Monday, December 29, 2014

December Book Haul

Ahhhhhh, that new book smell. Nothing quite like it, is there?

Keep an eye out this week for that Enchanted giveaway!

Corny Joke Monday

How do you measure a snake?
In inches. They don't have any feet.

Monday, December 22, 2014

One Video to Rule Them All + Corny Joke Monday

I discovered this today and now everyone else on the Internet can go home. This is it. The pinnacle. Brilliant. Plus, some much needed Samwise Gamgee love, which is always a good thing.


Kudos to the talented Hilly and Hannah Hindi. You just got yourself a new subscriber, thanks to the friend who posted this on Facebook. Sharing is awesome, isn't it?

Speaking of sharing...

Corny Joke Monday
Knock knock.
Who's there?
Control freak. Now you say 'Control freak who?'

Now wasn't that a great way to start the week? ;)

Happy Sixth Day of Hanukkah! 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

DOUBLE REVIEW + Major Gushing: The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade (bks 3&4)

Here it is, the moment you've been waiting for!

I had to sludge through the unpredictable temper tantrums of my new video editing program, but I'm now happy to present my spoiler free reviews for Empire of Ruins and Island of Doom, the third and fourth and *sob* final books of Arthur Slade's series The Hunchback Assignments.

But wait! There's MORE!

I couldn't say everything I wanted to say in one video. And let's face it, I want to talk about spoilers.


So I did a second video in which I basically gush and rant and rave, so if anyone wants to discuss the events of The Hunchback Assignments, now is the perfect time.

Happy Second Day of Hanukkah!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Blog Wishes You An Enjoyable Week

[The Blog]
scanning for content...
scanning for content...

scanning for Host...
scanning for Host...

Apologies, visitor, there seems to be a lack of content for today. [beep beep bloop beep] The Host appears to be beyond contact.

This is unfortunate.

As The Blog, this void of a scheduled post ...irks me. Perhaps I can substitute something of entertainment value for your human emotions.

scanning Internet...
scanning Internet...

By my calculations, the combination of cats and Star Wars in this 'meme' is an assured success to draw laughter.


By my calculations, this video of three grown men making strange faces and lip-syncing to high-pitched music in their car will be enjoyable to your perceptions.


Corny Joke of the Week
What do you do with a dead chemist?

By my calculations, this joke will not be appreciated by those who value 'humor'.

Humans are strange creatures.

The Blog.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The String Quartet by Dan Hupalo,BottomRight,-51,22_AA300_SH20_OU08_.jpgThe String Quartet
Dan Hupalo
3 stars

When Dawn found the old cello in the dilapidated barn, she thought she had scored that jackpot. Now she could join the music class at her new school. She would be able to practice again. But when she begins to play, things happen. Magical things. The music of Dawn's cello and her string quartet draw them into another world.

Using music as a form of magic is a beautiful and fresh concept in this genre. As someone who's always loved the idea of playing music, it gave me goosebumps. While it did take me awhile to get into this book, it has a great story, with twists and turns, and a convoluted plot. It would have received a higher rating, except for a few flaws, the biggest of which was the occasionally confusing writing style. There is a lot of head jumping in the narrative and -while I love a good head jumping story- some of these leaps were not made clear to the reader.

There is a prologue, set during WWII, before we jump forward to present day. The prologue is interesting; it concerns several characters introduced later on down the road. My issue with it is that we didn't get a good indication of how these characters went from their situation in the prologue to where they wound up in the present day. I gleaned the gist of what happened, so there are no serious repercussions in the book, but it felt like there was a hole in history.

For the most part, the characters feel well-rounded and we get to see different sides of them. Abigail, the haughty popular girl, was probably my favorite because she had such opposing elements in her personality.

The world of Roethagen where the quartet finds themselves had some very interesting elements, and I like the way that magic can be stored and used from a pipe system throughout the main city. There seem to be detailed rules of magic here, and ordinary things like eating a meal can make you more susceptible to someone's attack, which I found utterly fascinating. I would have liked to know more about the world, its history, magic, and social structure but, for all the time spent here, I never felt familiar with it. This could have been intentional, since the quartet spends more time trying to find a way home than learning about the culture, but I would have loved to feel more a part of this place.

I did enjoy how much the real world was involved in the story. The adventure isn't just contained in this other world, but its repercussions follow the characters back and forth.

