#840 The Sweeter the Juice by Mark Henry

The Sweeter the Juice by Mark HenryThe Sweeter the Juice by Mark Henry

In the zombie apocalypse it’s hard to survive. It’s even more difficult to survive if you’re trans. There’s only about one doctor around that treats trans patients and he has a strict bartering system. If you don’t barter with him, you don’t get your treatment. The main character of the story falls behind on her payments. The receptionist strikes a deal with her though. There’s this new street drug, that might do what the surgery would do. If she can find out what it does and how, she can get her treatment for free.

What I liked

I do like the idea of addressing medical issues in a dystopian world. What happens when you have diabetes and have to go to the Hunger Games?

What I didn’t like

I have some personal reservations about this book. If you’re trans–fine, I’m happy for you, really. I’d rather you be happy, than miserable. I’m glad we have more acceptance of the trans community. What I am not glad of is all of the young people who say they’re trans because they think it’s cool. It cheapens the struggle someone else has had to go through.¬† I’m more of a do something because you feel it’s right, rather than a do something because everyone else is doing it kind of person. We all know someone who has hopped on some band wagon just because it was the talked about thing of the time, then later, they say it was a phase, or whatever.

What does this have to do with this book? Well, where is it coming from? Is Mark trans? Does he have a sister who is trans? A best friend? Seriously, what’s the deal? If Mark doesn’t have some connection to the trans community, it kind of seems he’s written this character and this story because it’s a hot button topic right now. On the good side, this is Mark trying to reach out to the trans community, although with some of the things in this book, the trans community probably wants Mark to reach on back to where he came from; on the bad side, this is Mark trying to cash in on a hot button topic combined with our scary creature flavor of the decade–Zombies.

It just reeks of less than altruistic motives.

This book is also gross.

Overall

Ugh

Weigh In

If you were trans and undergoing hormone therapy during the apocalypse, what would you do?

Considering that a lot of literature serves a lot of people in different ways, shouldn’t most literature be geared to serve someone in some way?

#835 The Demon Barker of Wheat Street by Kevin Hearne

The Demon Barker of Wheat Street by Kevin HearneThe Demon Barker of Wheat Street by Kevin Hearne

So there’s a guy who is a druid. He goes to this strange carnival, with a couple of other people. A bunch of weird stuff starts happening. Someone is killing someone. A bunch of strange portals, that are actually gooey orifices show up. There’s some sword swinging and some other stuff happens.

What I liked

Um…

What I didn’t like

I’ll be honest with you, I read this; I have no idea what it’s about. Well, I know it’s about a druid and a bunch of gross portal things, that are actually orifices. There’s lots of talk about squishy stuff. It’s gross. I was not entertained.

Overall

If you like weird gooey stuff, read this, otherwise, don’t.

Weigh In

If you’ve read this, what is it about?

If a story has gross stuff in it, does it turn you off of the story?

#834 Hell’s Menagerie by Kelly Gay

Hell's Menagerie by Kelly GayHell’s Menagerie by Kelly Gay

Emma knows her mother wouldn’t let her do this, that is, if her mother knew. By this, Emma means, going to Hell, to rescue a hell-hound and her puppies. She has her own hell-hound with her. Her mother has a special permit to keep him for studies.

Something nefarious has happened to the hell-hound and her puppy. The guess is that she’s at a zoo, of sorts. The zoo is just a tent with rows of cages. Strange animals from all three worlds are there. Emma has a special connection with the hell hounds. She can command them without really speaking to them. A terrible deal is made, a trade. One animal, for other animals. Emma’s not going to leave Hell while all those animals are still in cages. She’ll find a way to get them out.

What I liked

This idea of hell hounds being a tangible thing is interesting. I’ve watched my share of Supernatural, where hell hounds abounded for a while, but the idea of a hell-hound wasn’t exactly concrete in that series. Hell, as having animals, is an interesting concept to think about.

What I didn’t like

I don’t really like this idea of people going to Hell, not in the religious sense, nor in the sense that this book is using the idea of people going to Hell. The very idea of it is awful, even if it’s not a real place. The fact that someone would go there, either by choice, or not by choice, is pretty awful and I don’t like to think about it. I mean, hooray for Emma for all her sleuthing, but not hooray for going to Hell. If it were a place you could go to by walking, or whatever, I would strongly caution people against going there.

Overall

This is number one on a list of places not to go.

Weigh In

If Hell were a real place, you could walk to, would you ever consider going there?

What do you think about supernatural animals?

