’s fond enough of it for my idea to make sense. My other option was Percy Jackson and the candy is all just regular candy in that world.


I bought these super cool purple mason jars to start with.



Then I found labels from Harry Potter candy online. Fortunately everything I used was briefly an actual product, so I didn’t have to dig deep for artistic skills that I don’t possess.


I had originally meant to attach the labels in a super crafty fancy way that would look really good but I ran out of time. It’s been a super hectic Christmas season this year. So instead I used moderately fancy glue that I bought at Michael’s. That, combined with the fact that every surface of these jars have raised writing on them, means my labels don’t lay as flat as I would have liked.

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All the same, I’m pretty happy with my final results. I put the candy labels on the front and then Honeydukes labels on the back. Except for the Ton Tongue Toffee, which is a Weasley creation, and thus got a Weasley label.

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Licorice snaps=Twizzler bites
Acid pops=Dum-dums
Cockroach cluster=Turtles
Jelly slugs=Gummy worms
Ton-tongue toffee=Espresso hard candy
Bertie botts=Jelly belly jelly beans

The person whose opinion really matters was also pretty pleased with the result.



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Working from home, I guess?

I’m not a highly qualified potential employee with no degrees and only one long-term position on my resume. Add to that the fact that I have crippling social anxiety and you don’t get a lot of call-backs. As a result I’ve all but given up having a full-time position in a proper workplace. Since that revelation, I’ve been working on my novel and being a housewife and generally feeling worthless due to my lack of income.

During a brief break in my cycle of learned helplessness I decided to look into work from home options. There are quite a few and it’s a bit of a minefield. There are the typical pyramid schemes and sell-stuff-to-your-friends models that are not exactly great options. There are phone-based jobs that are mostly sales jobs and that’s a double can’t do for me. I can hardly talk to my friends on the phone and I guarantee you I couldn’t sell my grandmother a box of girl scout cookies. Yeah, I’m pretty bad.

The most prevalent jobs (and right up my alley!) are typing jobs. Transcriptioning, data entry, and the content mill stuff, whatever you would describe that as. Shilling? That’s biasing the jury, I think. Anyway, I’m not against them, I’m just wary about their usefulness to me. I mean, 75 cents per job and limited jobs? I could make literally tens of dollars! (Note: I am NOT above 75 cents a job, obviously.)

It’s taking a lot of work to get started and I’m not exactly rolling in dough at this point. I don’t expect to be ever, honestly. The good thing is I feel like I’m doing something. I don’t feel so worthless anymore just because I can’t get past my stupid panic to get a “real” job. If nothing else, this experience is making me less miserable and that’s not bad.

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Review: Knife Music by David Carnoy


It’s a strange coincidence that I happened to finish this particular book right after I explained to John why I have trouble reviewing books. See, I tend to group books into two categories: books I couldn’t even be bothered to finish and books I like. I can’t review a book I haven’t finished and it’s near pointless to review a book if you only think of positive things to say about all of them. I have trouble listing a book’s flaws, even if I’m well aware of them, because, if it entertained me, I think it did its job. Writing is a form of art and the first job of art is to bring pleasure. Beyond that, everything else is extra.

Knife Music, though, let me down to an extent that it overshadowed the enjoyment I got out of the first half of the book. It started with such a promise: a solid cast of characters, complex and carefully defined, as well as a clear and interesting plot. For the first dozen chapters or so I was extremely engaged. The problem, however, is that the first dozen chapters are mostly back story. Once the story gets going, in the present, it went all wrong.

The book is billed as a mystery. The plot is pretty straight-forward: a 16 year old girl, Kristen, gets into a car accident and ends up in the OR of trauma surgeon Dr. Ted Cogan. Ted and Kristen exchange words a few times but their relationship seems pretty on the level. Nothing serious or intimate. Jump to five months later and Kristen has killed herself. Entries in her diary suggest that she had a sexual relationship with Dr. Cogan and killed herself because he snubbed her. At least that’s the case that the local Homicide detectives are building.

