Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review: Portrait of Lisane da Patagnia by Rachel Swirsky ★★★★

Portrait of Lisane de PatagniaThis is the second short story that I picked up from Tor for free - again, I was drawn in by accolades - this was a Nebula Award nominee - but mostly I was hooked by the cover. I LOVE the cover... it's almost vampiric, like the taller woman is breathing the life right out of her victim. I love the haunted quality the woman in white has, and the way she seems to be basking in the theft of her. I love the kind of greedy sensuality of the cover.

These are the things that I thought when I picked this up. I didn't notice the paintbrushes, and despite the title, I didn't really think of this book being about art. I don't really read book descriptions much, and I didn't read this one. I read it while I was reading the story though, and I almost wish I hadn't, because even the one sentence teaser of a description caused me to assume things about the story. Which is why I don't like to read them in the first place.

I was not thrilled with the other free Tor story I picked up. It told everything and showed nothing, it lacked substance and meaning and just did nothing but disappoint me. In comparison, Portait of Lisane de Patagnia had all of that. The writing was evocative and descriptive, and the story was interesting and compelling. I wanted to know where it was going.

It seems like I've been reading a lot of stories about art as a method of creation, but not very many stories about art as a method of destruction. But really it wasn't so much about the art, this story. It was more about the relationship between this particular artist and her subject, between teacher and student, lovers. It was about the bitterness that can be created when hopes and expectations aren't met, and how that bitterness can create something new and powerful in its own image.

I really enjoyed this little story, though there were times when I was a little confused, because the narrative jumped around from present day to scenes from the past, and there wasn't always a clear delineation between them. But it wasn't difficult to keep up with the story, I just had to backtrack a couple times.

I can't say that I really liked the characters, but I could identify with them and I had no trouble understanding them. I am always a little impressed by this in short stories, because it seems to me that identifiable characters are hard for many to write even in full length novels, so to do so in only 32 pages makes me happy. There are only a few authors that I've seen write stories this short (or shorter) that have well-written characters, and they are among my favorite authors. I take this as a sign that I may need to search out more of Swirsky's books.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: Swift, Brutal Retaliation by Meghan McCarron ★

Swift, Brutal RetaliationI picked this ebook up when Tor was offering it for free a while back. Apparently this story was nominated for an award, and based on that, and the title, I thought that it would be the kind of story I'd like. Sadly, I am disappointed instead.

I really don't know why this story would have been nominated for anything other than a re-write. It had potential to be really great, but everything that it could and should have been was missing, which is a shame. Everything in the story is just told to the reader: Ian died. Sinead did this to Brigid. Brigid did that to Sinead. Their mother cried. Their father stomped upstairs. Everyone was angry at everyone else, and most of it was misplaced. This last was literally told to the reader just like that. Cold. Distant. There's no reader investment in the characters, or the story, no emotional content at all, despite this being what could have been a really emotionally charged story of two sisters' relationship changing in the wake of their brother's death. There was no growth, no change, nothing was learned, there was no ending... this story just contained a bunch of things that happened and then ended as more things were happening.

I don't even know what the point of this story was. I thought I knew, while I was reading, but it was like a square peg being jammed into a round hole. It just didn't fit.

The more I think about it, the more disappointed I get. It's a shame, really. This honestly could have been a great story if there was just some spark of life in it somewhere. Some growth, something in the characters that made me feel for them. Instead it was just sad in a I-feel-sorry-for-this-book way, not in an emotionally sad way.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review: The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons ★★★★

The House Next DoorThis was not really what I was expecting, but I liked it quite a lot. I was expecting something along the lines of a traditional ghost story, but, instead, I got something similar to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House... but better, in my opinion. The two books share quite a bit of ambiguity, in that we're never truly sure if there is something going on, or if it's all just in their heads, but I felt like this story just worked a bit better for me.

Almost from the start, I was kind of drawn into this book. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. Well, thinking about the house, anyway. I really liked the slow build-up of tension, the slow escalation of the situation to a breaking point. I liked the surrounding normality - the breaks in the narrative when Colquitt talks about going to the grocery store, or meeting with friends, or taking a trip. These things were described with a detail that really allows the reader to see the scene, so when the next house related issue is brought to light, it seems all the more troublesome.

