Friday, October 23, 2015

The Marauders


5 Stars

Life's unfair, I've always been told. A saying I suppose that is meant to bring some comfort, a way of answering the age old question of 'why me', 'why now'. There is no 'why', life is simply unfair, out of our control, we have to make the best of it.

Life's unfair. 

It's an unsettling thought having no control. No one could stop Katrina and it's death and destruction that swept the south, no one could stop the levee from breaking after so many years of neglect, and until hell freezes over, no one can stop Lindquist from metal detecting in the Barataria bay and stirring up trouble.

Bills, work, accidents, loss, The Marauders is about life and all that can and will go wrong. The characters are struggling to find their way, stubborn to the core, determined to make ends meet despite the overwhelming evidence that the BP oil spill has wiped out any chance of success for their shrimping business and is attempting to buy their silence with a menial sum of money.

Cooper's characters are real, flawed and slightly annoying, and every one of them searching for a buried treasure to turn their lives around. I felt for all of them, I could relate to their stories, their wants and needs. I'll admit I cried when they cried, but I also laughed when they laughed. Naively I hoped for everyone to succeed, for life to get better. I wanted my fairy tale ending, but this is life right? And life's unfair.

The Marauders is a very real story of the working class and the struggle to get ahead in life. Cooper has created a tale of drugs, pirate treasure, shrimpers a bit twisted and possibly insane, and perhaps just a bit of hope.

I was amused, I was heartbroken, I was inspired. It's safe to say I love this book.

I have only one complaint about this book and it has nothing to do with the story. The cover is fantastic, really vibrant, but for some reason the back cover has a plastic film over it that after three days of reading has started to bubble and peel. I keep my books in perfect condition so I'm a little sad over this but I suppose some would say it shows the book was loved. Just be warned, the back cover will get slightly bubbly on this cover version.

was given this book for review by Blogging for Books

Back Cover Description:
When the BP oil spill devastates the Gulf coast, those who made a living by shrimping find themselves in dire straits. For the oddballs and lowlifes who inhabit the sleepy, working class bayou town of Jeannette,  these desperate circumstances serve as the catalyst that pushes them to enact whatever risky schemes they can dream up to reverse their fortunes. At the center of it all is Gus Lindquist, a pill-addicted, one armed treasure hunter obsessed with finding the lost treasure of pirate Jean Lafitte. His quest brings him into contact with a wide array of memorable characters, ranging from a couple of small time criminal potheads prone to hysterical banter, to the smooth-talking Oil company middleman out to bamboozle his own mother, to some drug smuggling psychopath twins, to a young man estranged from his father since his mother died in Hurricane Katrina. As the story progresses, these characters find themselves on a collision course with each other, and as the tension and action ramp up, it becomes clear that not all of them will survive these events.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

TOM COOPER has been published in dozens of literary magazines and journals, most recently in Oxford American, Mid-American Review, Gulf Coast, Boulevard, and Willow Springs. His stories have been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize. He lives in New Orleans.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Death Note

One book, of the hundreds I've read, has so enthralled me, so amused me that I have read it again and again year after year. 

The Phantom Tollbooth is by far my most cherished read.

That isn't to say I haven't enjoyed a book just as much, in fact there are many books I have enjoyed MORE and I've sworn to read these again someday, but The Phantim Tollbooth always ends up winning that battle.

As of last Friday, I had won numerous gift cards for my local comic book shop for my team winning Sunday night trivia (we were literally slaughtered last night at horror film trivia... It was sad) So I took my gift cards and decided to pick up a new series to read.

Some god was on my side that day because it lead me to Death Note.


I picked it up off the shelf... And put it back. I had never read anime or manga before, I thought the story seemed intriguing, the artwork was nice, but still, I had to phone a friend. I asked him if I should have this 'death note' a try and he replied:

You mean Death Note with L and Light and Shinigami and death and awesomeness? It's only my favorite series ever and I have good taste.

Well, he does have good taste because Death Note (black edition) volume one is officially the second book I have ever re-read, and that was within the first 24 hours of just having finishe it.

I felt like I'd withdrawn from a drug I was so unsatiated with where the story left me.

I NEEDED MORE.

Which is what lead me to spending all my hard earned gift card on the entire series so I can find out what is happening!