#803 The Cold Girl by Rachel Caine

The Cold Girl by Rachel CaineThe Cold Girl by Rachel Caine

Kiley always wanted to date her boyfriend, but no one else really saw why. People flat-out didn’t like him, but she did. One night,they were going out, there was a carnival in town. There was a mix up with their phones. Kiley’s ended up smashed and she ended up with her boyfriend’s phone. She knew she shouldn’t peek, but she decided to anyway. He had been really concerned about photos and videos on the phone. She saw the photos; they were of her boyfriend and another girl. She saw that there were videos, she decided to watch one. The video wasn’t what she was expecting. The video showed her boyfriend strangling this girl and then raping her.

Kiley knew she had to get away from her boyfriend. He knew she had seen the phone. He tried to take her on a ride, but the carnie people seemed to know she was in trouble. They told her to go and see the fortune-teller. Kiley’s fortune was not good. She would die tonight. It would take her two days to die. The cold girl would come for her. Her boyfriend did catch up to her and he did kill her. She lay there, for two days, no one found her, but one boy did find her ghost. The cold girl finally came. She had been with the carnival for some time. Her touch froze skin. She told Kiley she could save her. She was a vampire, of course. She liked revenge and maybe Kiley could enact some revenge on her murdering boyfriend.

What I liked

I thought this story was interesting. I’m not all into vampire stories, but this one was kind of neat. I love how this mythology seemed to follow the cold girl, who was cold not only in temperature, but in her lack of human feeling. It seems the murdering boyfriend got what he deserved, much like Rosalie’s one-time fiance in the Twilight series. The story is a bit similar between the two characters.

I, like many people, tend to like retribution stories. If the bad guy gets what’s coming to him, we feel better about the story. We have this deep-rooted sense of right and wrong. We always feel that punishment must accompany a bad deed and we can get upset when it doesn’t. Think something like the Casey Anthony case, most of us feel punishment was not meted out. In this story though, the bad guy does get what’s coming to him.

What I didn’t like

I think I would have liked a full-length book rather than just this little bit. Who knows–I may read more from the series,

Overall

Just one more reason to think carnivals are creepy, as if the Freakshow version of American Horror Story wasn’t enough.

Weigh In

Do you find the mythology of vampires interesting?

Should evil-doers always be punished or are you the bigger person for not punishing them?

#791 The Girl Who Cried Monster by R.L. Stine

The Girl Who Cried Monster by R.L. StineThe Girl Who Cried Monster by R.L. Stine

Lucy Dark loves to tell her little brother monster stories. She makes up every kind of monster you can imagine. Some at your toes. Some are under the bed. Her parents get kind of irritated with her for telling so many monster stories.

One day she’s at the library for her Reading Rangers meeting and she sees something strange. The librarian transforms before her eyes, turning into a monster, who will eat flies, and turtles, and snails. Lucy tells her brother, who doesn’t believe her. She tells her friend, who doesn’t believe her, but is willing to do a stakeout in the library, which he skips out of. Lucy tries to take a picture, but it doesn’t turn out.

The librarian finds out that Lucy knows he is a monster though and Lucy narrowly escapes. When her friend sees that the librarian is a monster with his own eyes, he tells Lucy’s parents, who finally believe her. Their course of action is to invite him over for a dinner, which he will never forget.

What I liked

I liked the twist in this book. I like the idea of something existing, that doesn’t. I like the idea of depicting those somethings as normal people, with human qualities. After all, aren’t the most interesting monsters those you can relate to? I also like this idea of being more than human. I like the idea of living with a secret that makes you both powerful and vulnerable. It makes for some very interesting stories.

What I didn’t like

I don’t like that Lucy’s parents didn’t believe her, but, then again, what parents would? Monsters aren’t real. Also, kids tell a lot of tall tales. Kids make up crap all the time. Sometimes, I side with children on these types of arguments. Let a kid be a kid–and all that, but looking at it from the adult point of view, it can be exhausting to listen to irrational stories and fears about things that don’t even exist. The Boogeyman? Monsters? Something under the bed? Just shut up and go to sleep already.

I know being a kid can be frustrating because adults don’t take you seriously…well, that’s because you’re a kid and not meant to be taken seriously most of the time. When you cross the line into teenagerland, then you can get to have more of your thoughts and words taken seriously.

This whole parent not listening to the kid thing is so clich√©, probably because it’s true. It’s not the most exciting. While I liked the story, we can all see this from a mile away.

Overall

My librarian was not a monster. If anyone was a monster, it was the gym teacher.

Weigh In

Do you think that kids should be taken seriously more often?

If you were a monster, like Bigfoot, or whatever, but you could hide it, would you want other monsters around?