Noner Says

Kids, Coffee, Crafts, and Chaos

World Without Crows Review

The World Without CrowsThe World Without Crows is both a coming of age story and a post-apocalyptic novel.

The Plot

In 1989 a parasite, commonly called the Vacca B, brought about the end of the world.  A year later our protagonist, Eric, decides to walk from Ohio to Maine in search of an island in a middle of a lake from his childhood.

The Vacca B turns people into zombies, but not traditionally.  The zombies in the book are mostly non-issues.  People who just kind of sit and stare into space and ignore you.  Some of the zombies are “Cracked” and thus more violent, but even they seem to be a non-issue in the novel, rarely making appearances.  Animals can also be infected with the Vacca B and more of the animals seemed to be “cracked” than humans.

My Thoughts

It was a good story and a fast read but seemed to be lacking a few things.  The author uses small sort sentences to tell the story instead of being more descriptive and showing you the scenes.  For example:

“He would have to walk.”
“She was in the street.  Someone had shot her.”

And we don’t delve too deeply into anyone’s thoughts, which makes it hard for the reader to really feel anything about anyone.  There is little, if any, emotion connected to the deaths in Eric’s travels.

You also don’t get any backstory on the characters.  Normally I’m not a fan of flashbacks but would have made an exception in this case becauseThe World Without Crows is full of so many potentially amazing characters who are just kind of there.

Should You Read It

If you want an intensely emotional or scare read, this book is not for you.

This does not mean it was a bad book.  I finished it in a matter of days and it makes for a quick summer read and would rate it 3 out of 5 stars and you recommend it to a teen or young adult who is looking to ease into the horror or zombie genre.

If you would like to give it a read you can buy the ebook or the paperback through Amazon.

Or if you want a slightly more intense zombie novel with a similar theme of traveling to a certain destination in a post-zombie world, you could check out Red Hill by Jamie McGuire.

The Author

Ben Lyle Bedard is the author of The World Without Crows.  He chose to self-publish and markets this novel on his own.  You can find out more about him and his novel on his Website The Blog of Ben.

(I won a free copy of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

If you are looking for something else to read, you might want to look at some of my other reviews.

Full Wolf Moon
Camp So-and-So
and MORE.

Or, visit Wild Verbs to read some of the fiction that I have written myself.

Free Patio Makeover

Have you ever stepped into your outdoor living space and thought, “I would love a free patio makeover?”

I had a moment like that just recently.

It is that time of year again when I start wanting to spend more time outside, but I’m always made sad by my outdoor surroundings.  I’m happy to have a backyard to sit in, but at the same time, I wish I could have someone surprise me with a free yard makeover.

There are things I have no control over like my dog has killed all the grass in the yard.  But there are some small thing I do have control over, like this spot:

This is the side of our patio closest to the house, and where I sit a lot when I’m outside because it is always in the shade.  But as you can tell I’ve not really sat there for a while.  It has become a dumping ground for boxes on the way to recycling and trash hanging off the rails.  The leaves have piled up and the snow this year killed most of the plants I had there.

Clearly, this is an easy fix.  Just put the trash in the trash, sweep up the leaves, and get rid of the dead things.  Easy-peasy right?

Well, I keep putting it off.

I’m not a person who likes to clean.  And when I do clean I like to have the right supplies.  So every time I come outside I start making a lit of things I need.  Like, I need an outdoor broom to sweep up those leaves, because no other broom could possibly work.

Oh, and I need some spray paint for those chairs.  But clearly, they need to be bleached first.  And it’s not yard waste day so I can’t get rid of those dead plants and leaves anyway.  Might as well wait.  And no matter what I do it’s still going to look bad because the whole house needs a good power washing.

I also go outside with everything undone.

Until today!

Free Patio Makeover After

Is it still considered a makeover if all you do is clean?  I’m going to go with YES.  And just look at what nothing but a normal broom and a couple of trips to the trash can accomplished.

Free Patio Makeover After

Oh, and a box cutter, because I hacked off the old outdoor rug on the porch that was filthy beyond sweeping and had been hanging over the edge for a couple of years anyway.

I’m trying to salvage the two small green shoots left in my otherwise dead Aloe plant.  I planted a couple of spider plant babies I got from my mother in law.  The rest of the pots are still empty, but at least not full of dead things now!

If I Had the Dough

This was a $0 makeover, so I  couldn’t ask for too much.  There are a couple of things I might do with this space if I had the extra bucks to spend.