I loved the writing for that. The descriptions were perfect at walking that line right between showing the reader everything and allowing the reader to fill in some of the blanks on their own. We have a description of the house as being modern and beautiful, two stories at least, with a basement, a wall of windows in the back... but otherwise, we can imagine it for ourselves.

Part of what I loved about the description of the house is how it seems so light, so bright and inviting. I kept seeing the house in an anthropomorphic way, at times with an innocent expression, and then others a kind of sly calculation and spitefulness.

I know that a lot of this feeling is due to the story being related by Colquitt Kennedy. She seems so sure of herself, so sane and reassuring and honest - but her reliability is definitely in question. She hated the thought of the house from the very start. She wanted her lot, her privacy, her green-lit bathroom... and then when she sees the plans, she supposedly falls a little in love with the house, or at least stops hating it as much. (This can kind of be believed, given the epilogue.) But who's to say that she wasn't truly crazy as a shit-house rat and creating all of this in her head to justify the awful things that she did to sabotage those living in the house she never wanted to be there in the first place?

Colquitt may be a clever liar, even lying to herself, or maybe not all there. Walter, her husband, seems to be so in tune with her that it wouldn't be all that hard to get him on board, as indeed it wasn't. Or maybe it was Walter who was the doting husband and caretaker - a model for Buck, perhaps?

OK... I don't really believe that's the case - well, not ENTIRELY - I'm just making a point that events may not necessarily be as Colquitt relates them. There could be a rational explanation for the things that happened there.

I did a quick search online to see if I could find info on the name Colquitt, because it's unusual. I found this description of the type of person who bears that name. It's probably complete bunk, but parts of it fit this Colquitt to a T:

  COLQUITT: You can be a writer, painter, musician, promoter, great salesperson, a lover of beauty, socially in demand, and sometimes extravagant spender. Your energy might be scattered, but you have the ability to bring an idea to completion. You might be psychic, but not know it.
You desire to inspire and lead, to control other's affairs. You are giving, courageous and bold, action oriented, energetic and strong willed. You want to make a difference in the world, and this attitude often attracts you to cultural interests, politics, social issues, and the cultivation of your creative talents.

Anyway, regardless - the story was unsettling either way. And I liked it for that.

The end was a nice twist, one that I wish was just a bit better explained, honestly. So much detail went into some of the more mundane aspects of the story, and then the end was just glossed over. (I'll admit though, that rushed quality does help my Crazy Colquitt theory!)

If I have any complaints about this one, it would be the dialogue at some points. It sometimes read like one of those therapy exercises where you have to verbalize your feelings and reactions: "When you do ____, it makes me feel _____." It was just a little bit stilted and awkward, and I don't think that people really talk like that. Even well-to-do upper middle classers.

I did enjoy this book quite a lot though, and I think it's one that I'll read again at some point. I feel like there are things that I'd understand better a second time around.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Review: The Devil You Know by Mike Carey ★★★★

The Devil You Know (Felix Castor, #1)Despite like 20 people I know having read (or wanting to read this), I'd never heard of it until discussing the best Urban Fantasy books and series... And then, because I'm half-demon myself, this one stood out from the crowd and sounded like it'd be something I'd really enjoy. To be quite honest, I'm a little tired of the vampires and the werewolves and whatnot, so demons and ghosts seemed like a nice change.

And it was.

I really enjoyed this book. I've been in a bit of a slump lately, and so it seemed like it took me forever to read this, but I got there in the end and I liked it a lot. I loved the kind of... gritty realism the book had. It felt less like fantasy than real life - if real life had ghosts and demons and those who were capable of seeing and dealing with them.

This book seems to come with an intertwined recommendation: If you like The Dresden Files, read Felix Castor. And vice versa. (Again, odd, because last year I read EVERY SINGLE HARRY DRESDEN BOOK THERE IS and Felix was mentioned not one time to me... HMPH!) Anyway, I can kind of see why, because Felix and Harry both kind of have that snarky, just-a-guy-who-can-do-stuff thing going on. But, they were quite different, too. I've been thinking about it this morning, and it's taken me a little bit of time to realize it, but in SOME ways, I liked Felix more than Harry. (What? Like it's WEIRD to brood over fictional characters or something. Pfft.)

I don't want this to be come off sounding like a criticism of Harry, because it's not. Some of the things that I'm going to mention are parts of WHY I love his character so much. But they work in HIS world - not so much the one that Felix lives in.