This is a fun story and I'd recommend it for the tween crowd of Brandon Mull's Beyonders.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Thoughts on The Librarians Premiere

The Librarians has been one of my most anticipated shows of the year. As such, I wanted to share a few thoughts on last night's premiere.

We are returned to the fun but frantic world of the Library, full of mythical and magical treasures, without much change in the ten years that have passed. At least, until someone is murdered at the Library's door.

While still following the same basic premise of the original films (Librarian tries to out-hunt bad guys to a magical artifact), the series has upped the stakes a little by taking away a major asset and adding a sudden redistribution of magic back into the world. One can only imagine the repercussions, though I understand a dragon is somewhere in our future. The show feels like a natural and long-overdue extension of The Librarian universe and my only question is: Where has this show been all these years?

I loved that Noah Wyle, Jane Curtain, and Bob Newhart reprised their original film roles, and especially that Wyle (perhaps all three) will maintain a reoccurring role. Also, the new cast is fun and interesting. Many people were sold by the presence of Christian Kane (who could really blame them?) but all five of the new characters have great quirks and they all make me laugh. That's very important. I'm excited to see them develop. 

While there was despair, death, betrayal, and the potential destruction of earth as we know it, The Librarians kept to the sense of fun and adventure that made the movies such a joy to watch, and that in my opinion is key. A show like this can't become too serious, or it loses some of its irresistible flavor.

Not only will fans of the movies (and Christian Kane) like this show, but I think it could do a good job filling the void left by the end of Warehouse 13. Both shows share many similar qualities. Like, the basic premise. So Warehouse fans? Give it a shot!

The Librarians was, in short, everything I hoped it would be.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

OBSIDIAN THREADS Blog Tour: Book Review

Obsidian Threads Blog Tour

Rho has awakened. Its acolytes will tear worlds apart to release their deity from its prison. Any hope of Rho's defeat lies with two people lost in a strange universe.

Kaden and Aren must learn to harness all their unique gifts if they are to rival the god of darkness reborn. They will not fight alone. A brilliant geneticist, a furry dwaro, two less than friendly elves, dragons, and a spunky red-haired computer stand with them. But if Kaden and Aren fail to reach their full potential, all of reality will be devoured until nothing remains but Rho...

Obsidian Threads
by Charlie Pulsipher
4 stars

A few of you may remember the review I did for the first book in this series, The Crystal Bridge, which turned into a discussion of the sci-fi genre as a whole because this was one of the first sci-fi books I actually really really enjoyed. 

Obsidian Threads is no different. While the sequel leans heavier into the fantasy side of the spectrum, it is -like its predecessor- truly a mix of sci-fi and fantasy. Dragons and AIs. Elves and dwarves and genetic serums. Nerds and prophets and ancient gods. The Lost Shards has it all.

And remember that wicked, unbelievable cliffhanger Pulsipher left us with after the first book? I'll set your fears at ease right now -there isn't another one. This is a satisfying conclusion and totally worth the wait. 

What I most loved about this book was how beautifully Pulsipher weaves the sci-fi and fantasy elements together. (Again, the aforementioned combo of dragons and artificial intelligence.) Additionally, we get the added dash of medieval politics, genetic experiments, and (omg) a love triangle.

As you might have noticed in my most recent review, I'm not a huge fan of the messy YA love triangles, but this one I like. First, it's not actually 'messy'. Second, it's not a simpering, whining YA romance*. It's as straight-forward as two (pretty cool) guys liking the same girl and respecting her enough not to pressure her and waiting for her to make a decision. There's also the humorous aspect, because neither guy can bring himself to dislike the other and it totally irks them both.

There is so much going on in this story, but it's so well-crafted that I never felt overwhelmed. Not only is an ancient Prophecy coming to bloody fruition on the world of Ealdar, not only does the Earth science research compound Omegaphil start experimenting with forces they don't understand, but we also get the twin gods added to the mix, watching it all unfold below them and constantly teasing the reader along. All of these stories and their characters twist and twirl around each other, never quite fully lining up UNTIL the explosive finale which, well, I never saw coming.

Mind = officially blown.

Would I recommend The Lost Shards series to others? You better believe it.

Charlie PulsipherCharlie Pulsipher is a were-hamster and lemur enthusiast living in Southern with his lovely wife and neurotic dog. He writes sci-fi and fantasy, and sometimes both at the same time. He’s obsessed with surviving the inevitable zombie-pocalypse. It’s coming. Tell your friends.