First I would get an outdoor rug for the space.  I love color so I would want something bright and fun like this:

I would also like to get a couple of new, more comfortable chairs, and a new tiny table. The one in the pic is rusty and only standing up because it’s leaned against the wall.

Everyone loves a rocking chair, right? Especially in the South where I live. These would be cute AND comfy.Oh, and let’s not forget, since the rug is gone off the porch I need a new welcome mat for us to wipe our feet on on the way in!

Oh, who am I kidding?  Nobody but me would use it anyway!

So, what do you think?  Was my free patio makeover a success?  What cheap or free changes would you make to this space if it were yours?

Rabbit Cake

Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett

As March faded into April, and with April 1st being Easter, it seemed fitting that I read a book about rabbits.  Because surely a book called Rabbit Cake with a bunny on the cover is about rabbits, right?

No, not really (and no I didn’t really think that), but Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett was a story that grabbed me and didn’t let go.

Elvis’s mom bakes rabbit cakes to celebrate special occasions.  The first day of school, new moons, birthdays.  She says a rabbit meant good luck to a new start.  But on Elvis’s 10th birthday Mom burned the rabbit cake.

Six months later she sleepwalked into a river and drowned.

Elvis is a smart girl.  She knows a lot about animals.  But what she doesn’t know is how her mom’s death could have been an accident.

While her dad starts wearing her mom’s clothes and lipsticks, and her older sister starts sleep-eating instead of sleepwalking, Elvis tries to find any good reason her mom would have killed herself.

Over the next 18 months, she tries to cope with her own grief and her families grief in the only way she knows how.

Rabbit Cake is a coming of age story which is heartwarming, heartbreaking and humorous in all the right ways.  I would love to see a sequel story centered around this family.

MAKING A RABBIT CAKE

Over 1000 Rabbit cakes were baked, eaten, judged or destroyed in this book.  While some were left plain, some were fanciful and some were decorated to look like real rabbits.  Elvis tells us on the first page of the novel:

A rabbit cake is baked in a two-sided aluminum mold, producing a three-dimensional cake.  That’s the miracle of it: the cake stands up on its own, on its four paws.

I pictured them as looking a lot like this cake pan available from Amazon:I’ve never made one before, but maybe we should all start celebrating the new beginnings, or even the daily mundane tasks, of our lives with Rabbit Cakes.

Rabbit Cake is the 18th book out of the 60 I hope to read this year.  See Everything I’ve read on my 2018 Reading List

Is A Quiet Place a Rip-off?

I’ve been seeing previews for a while now of a movie called A Quiet Place.  Due to be released in theaters on April 6th, I have not had a chance to see it yet.

However, since the very first time I saw the preview something about this movie has bugged me to no end.

In the preview we see a family which must be very, very quiet at all times.  Because there is something out there that hunts them if they make a sound.  Any sound.

I kept thinking, “I’ve read that book!”  But I couldn’t think of the name of the book.

So tonight I went digging on the internet and found out that “A Quiet Place” isn’t based on a book.

A Quiet Place is about a family trying to survive in a world that is post-apocalypse.  A creature hunts them if they make a sound.  And looking further into it turns out that one of the children is deaf so the family already knew sign language and all that good stuff to give them a small but slightly better chance at knowing how to survive in silence.

Nothing about it being based on a book though, which confused me because I KNOW the story.  I READ the story.  But I couldn’t remember the name of it.  So I kept typing what I remembered of the story into google until I found it.

In the novel, The Silence by Tim Lebbon (published in April of 2015) havoc has been wreaked on the world by creatures which…. hunt by sound!

It follows a family trying to survive in a world where they are being hunted by creatures who hunt by sound.  The slightest sound means death.  Also, and huge surprise here, the daughter in the story is deaf, so the family knows sign language and has the ability to communicate in silence already.

Judging by what little we see of the creature in the preview for A Quiet Place it is vastly different from the Vesps (the winged creatures who hunt the family in The Silence), but the rest of the story appears too close to the novel for the novel to have not gotten credit.

In some communication on the author’s page I see I am not the only person who feels uncomfortable with how similar they film and the novel are.  The author says he is aware of the film and he also  says:

Hi Folks … thanks for your comments and concerns. There are similarities, of course, but I’m confident that the movie of The Silence will stand on its own. It’s going to be epic!

It is a little troubling, but I guess that’s all I can say about it.

Meanwhile, The Silence itself is in pre-production.  Yep, it’s being turned into a movie.

I can see it now though when The Silence comes out in film version a whole bunch of people are going to be angry because they are going to be SURE that it’s ripping off A Quiet Place.