First, Harry has this kind of (to use Hermione's words from The Order of the Phoenix) "saving people thing". He's chivalrous and kind-hearted with a dirty mouth and a quick temper. He has a lot of internal doubts about his ability to be the man -or the wizard- that he needs to be. Which is, of course, what makes him that man/wizard. Harry Dresden knows who he is and what his powers can do, and he has a kind of feeling of responsibility to use them to help people. I love these things about Harry, because the man that it makes him (without giving anything away) is one that I love and pity in equal measures.

But Felix was... just a guy. And I liked that. OK - maybe just a guy who was slightly more in tune with the no-longer-alive than most other people. He didn't have the hero thing going on. He didn't really head out into the fray to protect "his" city or to do good deeds... he just got caught up in a mess. He has his own doubts, his own dark history, his own fears. I really hope to see more of this in the remaining books in the series.

I liked the plot as well, and I think that it lent a good deal to the realism of the story. This was an already fucked up situation that went completely FUBAR, and then some. There are books (like The Dresden Files) where the fantasy is so entwined that to remove it would be impossible - and I wouldn't want to. But then there are books like this one, where the fantasy aspect is more... like an addition. Take away the ghosts and demons and whatnot, and you STILL have a really good story. With them, and you have a really good urban fantasy story. And I really liked that. But the fantasy aspects never felt tacked on or like an afterthought. They meshed perfectly with the story and the world, especially old city London with all its history, and I loved it.

I will definitely be reading more of this series.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Review: Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare ★★★

Romeo & Juliet; Or: How Verona High Society Was Devastated Due To Two Kids Who Couldn't Keep It In Their Pants for 24 Hours.

This story is only a tragedy in the sense that, through their stupidity and selfishness, Romeo & Juliet caused others to suffer.

When we meet Romeo, he's in the throes of grief over Rosalind, who he is "in love" with, but who is not interested in him. Oh, he's in a right tizzy over her. The sun shines out her ass and all that, and the world is just a pit of despair without her in his arms, yada yada yada.

Then, OH HAPPY COINCIDENCE, he learns that she'll be at the Capulets' place for a party, so he can go stare creepily at her for a while, and just be in her presence. (Wonder if they had restraining orders back then?) Anyway, while at the party, Romeo blinks and forgets Rosalind completely, because pretty girl! And... is that...? Why yes. That IS the sun shining out of her ass. Someone must have just misplaced their flashlight at Rosalind's rear, because now that he's seen the true sun, there is OBVIOUSLY no comparison in the brilliance of the light.

We're told in the beginning of the story that Montague and Capulet have this feud thing going on. I dunno why, they just do. Makes for a convenient conflict. Tybalt, of Clan Capulet, recognizes Romeo, and thinks he's there to start shit. Remember - feud. So, he makes to fight him, but is shouted down... so he just files it away for future reference. AIN'T NO MONTAGUE GON' COME UP IN DIS CRIB, YO!

Romeo gets all kissy with Juliet. Juliet gets all swoony (it was her first kiss, being all of almost-14 and all), and within a few hours they are engaged. The next day they are married.

Taking things slow. As a lovely wedding gift, Romeo kills Juliet's cousin Tybalt. Well, I mean, Tybalt started it! *stamps foot* He TOTALLY killed Mercutio FIRST! DANG! And so he's banished from Verona.

Verona Death Count: 2

Juliet loses her shit.
Romeo loses her shit. (That's not a typo. Even Friar Lawrence calls Romeo out for crying like a little bitch.)

I would like to take a moment right now to talk about Juliet's moment of losing her shit. Because it is just a moment. Her nurse, who goodness knows needs to be slapped at the best of times, can't be trusted to relay a message accurately, and essentially mindfucks Juliet into thinking for a goodish chunk of time that it's Romeo who is dead. Understandably, Juliet is distraught at the thought that her boyfriend of 12 hours/husband of 3 hours is dead, and she didn't even give up her maidenhead yet (not making this up... she literally laments the fact that he'd not taken her to bed yet)... So, when Nurse FINALLY sets her straight that her boyfriend isn't the murdered but the murderer... Juliet is relieved, happy, and sees this as a comfort.

She sees the murder of her lifelong cousin at the hands of a dude she's known for 12 hours and who previously was a sworn enemy... a comfort.