He spends his time away from the keyboard hiking and camping in stunning Southern Utah. He also enjoys woodworking, painting, drawing, and pretending to have super powers.

He neglects his twitter account. @charliepulse

His velociraptor impression is worth seeing. Ask him to show you. It just may be the coolest thing about him.

*Not that all YA romance is, just that the YA love triangle can get pretty grating.

ENDLESS Blog Tour: Book Review

Whether you're stopping in for the blog tour or one of my regular minions, welcome and enjoy your stay!

A Modern Cinderella Tale
by Jaclyn Weist
3 ½ stars

Sydney dreams of stairs. Her nights are filled with an endless spiral staircase that she can't escape. Exhausted from running them every single night, there seems to be no escape. Add to that her obnoxious stepsisters and monstrous stepmother, Sydney's life is less than peachy. But things are about to change when Sydney's father signs her up for a magic summer camp to help her learn about her powers.

Endless is a new and interesting twist to the Cinderella story, both in the retelling of it and how Weist decided to use the modern day twist. This is distinguished from most modern retellings because she has kept the magic in play, as opposed to the more popular strictly contemporary versions. The magic added a great pizzazz and good depth for this almost-familiar world. It lent to a more complicated story, with a secret magic society that added a great aura of mystery.

My favorite part of this tale is the personal development from Sydney. In the beginning she puts up with the stepmonsters with little complaint. She is complacent of her position because 'that's just the way it is', but she's also insecure and self-deprecating. It's fun to watch her rebellious streak as she starts to take control of her own life.

As a YA romance, nothing about this book made me happier than the lack of a messy love triangle. And the peasants rejoiced!

The closest it gets is the threat of a love triangle, but it's totally in the range of acceptability. Plus, Sydney and her love interest Luke are completely adorable together.

What irks me in most Cinderella adaptations is when they don't provide a solid reason or explanation for why the father married such a repulsive woman, but Endless gave me a satisfactory answer for it that made the whole story work. It's not just a Cinderella adaptation; it can stand on its own legs.

Any flaws with this book probably fall under hastiness. Some things simply develop too quickly to be totally realistic and others could have done with a little more build-up, back story, or foreshadowing.

On the whole, this was a fun read, a light and fluffy romance with a strong female character. It's a definite feel-good story and would make a great weekend read.

Endless by Jaclyn Weist gets the
TO READ seal of approval.

Jaclyn Weist is an Idaho farm girl who grew up loving to read. She developed a love for writing as a senior in high school, when her dad jokingly said she was the next Dr. Seuss (not even close, but very sweet). She met her husband, Steve at BYU and they have six happy, crazy children that encourage her writing. After owning a bookstore and running away to have adventures in Australia, they settled back down in their home in Utah. Jaclyn now spends her days herding her kids to various activities and trying to remember what she was supposed to do next. 

You can purchase Jaclyn's books here.

Find Jaclyn on her blog:

Monday, December 1, 2014

REVIEW: Hawkeye -My Life As A Weapon

Hawkeye, vol 1 "My Life as a Weapon"

Matt Fraction

David Aja & Javier Pulido

4 stars

I'm fairly new to comic books. My major introduction to the complex Marvel universe so far have been the movies, so when it comes to picking up random comics from the library, it can be hit or miss as far as my understanding of what's going on.

Speaking as an inexperienced comic reader, this is a good place to start. There's definitely history I don't know about, but enough hints are dropped that I could get along. There aren't tons of characters you need to know, and no huge influences from past story lines.

These stories center around what Clint Barton does when he's not running around with the Avengers and they are FUN. Each issue is narrated in the tone of a classic PI story with true-to-form Clint sass, starting off with some great variation of, "Okay, I know this looks bad, but..."

I was hooked on the first issue. It's an average day for Clint, the odd-man out, the Avenger without superpowers or magic. He's normal, he's human, and that's okay. But it was really the dog that got me. Because, well, whatever. Read the thing. It got me right in the gut.

Another thing I like is Kate Bishop, an unknown to me before this, but evidently a regular for this series. She is (was?) another bearer of the Hawkeye mantel, and she keeps up with him in cheekiness and skill, so what's not to love? They've got a great dynamic that's just fun to watch unfold.