What do you think? Coincidence or not?

I guess I’ll have to wait until I see the film to pass final judgment, but that preview sure does make it feel fishy to me.

April First – UBC Begins

HAPPY EASTER FOOLS DAY!

Today is/was April 1st.  It also happened to be Easter Sunday.

It also happens to be the first day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for April 2018.

Ultimate Blog Challenge

This is a challenge that I join every year but ultimately end up quitting.

See, I’m a quitter.  When the going gets tough I say, “Nope, I can’t do this!” and pop myself inside of my shell.

Kind of like a terrified turtle, but not as cute.

Why did the turtle cross the road? (Leave your best punchline in the comments!)

Why so afraid?

Well, I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m not like a lot of other bloggers out there these days.  I’m a little “old school.”  I’m a holdover from when blogs were personal, almost like online journals.

See, I don’t try to sell you things. (Except this.  Or maybe this.  Oh, and this thing.)  I just talk about my life.  Which might be cool if I went places and did things but…

I’m not really pinnable, or tweetable or viral.

What I am is real, and maybe relatable.  Pretty darn normal and maybe a bit boring.

So when I join the challenge and I start reading and sharing everyone elses blogs I start to feel a little ….um….  Breakfast Club.

But, somewhere out there in the entirety of the internet is my tribe.

You know, the socially awkward 30-something moms who can relate to how mundane my life is and be all, “I feel you sister!”

In March I had 19 views from 13 visitors.

The only place to go is up, right?

A Thousand Words on Social Media

Social Media Speaks a Thousand Words

There is a saying on how a picture speaks a thousand words.  That has always been true in art and photography, as a fine work of art can fill you with so much emotion at once glance.  Today, with the internet and social media, there are more pictures than ever, and more eyes on them.
Lately my family has hit a patch of hard times.  My husband is having medical problems, and I was made part time at work, sometimes getting as few as 12 hours a week.  This is giving me a raw feeling of helplessness, and a lot of the memes on social media are rubbing salt in those wounds.
I love how Facebook meme’s and gifs let you know how people REALLY feel about you without them saying a word. And if you point out how it applies to you and is hurtful they will always say something that boils down to, “I don’t mean YOU of course. You’re different. I’m talking about the rest of them.” But you know what, this is not a case of difference. There IS no “rest of them,” no invisible barrier that separates me from the world.

Friends Close, Enemies Closer

So to my social media “friends” I say please, KEEP posting those memes.  Sure, your words hurt me but I’m not going to attempt to stifle your “free speech.”  I’m also not going to unfriend you.  I need to keep seeing what you share as a form of self defense. 
Because seeing the hate you share lets me know who I can really turn to when I need someone. It lets me know who I can really give my truths and trusts to. Lets me know who might gleefully stab in the back in the pretense of giving me a hug.  It lets me  when I need to wear my costume and when I can take off my mask.  
And thank you for reminding me over and over and over and over again how horrible and ugly the world is. People say that it is the “bad element” that is few and far between and that it seems worse because the media hypes it up. They try to convince me that in reality the good outweighs the bad, BUT this isn’t MEDIA, this is SOCIAL media. This isn’t some news mogul telling me who to love and who to fear. This is people, every day people, people I know in person, or know in passing.  These are my friends, or the friends of my friends. This is every individual posting what is in their hearts and minds, coming from their own fingers, through their own computers and phones.
But keep in mind, if you are seeing and feeling the same things you should always remember They’re not talking about YOU, they’re talking about EVERYONE ELSE.

Grief Cottage

Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin

Marcus is eleven when his mother died.  He lived in foster care a short time before going to live with his great-aunt in South Carolina. Aunt Charlotte is an accomplished painter, and a reclusive woman.  She is the one who tells Marcus about Grief Cottage….on the far end of the island.

A boy and his parents disappeared in the cottage during a hurricane, fifty years ago.  Their bodies were never found and the cottage has been empty ever since.

There has been no talk of it being haunted, but being left pretty much on his own by his aunt, Marcus is the first person the ghost of the cottage has revealed himself to.

After Aunt Charlotte injures herself and may never be able to paint again, Marcus finds himself in sort of a courtship with the ghost boy.  He is both intrigued by and terrifyed by him, and wants to find out what happened to him, and his parents, who nobody seems to even remember the names of.

What I thought of Grief Cottage

Grief Cottage is Book 5/60 in my attempt to read 60 books this year.