And she didn't even know if the sex was good yet. O_o

Anyway... So, like... They meet up that night, Juliet finally finds out how the sex is (apparently good enough - WHEW!) and in the morning, Romeo leaves town (banished), and Juliet's kindhearted father promises her to Paris (who I am sure is a nice man, but apparently he ain't no Romeo) and when Juliet refuses, he casts her out. Well, he leaves the option for her to be uncast her out if she agrees to marry Paris. He's a good dad. So accommodating and caring.

She demands Friar Lawrence to help her, so he gives her a potion to allow her to fake her death. She lies to Mummy and Daddy that she'll marry Paris, and then fake-offs herself. Much sadness ensues. The Friar tries to tell Romeo of this plan, but his letter was waylaid, and he found out about Juliet's death through another messenger who didn't know it wasn't real, and he makes haste back to Fair Verona to real-off himself to spend eternity with his wife. Of two days, if my count is right at this point.

Apparently Paris also had the thought of going to visit Juliet, and he meets Romeo, they fight, and Paris dies.

Verona Death Count: 3

Romeo offs himself.
Juliet offs herself.

Verona Death Count: 4 & 5

The parents show up with the prince, who after about 5 minutes' investigation into the events, basically says "See what this stupid feud did? Everyone loses."

So, unless I missed someone in my accounting, Romeo and Juliet caused 2 1/2 deaths per day of their marriage. Could you imagine the state of Verona had they NOT both killed themselves out of angst-ridden lust?

The moral of this story: Just have sex and get it out of your system.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Review: Closure, Limited by Max Brooks ★★★★

I really enjoy Max Brooks' stories. I love his insightful way of looking at the zombie culture, what it represents, what it means for us, what we would, or could, do about it if it were to occur.

I recently recommended Max's World War Z to a friend, and loaned him my copy so he could read it. (Don't worry, it's back in my possession now, and unharmed. :D) He returned it with the comment that it was probably one of the best stories about society in crisis he'd ever read, and that the realism was incredible. I completely agree, which is why I recommended it to him in the first place. ;)

So anyway, my point in mentioning this is that Max Brooks' books have been on my mind recently, and so when I was browsing Audible last night looking for something to listen to so I could clean the kitchen (What? Like you don't...), I discovered Closure Limited. I'd never heard of it before, so I was kinda excited by the thought of new material.

So, I downloaded, listened, and cleaned... in that order. Priorities, people. O_o

Overall, I liked this - maybe not AS much as Zombie Survival Guide or World War Z, but close. I think part of what detracted from this a bit was the format and the reading. For one thing, the reader sounded a lot like Max Brooks himself to me. I have heard Max read on the WWZ audiobook (the abridged one - I've yet to listen to the newer unabridged version), and I've seen him on that one zombie documentary show that I can't think of the name of... *IMDBs* "Zombies: A Living History". So for the intro, the reader's voice worked fine for me... but in the stories themselves... it wasn't the best match.

That's not to say that the performance wasn't good... It was good, but I am kinda picky when it comes to audiobook readers, and I wouldn't say that Christopher Ragland is among my favorites. The male voices were OK - but the females were... not. And three times he had to do accents: one from The Netherlands (if I remember right?), another from Vietnam, and then a woman from China. Oddly, the Chinese woman's voice distracted me the least, which was kind of contradictory to how I felt about how he read other women - maybe it was the more staccato way in which he read her that helped. Not sure.

Before I talk about the individual stories, I'll just mention one other thing that detracted from this book for me, with regards to the audio version. That issue is that each story is headed by a chapter. "Chapter One: Closure, Limited". I didn't actually NOTICE this, though, until midway through the 2nd story, when I was wondering what the hell the events I was listening to had to do with where I thought the story was going. I'm used to stories jumping around at chapter breaks. It gives a different perspective, and progresses the story, etc, so I heard, "Chapter Two: Steve & Fred" and didn't think anything of it being a NEW story, but a 2nd chapter in the story I was listening to already.

It was a little distracting, the be honest. Probably in print form, this wouldn't be an issue, because I'd know, getting to the next story, that it's not really "Chapter Two". Anyway, so when I eventually realized that it was a different story, it made a LOT more sense.

Moving on to the stories themselves, I really enjoyed them.