My Life As A Weapon is funny, it's different, it has a few warm heartfelt moments, and -hello- it's Hawkeye. Since I can't get a standalone movie with him, I'll gladly inhale these comics. Matt Fraction has done a marvelous job with the writing, and some of the visual storytelling is stunning. At first, I wasn't crazy about the artwork, but I've come to love the minimalist look.

There are a few risque jokes/situations, which is the reason it doesn't get 5 stars. Other than that, my biggest problem with this comic was my knack for turning too many pages at once. Not sure what the deal was. I guess it's just a talent I have to work on. ;)

Corny Joke Monday

Of course, it wouldn't be Monday without our corny joke!
I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. It's impossible to put down.

Now if you'll excuse me, Vol 2 is calling my name. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

SHOW REVIEW: The Musketeers (BBC, 2014)

The Musketeers (BBC)
Created by Adrian Hodges
Based on the novel by Alexander Dumas
Cast: Tom Burke, Santiago Cabrera, Peter Capaldi, Howard Charles, Alexandra Dowling, Ryan Gage, Tamla Kari, Maimie McCoy, Luke Pasqualino, Hugo Speer

Who doesn't love The Three Musketeers, in some form or other? Dumas' classic adventure novel is famed in song and story, with several TV serials, at least four major motion picture adaptations, and apparently a musical (written by none other than P.G. Wodehouse) to its name. (A musical? How have I never heard of this before?!) 

I myself spent my childhood with the 1993 Disney version with a star-studded cast, not the least of which was Tim Curry as Cardinal Richelieu. While this version will always be my favorite, I also love The Musketeer with Tim Roth (2001) and most recently The Three Musketeers starring Orlando Bloom and Logan Lerman (2011).

You might be asking "With so many adaptations out there, do we really need another one?"

Let's just say we definitely need this one.

So settle in, put on this excellent opening theme by Murray Gold (of Doctor Who music fame) that can show you the kind of awesomeness you can expect from this series, and I'll give you a few other reasons why this could be my favorite adaptation of The Three Musketeers yet.



Because Adrian Hodges' brainchild is a television series, there is a lot more room to explore events of the novel. Instead of just a new movie boasting new angles, a television format gives us the opportunity to witness more and different facets of these classic characters. We get more depth for each of the Musketeers, and the chance to become better acquainted with them individually. We don't just see Athos of the tortured soul, the scallywag Aramis who's really such a softie, and Porthos with the heart of a soldier, but what made them this way and where they go from here. That is exactly why we need this adaptation.

One thing explored in nearly every single version is the tortured soul of Athos, husband of the now-murderess Milady De Winter. And who doesn't love a good tortured soul story? Anyone who knows anything about the Musketeers knows about Athos' self-loathing and secret history. This show doesn't shy away from the Athos history everyone expects, but but! We also get the chance to see him maybe move past it. Without spoilers, Athos' character believably and beautifully develops throughout the show and I cannot wait to see what the second season will bring for him. I have never imagined a version of this story where Athos gets to be happy again because no version has ever lasted long enough for us to find out.

12 Reasons Why BBC One's "The Musketeers" Is FantasticEveryone's on the lookout for strong female characters so I'm pleased to tell you that Constance, D'Artagnan's love interest, is wonderfully round and developed. She's tough, but in the no-nonsense housewife kind of way. I love her determination and personality. She's fiery and opinionated, but I also love that she has no qualms about being a woman. Too often 'strong female' characters come across as incredibly masculine, so I love it when I find the leading ladies who are feminine and not ashamed of it. Now, this doesn't stop her from asking D'Artangan to teach her shooting and fencing, but she never complains about petticoats...

In addition, I absolutely love that Treville, Captain of the Musketeers, is involved so much in the show. Many versions I've seen gloss over his involvement or leave him out completely, and he is one of my favorite characters from the book.


While there are several story lines and elements that stretch through the entire season, this is much more an episodic adventure. Each episode sees a new thrilling adventure for the Musketeers, political drama/intrigue unfolding at the French palace, and all the while sneaky CapaldiCardinal makes his plays in the shadows. I prefer this format for the show, where the episode's plot takes priority to the season plot, because it has a lighter, funner feel that's appropriate for the (mostly) action comedy.

