Tag Archives: family

Review: Threads of Malice

Product Image: Threads of Malice

Threads of Malice
My rating: 4 out of 5.

I read Threads of Malice last week1 and wowsers! If you’ve read Ghosts in the Snow then you need to be warned before reading Threads that Ghosts is a much lighter book than Threads. The villian in Threads is far more evil than the one in Ghosts and this gives the book a much darker tone. Still with that being said, Threads is a great read.

This time around Mrs. Jones takes us out of the castle and up into The Reach. Young boys have been disappearing throughout the region for the past couple of years. When Dubric arrives in the area; he’s greeted by dozens of ghosts all at once. It’s quite the unexpected & draining experience for him. Additionally, we get to see Dien’s family and Lars learns what real family life is like.

I don’t really know what else about the story I could tell you without giving away either the mystery or the good non-mystery bits. This is a problem that I’m not the only one has. I say this because at ICON this past weekend, I attended a panel where Mrs. Jones read some passages from Threads; as well as a few pages from her third Dubric book2. One of the passages she read from Threads was included one of my favorite scenes in the book, though it turns out we visualized it somewhat differently. The scene takes place as Lars along with 2 of Dien’s daugthers are walking into town to buy some supplies3.

He hurried after them, their names hovering in his throat, but he halted after a few steps. Aly climbed onto the head of a massive stone rabbit, then slid down its back, laughing all the while. Jess leaned against it, her hand on its nose, regarding him with mirthful eyes.
“Lars, Hargrove, I’d like to introduce you to your geandfather’s rabbit.” She bowed with a flourish and grinned at him.

That’s just a fragment of the scene, but it’s the important part to me. When I first read this scene, my mind drew up a picture of a rabbit sitting up on its hindlegs wearing a waistcoat (like something you’d expect from Alice in Wonderland). The rabbit was made of a “mostly” white marble, with bits of grey scattered about here & there. The weather had caused a small crack to form near the top of the rabbit’s head, just above the left eye. Some moss had begun to grow in that crack, looking something like a scar and giving the rabbit a certain roguish appeal. From speaking to Mrs. Jones at ICON, I found out she had imagined the stone rabbit looking like a rabbit you’d see in nature. Ok, so maybe it’s not all that important but I found the scene very endearing.

I’m feeling a bit out of it; so I’m going to wrap this review up. The book was excellent but didn’t quite grip me like Ghosts had. On the other hand, the intense evil and darkness in this book was somewhat balanced out with Lars getting his first real taste of what family life is like. It’s a highly enjoyable read and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to any adult readers4. Mrs Jones, good job and I look forward to the next book!

1 Since then I’ve read through Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters and Witches Abroad. I just didn’t feel like writing up reviews for those books.
2 Currently, the third book is titled “Valley of the Soul”.
3 Taken from pages 144-145 of Threads of Malice.
4 Given the forms that the evil takes in this book; I would not recommend this for younger readers.

Ban This!

I just found out we’re in the middle of the ALA‘s annual Banned Book Week. So here’s a little meme….

Instructions

Copy the ALA’s The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000 into your blog/journal/website/forum/whatever and then bold those books that you’ve read. If you think you’ve read a book, but you’re not sure then put those books in italics.

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
61. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Hmm, there’s too many on that list I’ve not read yet. Ah well, now I’ve got a list of things to look for on my next trip to CPL.

Feeling Better & Mumbling Randomly

*blech* I hate being sick. Sure, it’s paid time off from work (121.5 hours of sick time remaining) but I’d rather be feeling good and taking vacation time. I am mostly over the bug I’d caught, but still feeling a bit congested. That being the case, I’m skipping coffee today in favor of hot tea1. This being Wednesday, my preference for tea caused a bit of confusion.

Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Buttercup is marry’ Humperdinck in a little less than half an hour. And every Wednesday, myself and a few co-workers head over to the Terrapin to get a cup of real coffee2. Almost without fail, I order a “Grand Canyon” which is 2 shots of espresso, steamed milk, a shot of dark chocolate syrup and a shot of mango syrup. *yum* When I got there today, I picked up their tea menu and Rob (one of the owners) ordered me to put it down. I explained about the congestion and he accepted it, but I wouldn’t say he was happy about it. Then I ordered their Chinese Breakfast tea, as the description sounded similar to the yunnan jig tea I’ve mentioned before. Hot caffeinated beverages acquired, we headed back to the office and I headed back to the mountain of email that had arrived while I’d been out. After clearing out that mess (most of it went straight to the trash), I started/continued testing a problem I’d been working on Friday. I’m still processing the data for that test now, but I’m also starting to wonder if I should have stayed home again.

Today, like Sunday, I woke up feeling better than the day before. The problem is like Sunday, I didn’t stay home. Sunday, Ariesna & I were invited to go to Niabi Zoo over in Illinois with some of her family. It was a fun day and I took quite a few pictures3 but by the end of the day, I was totally wiped out and realized I should have stayed home. Now I’m not wiped out (so far) but I do feel more tired than I should from just sitting at a desk, staring at a computer screen. Ah well, not much I can do about that now.