Closure, Limited:
Think about a zombie apocalypse... You know that the undead are everywhere, and that they are relentless killing, and turning, machines. Think about your loved ones, the ones that are now out of contact with you in your safehouse, or compound, or whatever. You don't know whether they are alive or dead or undead. You hope that they are alive, but the odds are... slim. After a while, the wondering starts to get to you... it starts to be harder to live with NOT knowing than it would be to just mourn. That's where Closure, Limited comes in - they allow you to end that uncertainty. They provide a service that gives just what their name says: closure. Granted, there's a certain amount of self-deception that's required, because, after all, you HIRED this company to give you closure... but if you just need the symbolic aspect, you're all set.

This one really made me think... It is kind of awful in its way, and extremely risky, but could I really say that I wouldn't want something like this to exist if I was in the situation of needing it? At the very least, it would be cathartic to destroy the hope that just stubbornly hangs on and insists on tormenting us...

Steve & Fred:
When I listened to this one last night, I was... not impressed. It didn't help that I didn't realize it was a new story (as I mentioned above), but to add to that the story also has a shift of its own. So, to be fair, I listened to this one again this morning, and I've changed my initial opinion. This is a GOOD story. It's like a little polaroid of a story, one that is still working on developing toward the middle. There's not much to this one - it's 22 minutes long, so, maybe I'd estimate a similar number of pages if the reader goes through 1 per minute. Maybe double if he reads slower. I dunno. But either way, the way it expands to show the whole situation is impressive, and enormous in its capacity for dread. And the irony of the story-within-a-story aspect is not lost on me. This is good stuff. 

The Extinction Parade:
This one is probably my least favorite of the lot, and oddly enough for the "unreality" of this zombie story containing vampires. Yes. Really. 

I mean, it's not that I'm against vampires and zombies in the same story; in fact, usually I'm good with that. But in Max Brooks' universe, zombies invade the normal, everyday world due to a virus. There's nothing paranormal about them. So the insertion of the paranormal here just felt... out of place. 

That being said, if I put that aside, the story is still a good one. It brings to light the concept of resources - that if suddenly a previously thought continually renewable resource suddenly starts to dwindle, would those who rely on the resource notice in time to stop it... COULD they stop it even if they did? 

The Great Wall: 
This story, previous to my re-listen to Steve & Fred, was my favorite of the four. Now, I'd say they are tied. I loved this story for everything that it represented in terms of human resilience and stoicism and courage. It brought tears to my eyes, both of pride and sadness, and I loved every second of it. 

This one is definitely a keeper for anyone who enjoys zombie lit, or who is a fan of Max Brooks, or both. I definitely recommend it. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: The Biggest and Brightest Light by Marilyn Perlyn ★

Another random WeGiveBooks read.

This one was a little better than the last one, I think, but only in that it actually had a story. But honestly, I think it could have been much better.

I know that this is for kids (the age range is 4-7), but I felt like there were a lot of issues with this one. Not only were there missing commas all over the place, but this was nothing but tell, tell, tell, and the story jumped around quite a lot.

For example: The book starts out on the last day of summer, with 6 year old Amanda receiving a letter with her new teacher's name in it. The teacher's name is Dr. Malko (I just had to look it up, actually. And it was probably mentioned once a page for all 56 pages), and Amanda is worried that she might have to get a shot. Cut to the first day of school, when Amanda meets Dr. Malko and is immediately reassured that she's not that kind of doctor. She then asks the students to tell something about themselves, and Amanda immediately yells out about her iguana, her puppy, her family, etc.

Nobody else gets a word in (not in dialogue anyway - it's said that they all wanted to hear more about Amanda's stuff though), and then Dr. Teacher is shutting down intro time to hand out schoolbooks.

Then suddenly it's story time, Amanda's favorite book is read. Amanda guesses the hat from the hints given. And then suddenly it's Halloween... and Amanda is going to be a witch! Amanda Amanda Amanda. I know that this is supposed to be some sort of memoir about one little girl's caring when her teacher was in need... But that's not really the vibe I got from this. I kept feeling like she just needed to be the center of attention, the "It" girl in her class, teacher's pet.