Let me give you a brief run down.

Light Yagami is a high school student preparing for college. 

Ryuk is a bored Shinigami who wants to amuse himself and drops one of his death notes into the human realm.

When Light finds this death note he is of course skeptical of what the note describes itself as. A book of death. Write any name into the book and that person will die. Through trial and error Light discovers the death note is indeed a Shinigami book of death and he sets out to make his delusional eutopian world in which he will pass judgement as the gods who sent him his power.

His efforts, however, are seen by some as murder and L will do anything to stop him.

I am on volume 2 now and I am blown away. Trust me, I'll be reading volume 2 again as soon as I'm finished. L and Light are both geniuses at opposite ends of the good/evil spectrum, their battle of wits so subtle, their desire to make the world a better place so similar and yet so completely different.

If only their places had been switched...

All I can say is you have to give this series a try, trust me, I have good taste 😉
 



Thursday, October 8, 2015

Review: J

J J by Howard Jacobson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well, it's a book. Just not a very good one.

I thought, when I saw reviews calling J the next 1984 I thought I would be reading an inspire, eye opening saga of life and its purpose in this world and instead I got a jumbled, confusing tale of a guy with OCD tendencies and a girl he thinks he loves...

Let me get straight to why I didn't like this book. I spent more time trying to figure out who's talking and who's thoughts are being exposed that I didn't have room to fully piece together the story line. Conversations quickly switch from actually being spoken to being remembered as a now past conversation with no breaks between he said/she said. A full paragraph will be filled with a back and forth banter and by the time I reached the end I had no idea who said what and I didn't care enough to go back and figure it out.

There were times I was halfway through a chapter and realized I was reading about someone other than the main character and had no idea.

Everything is disjointed, I couldn't make sense of it, nor do I plan to try. The story has large gaps of dull, boring information, it picks up a bit at times, but overall I care nothing for the characters or their world and world views.

I was given this book for review by Blogging for Books.

View all my reviews

J


2 Stars

Well, it's a book. Just not a very good one.

I thought, when I saw reviews calling J the next 1984 I thought I would be reading an inspire, eye opening saga of life and its purpose in this world and instead I got a jumbled, confusing tale of a guy with OCD tendencies and a girl he thinks he loves...

Let me get straight to why I didn't like this book. I spent more time trying to figure out who's talking and who's thoughts are being exposed that I didn't have room to fully piece together the story line. Conversations quickly switch from actually being spoken to being remembered as a now past conversation with no breaks between he said/she said. A full paragraph will be filled with a back and forth banter and by the time I reached the end I had no idea who said what and I didn't care enough to go back and figure it out.

There were times I was halfway through a chapter and realized I was reading about someone other than the main character and had no idea. 

Everything is disjointed, I couldn't make sense of it, nor do I plan to try. The story has large gaps of dull, boring information, it picks up a bit at times, but overall I care nothing for the characters or their world and world views.

I was given this book for review by Blogging for Books. Let's hope the next one is better.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

National Bullying Prevention Month and Free Books

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. To help promote happy, healthy living and self acceptance Sticks n' Stones and the Garden of Phea will be free all weekend long on Kindle.

Check it out Here

I was listening to the radio last week and heard Marc Mero (if you don't know who that is, check him out) He was speaking about his new, amazingly affective campaign ThinkPoz (ThinkPoz.org) a highly successful anti-bullying program.

His program takes him to schools around the world where he speaks to students about acceptance and the consequences of bullying and to hear him speak about his program and to see the deeply moving photos he posts on Instagram is heart warming. His message is positive and life changing and a great opportunity to help our kids.

You can contact the program on their site and ask that they contact your school, the program does have some funding available to speak to schools for free so don't miss out on this opportunity.

One thing I did not know about was the crimelines here in the US will take tips on bullying very seriously. Police officers will go to schools and speak to kids to try and reduce the problems within schools. The purpose is to protect identities and reverse behavior before a child is injured or worse.

As parents, we have a right to protect our kids. If the school has ignored your complaints about bullying, or you know your child is being bullied and are afraid of making things worse, these are just two ways to anonymously help.

I hope you all enjoy your free copy of Sticks n' Stones and the Garden of Phea and let's help spread the word on bullying and the need for change.