Now don't get the wrong impression. This show is not all fluff and frivolity. There are several episodes dealing with major social issues and events of the day, like women's rights and education (The Rebellious Woman), slavery (Commodities), revolutions (Sleight of Hand), the frightening power of the Catholic Church (The Rebellious Woman), and all the joys of royalty, like back-stabbing family members and political upheavals (The Good Soldier, The Exiles, Knight Takes Queen). Plus, there's that mind-blowing thing with Aramis and you-know-who in the finale. Like, what the what?!'s actually kind of brilliant...

Truer Adaptation

Though there have been many additions and creative differences in this show (and let's face it -that's what makes it fresh and so exciting!), I still feel this series holds to a truer sense of the book.
  • Constance, D'Artangan's one true love, is married. While I don't love that an affair is a major part of the storyline, and it would probably be a turn off for some of the other more conservative watchers like myself, it is originally in the novel and it's also historically accurate. I mean, they're French. It also happens to be another one of those things that hasn't been carried over so much into other adaptations.
  • King Louis is more like a spoiled brat than the young noble wrestling with the best choices for his people. He has his moments, sure, but he delegates most things to Cardinal Richelieu. That's what makes the Cardinal so dangerous.
  • King Louis and Queen Anne have no love story. Unlike the '11 and '93 movies, the royal couple are not portrayed as uncertain budding lovebirds, but more realistically as subjects of an arranged marriage who manage to tolerate one another.
  • A possible Man in the Iron Mask reference. (???) So, you know, maybe they're planning way, way ahead for the show's future. I like the optimism!

My favorite by far has to be the relationship and constant rivalry of Cardinal Richelieu and Captain Treville. This is another thing rarely shown in any version that I've seen. As opposed to the all-out war often depicted between the Red Guard and the King's Musketeers, the novel described what can only be called a constant 'one-upping' on both sides, a rivalry far from innocent as it often involves duels and bloodshed but nonetheless something of a sport to be enjoyed if not downright encouraged by the King of France. The Captain and Cardinal are constantly trying to outdo the other in the hopes of winning the King's favor. Though bitter, this rivalry is often rife with jokes and banter, and this series just flows with it.


Okay, I'm not usually the person who points this out -there are so many better ways to judge a good show! -but a fact that can't be ignored is the decent amount of eye-candy here. There. I said it. And I am not ashamed!

There is great chemistry and charisma with the four musketeers and -judging from behind-the-scenes features- they have way too much fun with this show. All this bleeds through into the performance, so yeah. These guys embody the musketeer bond.

Peter Capaldi makes such an incredible Cardinal Richelieu, I'm a little scared to see him as the Doctor when I finally get the chance. *chants DVD release date* He's an amazing actor, but he pulls off the plotting, dastardly man of the robe with such conviction and sass it gives me goosebumps. Speaking of DW, his role as 12 has the unfortunate drawback of not allowing him to reprise his role next season on The Musketeers. *sob* So savor these 10 episodes well, dear reader.

I personally love Hugo Speer as Captain Treville. Father Brown introduced me to this actor in his role of Inspector Valentine, which I always felt lacked in character depth. I had a feeling Speer could really do a character much better justice, given the chance, and his work as Treville proves me right.

Plus, the list of guest stars is stunning, with James Callis, Vincent Regan, Ashley Walters, and Sean Pertwee, to name a few.

Add it to your To Watch List RIGHT NOW

You have no reason not to. It's already been slated for a second season and, while they'll have to work some Hollywood* magic to get around Capaldi's absence, we will get to see the Man in Black aka Rochefort finally enter the mix. *squee!* As far as characters, I feel like this next series is going to give us something incredibly unique in really going beyond what we know and taking the opportunity to explore new facets and development for the characters. I'm talking Athos, Athos, ATHOS!

So those are the reasons. Welcome to The Musketeers.

-Also see BuzzFeed's '12 Reasons Why BBC's The Musketeers is Fantastic'.
*Can you really say 'Hollywood' magic when it's a BBC?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My NaNo-less November + NaNo Resources

For only the second November in seven years, I have opted out of NaNoWriMo. It feels a bit like I'm missing a limb, but I have a very good excuse for bowing out of the writing fanaticism this year. Editing.

For those of you in the throes of NaNo, the promised hopefully helpful resources!

On Writer's Block
Everybody has writer's block problems. It's nothing to be ashamed of. But what is it? What causes it? How do you avoid it? Learning the truth about writer's block is probably the single most advantageous thing a writer can learn, especially a Wrimo writer.

