Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Duct Tape Bags:

Duct Tape Bags By: Instructables Authors
Non-fiction: e-book

This is a collection of 18 things that you can make out of duct tape, all are some sort of bag.  There are also links to many other duct tape things.  The instructions were mostly clear and there were many pictures.  The pictures are clear even in black and white, but if you had a color e-reader they would be even better. (Note: one author did not speak English as their first language, and one had some formatting issues.)  The bags range from a reinforced zip top bag to a camping backpack complete with frame and adjustable straps.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Vampire Defanged:

The Vampire Defanged: The: How the Embodiment of Evil Became a Romantic Hero By: Susannah Clements
Non-fiction: Literature, History, Paranormal, Religion 208 pages
Book Count: 30

This book deals with the changing religious and cultural themes found in vampire stories.  It starts out with Dracula pointing out the way the story was about evil and sin as seen from a Christian world view.  It then talks about the works of Anne Rice and how they also deal with religious ideas but not in a way that has clear cut answers.  Next it moves on to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV only) and the spin-off Angel, where many different religions as well as secular ideas formed there universe.  Then  the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries and True Blood removed most religious themes from their vampire stories, and replaced them with purely cultural themes of discrimination, what makes one a human, and how laws/rules change in different cultures.  The last major series discussed is Twilight, which basically removed all religious issues with vampires and changed them into "vegetarian" super heroes.  It also talks some of a few other books and movies is slight details. 
The book is a limited, but interesting look into the way that changing culture changes our stories to match it.  It would be best if the reader had at least a basic knowledge of all the stories before reading this book.  You should also know that it is clearly written from a Protestant Christian Worldview; however, they are not writing in a way that condemns vampire stories and they try to understand the Orthodox/Catholic beliefs that combined with earlier folk beliefs to make up traditional European vampire stories. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ghost Writers In the Sky:

Ghost Writers In the Sky By: Anne R. Allen
Fiction; Mystery, E-book
Book Count: 29

Note: this review is based off of a free copy of the book I was given from the author.  I did get it after entering a contest for a free book on their blog. (here) But I was not the official winner. 

Next semi unrelated to the story thing: I wonder how e-books have changed the number of people reading forewords, and other info at the start of the book.  Most e-books start at the start of the story and not the title page, etc., so when this book started at the foreword, that's were I did.

This book is a Camilla Randall (aka: Dr. Manners) mystery.  It can be read as a stand alone novel.

Camilla didn't think her life could get much worse after her messy divorce and related money problems.  But then a story about her being into all sorts of kinky things makes front page news and she agrees to talk at a writers' conference at and old ranch in California just to get away from the story.  Unfortunately, not only does the story follow her: but the ranch's owner see ghosts, her gay ex-boyfriend who was outed by her ex-husband is there,  the conference is full of jerks, there's a celebrity impersonating transsexual dominatrix, anti-wine groups,  hidden rooms, scandalous letters, and then there's the dead body in the bedroom. As you might guess this story has a number of twists and turns as well as a collection of quirky characters that make for some odd and funny situations, but even with these the mystery stays central to the story.  Amazingly with all that is going on she almost has time for romance, horse theft and attacking ghosts with designer shoes.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Gutenberg the Geek:

Gutenberg the Geek By: Jeff Jarvis
Non-Fiction: e-book, history

This is the story of how Gutenberg ended up making the printing press.  It talks about how he was the first geek, an early entrepreneur, and changed the face of the world.  It was interesting to see all the work that went into making the press.  It also at the end talks about the way the Internet is like the printing press and why the author feels that it is very important that it not be limited in any way especially by governments. 

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Fruits Basket Vol 1:

Fruits Basket Vol 1 By: Natsuki Takaya
Non-Fiction: Manga 211 Pages
Book Count: 28

Tohru Honda is a high school girl who lives in a tent after the death of her mother.  It turns out the land that she is camping on belongs to the Sohma family.  They invite her to live with them as their maid/cook.  She agrees and ends up learning the family's secret; they turn into the animals of the Chinese zodiac when hugged by members of the opposite gender.  The member of the family that she goes to school with is the rat.  His big brother is the dog.  And another member of the family moves in.  He is the cat, who is not a true member of the zodiac.  Much like in the story of the Chinese zodiac he hates the rat. 

Friday, May 04, 2012

Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensi vol 7:

Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensi vol 7 The Power of Negative Thinking By: Koji Kumeta
Non-fiction, Manga 169 pages
Book Count: 27

In this volume we learned about attachments, priorities, groups, wooden string, 1/2, supply and demand and types of things.  We also meet a couple new people and a number of negative clones.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Joyful Momma's Guide to Shopping & Cooking Frugally:

Joyful Momma's Guide to Shopping & Cooking Frugally By: Kimberly Eddy
Non-fiction: Home Ec., cooking, religion 144 pages
Book Count: 26

This book is a good basic book for someone starting out working on saving money.  It did have a couple of tips that were new to me, but most of them were things I already knew from other books or from learning on my own.  There were also a number of recipes in the book as well.  These all looked tasty and had a lot of hints/tips/variations to make them cost effective no mater what things are on sale that week in the store.  It would be a good book to give someone starting out on their own.
Note: I labeled this book under religion as it does have a few Bible quotes and things about Christianity in it.  It is not overly religious.