BTW, last night I upgraded Cath‘s site to the current version of WordPress. I was kind of annoyed at how long it took but then most of that time was taken up my crappy ftp client having problems deleting the files for the old version from the webserver. Mind you I was booted into Windows at the time4 which undoubtably was part of the problem. But I did eventually get it done and wouldn’t you know it looks nearly identical to what it did before. I’d call that a good sign for a seamless upgrade, but I’m waiting to hear back from her before I call it a success. So why the upgrade? In part to patch some old security holes and in part because all the new/interesting stuff for WP is happening on the newer versions. This way if she feels like going out and picking a different theme5; it should be trivial to install it.

Anyway, one of the reasons I was annoyed with the amount of time it took was last night also happened to be the season premier for NCIS. I’ve been a fan of this show for a while now, but season 2’s finale was murder. Quite literally, as they killed off one of the NCIS agents. I was very much looking forward to seeing where they’d take the show next, but with upgrading the site and some other things I didn’t get to watch the show as thoroughly as I would have liked. From what I did see, I’m not sure how enjoyable season 3 will be. I don’t care for the new characters they introduced into the NCIS office (Director Jenny Shepard and Agent Ziva David). The romatic background between Gibbs & Shepard could be an interesting subplot but they seem to be pushing it too hard in an episode which should be dealing more directly with the remaining NCIS agents working to find Kate’s killer. And then to make the episode a 2-parter leaving us on another cliff-hanger is distinctly annoying. *sigh* I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they can pull this up with next week’s episode.

1 Next to chicken noodle soup, hot tea works best for clearing up congestion and helping me feel better.
2 The first part of this paragraph is a quote from The Princess Bride. And when I say coffee, I mean flavored espresso.
3 I’ll see about posting some of them later. Incidentally, there was a classic car show being held on the zoo’s premises so don’t be surprised if you see more car than animals photos.
4 I had some work to do that required M$ Word, as OpenOffice Writer couldn’t properly edit the fancy formating in the document (originally created in M$ Word).
5 By perhaps looking through the themes in Alex King’s Theme Browser….

Pukka’s Links of the Week

It’s been a good week for interesting links…
From Pukka:

Not from Pukka:

Ta-da!

Ladies of the Internet, you missed your chance! By the time you’re reading this, my fiance Ariesna and I will have completed exchanging our wedding vows and will be shoving cake into each other’s faces1. I’ve known that this day was coming up for some time, but it hadn’t really sunk in what was happening until the rehearsal tonight2 at the church. The sun was shining down and flooding the church with light. My groomsmen were following me to the front of the church and would crack into “Whistle While You Work” or something equally silly. We got to the alter area and we waited for the bride’s maids to come up and finally for Ariesna to be walked up my her father. Then we were holding hands and she was staring up into my eyes with this smile that just radiated joy at me. I’m pretty sure the pastor said something or other to us, but I wasn’t really paying attention to him at that point. I did hear something about practicing our kiss and that part went really well. Then it was all over and back to my Mom’s place to finish up a few last minute things before I headed back to the apartment while Ariesna headed down to her parent’s place.

I’m sure that seems horrendously old fashioned but we’re not going to get to see each other until we show up at the church for our day of wedding bliss3. She’ll show up at the church and get changed into some sort of remarkably girly wedding dress that I’ve yet to see. I’ll show up fully outfitted in my kilt. Yup, a kilt. I’ve got some Scottish blood in my veins and over the past couple of years, I’ve become more interested in that side of my ancestry. Back in the early stages of planning these festivities, I decided too get a kilt and wear it at the wedding. Many of my male friends and family have mocked this decision, particularly after learning what the full outfit cost but I think it’s a good investment. Though I do have to wish I’d found those online kilt rental places earlier so I could have the groomsmen in kilts too. Perhaps then they’d not be so quick to make snide remarks about me wearing a “dress”. Oh and that reminds me, I’ve heard and read many a good quip as a reply to what is worn under a kilt. Most of them I just laugh off, but I’ve got one that works for me. When asked by my oldest brother what I planned to wear beneath my kilt; I told him if he really wants to know, he has to buy a ticket from Ariesna to find out. :p

I apologize if this post seems even more rambling than my usual babblings… But I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I’m swamped. So now I’m off to get some rest; because as you know, if you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.

1 Note: I am under a threat of pain of death if I get any cake on her dress; so I’ll probably be all nice and gentle when I feed her that first piece of wedding cake.
2 I’m writing this post shortly before midnight on Friday, 6 May 2005 but I’m going to change the date/time of the post so that it doesn’t appear until the wedding ceremony has begun. I may get my past/present/future tenses a bit mixed up because of this, but you’ll just have to cope with that.
3 And yes, we’ve already heard many, many, MANY times about the lady from Georgia who had her break down and ran away to Alberqueque. Rest assured safe guards are in place so we won’t be kidnapped and so that neither one of us goes any further insane than we already are. Thank you for being the 900th idjit to make that joke to us.

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