Anyway, so then when Dr. Malko's daughter got sick around Thanksgiving (because suddenly Thanksgiving!), Amanda decided to do something to help. "She thought and she thought... and then she thought some more... until a great idea came to her." She'd make Christmas decorations, sell them at $10 each, and raise money for her teacher. (Because suddenly Christmas now!  There's literally no progression in time. It's just BLINK and it's a new holiday.) And just like that it was done. These cycles of Amanda thinking and thinking and thinking some more and then just great ideas coming to her happened two more times, and each time the great idea was over and done with in less than 2 sentences. Because, you know, the focus is AMANDA, not the kindness itself. We need to remember how selfless and caring Amanda is... it's not really all that important WHAT she did, or how she did it. She just did, OK!?

This is all the more annoying since this is apparently based on true events. I didn't get anything out of this book. I wasn't moved, I wasn't impressed or inspired. I was kind of irritated. Not really the reaction they were going for, I bet.

Review: Good Luck Bear by Greg Foley ★★

Another disappointing children's book. I'm beginning to wonder: Are books for children more about the pictures than the story?

Let's consider:
This book is about a bear who randomly comes across a three-leaf clover one day. His friend, Mouse, says "Hey, I heard that if you find one with FOUR leaves, you'll be lucky!" So, Bear goes in search of a four-leafer. He encounters a couple other unhelpful anthropomorphs: A monkey who says they don't exist, a turtle who says it'll take forever to find one if they do, an elephant who says he found one once, but doesn't remember where, a gopher who wonders aloud whether Bear will be unlucky if he never finds one...

And then Bear gives up.

But never fear! Mouse has stuck through the search with him, and while Mouse didn't find what Bear was looking for, exactly, he found something better: a FIVE leaf clover. I'm extrapolating here in the assumption that was in fact better, because that is literally the end of the story.

So, the moral to this story is that if you give up on something, someone will just... give it to you.

The artwork again is the saving grace for this one. It was adorably cute. Story? Not so much.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Review: You Can't Go To School Naked by Dianne Billstrom ★★

I've set myself a goal of reading 150 books this year. I am not even close to being on target. I'm like 12 books behind.

It's quite sad, really.

So, when I remembered, I was like "Oooh! I can feel as though I've accomplished something almost like reading!" AND, even better, I have done something to tip the Karmic scales a little more toward the positive, since my spending 5 minutes to read this book has resulted in a book being donated to the Overbrook School for the Blind, in Philadelphia.

I picked this book almost at random. I am not much of a children's book reader, to be honest. I don't have kids, so I don't really have much reason to, other than to do a good deed. I have come across some cute ones, though, really enjoyable books with fantastic artwork and a really fun reading experience.

Unfortunately, this one wasn't one of those.

I think it tried to be, but my first, and lingering, thought as I read this was that it reminded me of Dr. Seuss's rhyming structure. The first few lines in the book were:
"I must wear clothes? That's what you say?
I don't LIKE clothes! I say -- NO WAY!"

Sounds like Green Eggs & Ham, doesn't it?

So the actual story is about a couple parents telling their little boy about all these horrible things that could happen if he went to school in ze buff. He could get dirty, or sunburned, he could freeze, he could get slime all over him in Show & Tell when he has to hold the frogs and snails, he wouldn't have any pockets for cool things that little boys pick up off the ground, etc.

But the whole time I was reading this, (I mean, when I wasn't also repeating "I do not like them, Sam I Am") I was thinking:  "That's not really a good way to get a little boy to want to wear clothes. Boys like to get dirty, they like gross things, they don't really care about sunburns or cold as long as they are having fun. These things sound like Little Boy Adventures, not 'consequences'."

In the end, spoiler alert, the little boy doesn't go to school naked, because his parents traumatized him with all of their dire warnings of awful consequences of doing so.

Me, I'd have just said, "If you go to school naked, all the little boys and girls will be able to see your noodle, and they won't want to play with you!  *cough* ...Until they're older anyway.

*distraction technique, engage!*
Cookie? "

I'm gonna be a great mom. :D

Anyway, it was OK, if a little wishfully idealistic. The drawings were cute, but I think the story could have been better.

Monday, April 1, 2013

I Done Got Me A New 'Do!

I was a little tired of the old look of the blog, and it was really starting to get on my nerves with some of the column width issues I was having. Adjusting the widths wasn't really doing much to improve matters either, so I said to myself, "Self, let's just do something different!"

I agreed, naturally, and so... yeah. Here we are.

What'cha think?