In my opinion, this is the first place the book goes wrong. The main detective on the case is Hank Madden, a man who has a hatred and phobia of doctors. When he was a child he was raped by his doctor while being treated for polio. This fact is well known, it was even written about in the local newspapers when he made detective. His superiors know about his obvious bias and yet they put him on a case where he cannot possibly be objective. This is the part in the story when I had to say, out loud, “Oh, please.”

It gets worse from there when Ted Cogan, the suspect, starts doing better police work than the actual police. In effort to clear his name, Cogan is investigating the case in secret. He discovers the possibility that there may be more to the story than what was written in Kristen’s diary. Something that the police should have been looking into from the beginning. Something they didn’t even consider, though, because they’re painfully incompetent as well as heavily biased.

Then, just when I thought I couldn’t get more annoyed with the way the story was going, there’s a twist at the end. A twist so mind-bogglingly unnecessary that it made me angry. I’m still angry about it right now, in fact. The author ties everything up all neat and then feels the need to throw another curve ball into the mix. As a rookie, I know a rookie mistake when I see one.

Ultimately, I can only recommend this book to a certain sort of person. If you are good at suspending your disbelief, it is very possible that you could enjoy this book. I have an inability to let myself enjoy something if I find a flaw with it. But that’s my problem, it doesn’t have to be yours.

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I’m Writing a Book

When I was seven years old I wrote my very first book. It was an idea I’m pretty sure I pilfered from a TV show, a story about dryer monsters that eat socks. But I wrote it, illustrated it, and my 2nd grade teacher (Mrs. Scullion, because I never forget anything) bound it for me. It was a project, something I was supposed to do, but it got me hooked. I decided I was going to be an author someday. A famous one, I was sure of it. You know, the way seven-year-olds are sure of everything. 

I’ve always been a talker and, more specifically, a story teller. I want to tell everyone what happened. All the time. Even if maybe I embellish a little along the way. That’s a story teller’s privilege, isn’t it? My social, talkative nature kind of clashes with my other dominate trait: I’m a reader. A bookworm, really. I’ve never gone to a school where the librarians didn’t all know me by name. I’ve always felt that books were where I belonged, if that makes any sense at all. 

What I’m trying to get across is that words are more than how I communicate, they’re how I exist. Since I was seven, I’ve changed my intended career a few times but that first one has always been there. It’s almost like I just put it up in a box in the attic to wait until I was ready to accept it again. I don’t have even half the surety I once possessed but I know I want this. It’s the oldest dream I have and the dearest. 

So. I’m writing a book. Maybe it’ll be great or maybe it won’t, only time will tell. But I’m committing to it with all that I have and that has to count for something. 

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Super-PAX Post Party Edition (Finally Part 3!)

It’s so strange. I’m great at time management and organization for literally everything else except writing. My most favorite thing in the whole world and I am forever pushing it to the back of my mind. Maybe someday I’ll sort out what that’s all about and actually finish a book. In the meantime, Enforcer Afterparty!


We all got dressed up and headed out. The afterparty is a great end to the convention and this year it was especially relieving after an extra day of convention. I decided to get the ball rolling by taking annoying action shots.

Sitting in the lobby!

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Waiting for the bus!


Riding the bus!

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Once the bus arrived the party started off pretty slowly. We sat around and ate and had a couple drinks. We segued to Pool shortly after that. Krystal and I took on Amber and we were losing pretty miserably for a while. Ultimately we won when Amber scratched on the 8 ball. A win is a win!


Nothing too terribly exciting happened after that but we all mostly plastered so it didn’t much matter. So instead of boring you with boozy details I’ll just share with you the pictures I took in my drunken stupor.

Fancy pants pirate John posing with dapper Rowdy. Took 3 different shots to get them both to be serious.


At one point, we had to walk across the street to take the big Enforcer picture. One the way back, I noticed that I could see the Space Needle and became determined to get a picture of it. The results were…so so.

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Of course, we couldn’t leave the bar for good without a group shot.

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Shortly after that we moved on to another bar where I got a great candid of Amelia & Rowdy deciding on a pizza.


Then Krystal wore Amber’s jacket and I found it far more amusing than I should have.


At long last I ordered my last drink of the night and we headed back to the hotel room. A great night, a fun party, and this year, I managed to avoid doing anything embarrassing. Cheers!


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