It is not a typical haunting story.  No things going bump in the night. While Marcus has no doubt the ghost boy is real, as a reader I’m not sure I’m convinced.

Marcus is himself a haunted child.  Haunted by his past, more afraid of his present than he wants to admit, thinking a little of the future yet to come.  As he unpacks his belongings from his previous life, and relives the memories they stir in him the ghost becomes more solid.  I think it might be a solidification of his own uncertainties, since he really has no physical person that he feels he can reach out to.

Meanwhile, its a rough coming of age story, a finding of a surrogate mother, a desperate need of a father figure, and a fear of disappearing entirely manifested in acts of trying to find the identities of the nameless family.

This was a rough and emotional book, which can be taken at face value as a ghost story, or something deeper.

If you read Grief Cottage I would love to know what you think.  Is the ghost real, or not?

If you enjoyed this review you might also like:

Long Black Veil

February 1st – Resolution Check-In

We are one month into the new year.  Many people around me have said they felt as if January would never end.  I am one of those people.  I’ve never been quite so happy to see February come as I am this year.

Some pretty bad things have gone on in January (which “a series of pretty bad things” seems to be the theme of my life anymore), so I’m surprised on how I’ve done with My 2018 Resolutions so far.

Lose 70 Pounds

To reach my goal of dropping 70 pounds this year, I have to lose roughly 6 pounds a month.

Well, for January I lost somewhere between 4 and 5 pounds.  Not a complete fail because I did lose, but I didn’t make goal.

For February I have challenged myself to a Sit-Up Challenge and a Push-Up Challenge.  By the end of the month I should be able to do 100 sit ups and 50 push ups.

Sell My Crafts

I made two key chains/purse charms in January.

I did not list them online for sale yet.

Fail.

Focus on my Blog

I only made 9 blog entries in January.  And most of those were book reviews.  Only blogging 9 out of 30 days….another fail.

Keep a Journal

I’ve written in my journal even less than I’ve posted in my blog.  Last night I did get a LOT of therapeudic scribbling out of the way.  Much profanity was scrawled across

the pages.

A friend of mine gave me some cash recently to get something for myself, and I ordered a new journal and fountain pen.

The journal got here today:

Moon Goddess Journal

The Moon Goddess Journal by Peter Pauper Press

I don’t expect to get the fountain pen for a while though.

Go Outside

I did go outside twice today.  I played fetch with the dog for a while, and then I went for a 2 mile walk. But overall for January, this was another fail.

So, how are you all doing on your own 2018 Resolutions?

Camp So-and-So

Camp So-and-So by Mary McCoy

Camp So-and-So

The letters went out in Mid-February.  There were twenty-five letters, to twenty-five girls.  Each letter invited its recipient to spend a week at Camp So-and-So on a merit scholarship.  All twenty-five girls sent their completed applications to an obscure Appalachian town.

Except the town doesn’t exist, and nobody has ever heard of Camp So-and-So.

Now Cabin 1 wants to beat the rival camp across the lake, home of the perfect beach.

Cabin 2 is being stalked by a murderer.

Cabin 3 is sent off on a magical quest t break a curse.

Cabin 4 has met their soul mates.

And what exactly happened to Cabin 5 anyway?

What Did I Think about Camp So-and-So

Camp So-and-So is book 3/60 of the 60 books I’m attempting to read this year.

It took me a little time to get into it.

The novel is set up weird.  It is set into “Acts” and each “Act” introduces its own cast of characters on a character page.  Its almost like a playbill.

As we “meet” each cabin we get to know its inhabitants to different degrees.  (The poor girls of Cabin 5 don’t even get names!)

Now its one of those books where you are hopping from POV to POV.  This cabin, that cabin, the other cabin and back and forth.  Those can sometimes he hard to follow and keep track, but it was a little easier with this book since each cabin is doing something different.

Now, clearly, this is not your typical Summer Camp book.  There is something wrong, and apparently magical about Camp So-and-So.  Once I got past the weirdness of the set up, and each Cabin began its own trials and tribulations I was absorbed into the novel.

My favorite cabin was Cabin 3 and their quest.  I could have read an entire novel about them alone.

If you like YA fantasy fiction and don’t mind a little violence I would recommend this novel to you.


Oscar and his Boy

Oscar, the Labradoodle

When you are the well loved dog of a little boy, some indignities are expected.  Even regal ninja dogs like myself sometimes have to pretend to be pack animals.  Or superheros.  Don’t you love my monster cape?

dog wearing blanket

Sometimes I am his dog. Always he is my boy.

Dog and Boy

 

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