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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Introducing our newest family member

Back in February, we realized that our pups, Cookie was now 10 years old. And we had said that we were going to get another cockapoo when she turned 6. Missed it by "that" much. So, I was off and running, in search of a cockapoo puppy we could rescue. My travels took me to a city here in southern California called East Rancho Dominguez. I had seen a picture of this puppy, the rest of the litter and a picture of her mom, who looked just like my cockapoo. Except they were in a tiny dirty outside enclosure, soaking wet, filthy and  miserable. The owner claimed they were cockapoos. Not buying it, but they were cute lil things underneath the misery. I made my son go with me, to rein me in if my puppy savior complex became too problematic and I either tried to take them all, or they were obviously very ill and wouldn't be safe to bring home to my older dog.

We arrived in East Rancho Dominguez. My son pointed out that it wasn't a terribly nice neighborhood. Pit bulls chained in the front yard of every house, lots of people just standing around watching us closely. When the owner brought out the puppy to meet us, (past the chained up pit bull, who was NOT a fan of me...) she was dirty and a little mangy, but adorable. She appeared healthy, although she'd never seen a vet, and of course...I fell in love. I didn't think she was a cockapoo, but she was tiny and I figured if I didn't get her out of there soon, she'd become lunch for a huge, angry and well...hungry looking dog.

We arrived home, cute little 2# puppy in tow, stopped at the vet and started her shots, and YAY, received a good report on her health. That was back in February. And now she's almost a year. For grins and giggles, I did a doggie DNA test on her. The tests go all the way back to greatgrandparents. On one side, she is a purebred Yorkie, on the other, one great grandparent was as Bull Mastiff....I kid you not...who mated with a Toy Manchester terrier, and the other great grandparent was a Bernese Mountain dog, who mated with a Spanish Water dog/Pomeranian mix. Nope. No Cocker or Poodle anywhere.The Hubs says that's why she is so challenged....with those two giant dog brain cells floating around and taking up so much room, she doesn't have enough brain power for much else. I have no idea where she came from, but there is no way that the cockapoo I met in East Rancho Dominguez was her mom!  I wasn't surprised...she is adorable, but dumber than a box of rocks. Still not all the way house trained, and the cockapoo was trained in 2 weeks. But she's funny, sassy, playful and just down right wonderful.

Oh..and East Rancho Domiguez? Yeah....that used to be called East Compton. But they changed their name because...well..Compton...So....introducing, as my son calls her "Straight Outta Compton" puppy....weighing in at 6.41 pounds.......here's Bailey!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Plagued: The Ironville Zombie Quarantine Retraction Experiment (Plagued States of America Book Three)...could there be a longer title?

From the publisher:

"Book 3 of the Plagued States of America series.

When a helicopter carrying presidential hopeful Senator William Jefferson crashes in the Quarantine Zone, zombie half-breed Penelope Hope is enlisted into the most unorthodox rescue team ever assembled for a mission to save the very man leading the effort to wipe out her kind from the Plagued States of America...

With the recent destruction of Biter's Hill and Biter's Island, the last remaining sanctuary for uninfected humans inside the quarantine zone stands alone against the seemingly endless zombie horde. Tom and Penelope, survivors of the destruction at Biter's Hill, have taken up residence inside the Elevated Platform Station at Biter's Bend in the hopes of rehabilitating Penelope from her half-breed zombie past. Their plans of a normal life are put on hold, however, when Army Ranger Mason Jones arrives seeking asylum from the very man rallying against him, Tom's own father. When Tom's father's helicopter crashes deep inside the quarantine zone, Tom and Penelope enlist Mason Jones and other survivors of Biter's Island on a mission to rescue him."

My review:
 When I first saw this book on Net Galley, I didn't realize it was the third in a series. And, because it's how I roll....I can't just dive into a series, mid-stream, especially after reading the description. So I purchased and read Book One, Plagued: The Midamerica Zombie Half-Breed Experiment and, Book Two, Plagued: The Rock Island Zombie Counteractant Experiment. The first two books do a decent job of setting up the series, but I'm still not very clear on the whole "half breed zombie" thing. Born to mothers who were bitten, just as they turned into zombies? The results of experiments gone bad? Were said experiments to make more zombies? Less zombies? An army of zombies? I might be confused on this particular plot line.