The Four Stages of NaNo
It's always good to know what you're up against. 

Video playlist | Blog
If your NaNo story is falling apart at this tricky stage, a popular option is to head to the NaNo Dares board or delve into some unnecessary back story. This is great to plump up your wordcount, but in revision that will wind up in the trash. Instead, I advise taking a few minutes, an hour, or even a day to brainstorm. You might lose some writing time, but a brainstorming session could save you from the frustration of writer's block, and lots of revision in the long run.

So what are your plans after NaNo? Are you going to shove those 50,000 words into a shoebox under your bed, or are you going to turn that first draft into a book? This video series is all about editing and revising that NaNo mess into something publishable. And you know you want to publish.

Good luck, Wrimos!

EDIT: Random update, guys, but did you hear Longmire lives?! I'm so excited this show is coming back on Netflix! ^_^ 

Monday, November 17, 2014

MASH [Book Edition]

Remember MASH -Mansion Apartment Shack House- that fortune-telling game we used to play as kids? My sister and I would spend hours playing this (invariably her choice of vehicle would always include a tank, but I think that will be hard to find on the car lot).

jessethereader, a fellow booktuber over on YouTube, has invented MASH Book Edition and it has taken the community by storm, for good reason. The categories are World, Job, Transportation, Best Friend, Pet, with of course the classic Husband and Kids, and ALL of the answers must come from a book.

How could I resist playing that?!

I'm going to be totally addicted to this game, aren't I? There are just so many possibilities!

I know you're all tempted to give it a try now, and I want to hear your results in the comments. ;)

Corny Joke of the Week!
You know by now that a corny joke on Monday is how I set a good tone for the rest of the week. Usually this is featured in the sidebar, and it will continue to be, but it's first appearance will be right here on Monday's blog post.

If everyone in the country drove white vehicles, what would we be called?
A white car-nation.
*ba da ba sssss*

Thursday, November 13, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier


In The Brief History of the Dead, Brockmeier uses the idea that, after a person dies, they remain in a world and state similar to life as long as there is someone still among the living who remembers them. When all those who remember them have died, they move on to the next stage of death, which remains a mystery.

The first half of the book held my complete focus. I was absorbed. Brockmeier kept me in a state of suspense, teasing me through the mystery of what exactly was going on, but after the details came into focus, the story quickly lost momentum, because there is not enough plot to keep this book moving. The story derailed with long stretches of prose and pages of description that may or may not have held some second meaning. It left me with an overall sense of 'why?' 

The story itself -and where it doesn't lead- is probably what bothered me. This book has a great concept, and a good start, but it doesn't carry through with enough story or purpose. Everything in this book just is. And there's nothing anyone can do about it. There is no change and there is no potential for change, not for the world or for any of the characters.

The even-numbered chapters follow Laura Byrd, still among the living, trapped in the Antarctic. These scenes in the icy tundra were the hardest for me to get through. Since Laura is alone, there is very little dialogue, only page after page of prose and description. Admittedly, I am a dialogue person, but there is a good way to do large lengths of prose, and in my opinion this was not it. What was meant to be suspenseful or heart-pounding, was made slow and plodding by the tragically impersonal way it was related.

The odd-numbered chapters are devoted to the dead in memoriam, and these were much more interesting. It was the reason I liked this book so much in the beginning, the reason I so hoped to love it. But Brockmeier tried to focus on too many individual characters who had nothing to add to the overall story. Instead of evolving into some story-driving subplot, the dead only served as points for reflection on life. They don't even experience development or much personal revelation. Everyone had questions, but no one got answers, including me. Again, it filled me with the frustration of 'why, why, why?'
This book reaches at times into the high-brow end of literary fiction, a little too wordy and all-encompassing for my taste. With so many dead characters, and Laura Byrd contemplating her own demise, there is plenty of reflection on lives lived. In fact, the main focus of the book seemed to be remembering tiny, inconsequential details of one's life. It got stale fairly fast.

I feel like Brockmeier was trying to be deep and insightful, but sacrificed everything else in pursuit of it. Relating to the characters became difficult, and so did cheering them on because by the halfway point I realized it was in vain. There were great opportunities with this setup, but it wound up feeling disjointed, unfocused, and at the end, disappointing.

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier gets two stars and shuffled off to the Not To Read column.