 And since I'm nitpickin' here....not a big fan of the author's pseudonym. It's like three random, but sort of related words just strung together, like a version of a facebook generated "What is your porn star name? The food you last ate and the street you grew up on...." Although I did do some checking and the author has a  reason for his pseudonym. He's a  "mainstream author" who fears that if he becomes known as a "zombie" writer, he won't be taken seriously in his literary fiction writing. So he has created a "label" as opposed to a pseudonym, which he wants to be reminiscent of the dime store pocket novels. Tomes of the Soul has an excellent interview with the author that you can find here.

Ok..on to Book 3, Plagued: The Ironville Zombie Quarantine Retraction Experiment.  The series is an interesting take on the zombie genre. The author has some original ideas, and they're executed pretty well. The characters are well drawn, and we can understand their motivations. And yet, for me at least, I finished the three books with a sense of ..."meh..that was ok. I guess." Will I await the next chapter in this series? Nah. Probably won't bother with it. And I won't recommend it to my equally zombie lit loving sister. That's mostly because she has this weird tic...(yeah, big sister, I called you weird in my blog,  *tee hee). She can't start a series and not read all of them. This woman actually read ALL of the Battlefield Earth books. ALL OF THEM. There's 10 of them! 10! And I think the author died after the first one, so most of them were ghost written. The first one was good, I'll give you that, but the next was soooo bad, I didn't finish it. And she read them ALL.  (wow....exit stage left on this review...) Wait....I guess I have a weird tic too, with the "need to read them from the beginning...." But at least I'll stop!

But I digress....lets finish this up,

Review copy provided by the publisher, Storyteller Press, via Net Galley. The opinions provided by yours truly.

My rating:
Author had some great ideas, but I couldn't get enthused.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Nirvana by J.R. Stewart: Bliss or Bust?

Nirvana  is the first book of a new series by J.R. Stewart. It tells the tale of a very annoying "animal activist/punk rocker" named Larissa Kenders. Larissa goes by the name of Kenders, because she has some negative weirdness about her first name and well, she's just too much the badass activist /rocker to have an ordinary name. Her brilliant scientist significant other; Andrew,  has discovered something dreadful about this dystopian world in which they live, and has disappeared. Everyone thinks that Andrew is dead, but Kenders can communicate with him in a virtual world call Nirvana.

Aaaand....that's all I want to say about the plot. In many ways the novel is a typical dystopian novel, which I  frequently enjoy. Unfortunately, I  have to actually like somebody in the book to get behind it. And I've gotta say...this book is filled with very unlikable characters. Kenders is just irritating. All the animal activism....without thought for the outcome. "Hey...lets release all the minks from the mink farm! Aren't we brave and intrepid souls? Aren't we the only noble ones in the world who are saving these animals from death? Aren't we just WONDERFUL!" Ok...yeah. They saved the minks from becoming coats. I get that. And no, I don't wear fur, because its not my thing. But I'm betting that all those minks suddenly released into the wild after being fed their whole lives either starved to death or were eaten by predators. And the employees of the farm are now unemployed and can't feed their families. But yeah...you're a brave and intrepid activist, with a poetic soul that society just doesn't get. Blech...

 And don't yell at me. Of course I don't support mink farms, or testing lipstick on animals. But I'm not an idiot and I know you can't just release a captive animal into the wild and they will magically know how to survive.  And since I'm sure I'm the beneficiary of animal drug testing..*see previous cancer posts*, I have to come down on the side of testing for drugs. I like being alive and I may be a mean old woman, but if some critters made that possible, I'm grateful to them and appreciate their sacrifice. And don't get me started on the "misunderstood punk rocker with the soul of a poet that the world (and my mother) doesn't understand". Double Blech.

I was actually going to give up on this book at my 50 page rule, but it was an ebook with locations, not pages. I looked up the page count and was doing the math to determine the equivalent page to location, so I would know how far I had to go. My son walked by and inquired what I was up to. I explained...he said, "Don't be a pussy...it's 135 pages....read all of it...". Sigh...so I read the whole thing. The WHOLE THING. Damned kids. Okay, so I skimmed a bunch of it.  Read parts of it very quickly. Very. Quickly. But I finished it. So there.

Nirvana will be available on November 10th at your favorite bookstore. But...meh....not my thing....

(Review copy provided by the publisher, Blue Moon Publishers, via Net Galley. The opinions provided by yours truly.)

My rating: 
I’m sure lots of other people liked it.