Bully For Me. Bully For You.


Originally posted on Wherethebadkidsgo's Weblog:

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To commemorate October as “Bullying Awareness Month,” I bring you the following insights regarding the subject…

As a latch-key kid, I basically came home from school, made my meals, and did my homework until my adult “roommates” came home. (To amuse myself I’d drive across the local park, set fire to things, and make Super-8 movies, usually of me driving across the local park and setting fire to things.) So when I was bullied at school, I not only didn’t have any sense of conflict management or support tools of any kind, but I couldn’t even really talk about it. At the time, the notion of “talking about it” just seemed like it would make it all the more real. So I kept it all bottled up inside and quietly hated myself for being bullied upon. The bullying wasn’t extreme, really, in retrospect: hardly ever physical, mostly just name-calling, the…

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Zach Recommends #1: Mahou Shoujo L’incandescent – an original story


Hi, everyone. I want to start writing blog posts again and this seemed like a nice place to start. I’m subscribed to several WordPress blogs, including a fairly new one. It revolves around a genre of anime (Japanese animation) called “magical girl.” As the title implies, the genre focuses on girls and women who receive superpowers, often revolving around magic. I am not much of an anime fan, but I’m trying to get into it, mostly with the help of my sister.

The new blog in question belongs to a friend of mine. It is an original “magical girl” story that features interesting characters, unique powers, and what looks to be a very suspenseful mystery. I highly recommend this blog to all of my friends. “ElectricNova”, the author, is very talented. I’m Zachary Krishef and I hope that you have an excellent day!

The Book Bag (#8): The Savages


Hello and welcome to The Book Bag! Today, we’re reaching all the way to the bottom! Come, have a bite to eat. We’re serving up something very tasty. Oh, yes, it is delicious. That odd taste? Simply some oregano. That sharp part? That’s not a bone! I think that’s just undercooked broccoli. Also, surprise! You’ve been eating…my famous mashed potatoes! Unlike the protagonists of this book, I do not practice “evolved eating.”

 

To imagine the family in this book, just think of the Addams family and modernize them slightly. Also, take out the weird house, odd servants, and kooky inventions. Just add in some expensive silverware and shady business dealings. Got it? Good! Today, we’re going over The Savages! They are a family who practices cannibalism, but they despite that word. The Savages prefer to think of it as “evolved eating.” Unfortunately, their daughter is dating a vegetarian and might become one. To add to their familial woes, Ivan has accidentally killed someone with a “harmless” prank meant for his sister. A private investigator has been tailing them, so they really don’t need that at the moment.

 

I must admit, this book actually made me feel sympathy for the main characters, despite them killing and eating other people.The grandfather had a relatively good reason for doing so, he just couldn’t stop. When he revealed his secret to his (child) son and when his (now adult) son revealed the secret to his wife, they were hooked. The situations are clever and well-written. Bt the time the book ended, despite the ending being revealed at the beginning, I felt disappointed. I missed the Savages. My only complaint would be to my library for placing in the children’s section. There’s some adult references, specifically, some words that I do not want to repeat.

 

Thankfully, as I was doing some research, I found out that there was a sequel. Strangely enough, that happened the last time I reviewed a current book that I read. (Suck It Up by Brian Meehls. You should read the book and my review. Or, just the book.) This morbidly hilarious tale is definitely worth a read!

 

I’m Zachary Krishef, and have an excellent day!

 

The Savages by Matt Whyman

 

Reviewed by Zachary Krishef

 

Ask me questions on TV Tropes, my blog, or here! My troper handle is MiscellaneousSoup.

 

Find out more about the series on evolvedeating.tumblr.com!

 

Next Time: Another horror book, this time recommended to me by someone!

 

The Book Bag (#7): Lorien Legacies Overview


Hello and welcome to The Book Bag! Today, we’re reaching all the way to the bottom! I love it when authors deliberately try to make it seem as though their stories could be entirely real. My first encounter with this was the Harry Potter series, all the way back in first grade. In the books, Muggles (or “non-magical beings”) encounter magic, their minds are wiped. So, the books could be real and we’ve just been mind-wiped! For all I know, I met Harry Potter at the library yesterday! The point is, I know that the books are not real but it’s fun to imagine that they are. The Lorien Legacies series takes it one step further by naming the author as Pittacus Lore, an ancient Lorien who is hiding out on Earth…possibly. In reality, Jobie Hughes and James Fray collaborated to create the series. Now, what is it?

 

The Lorics are an ancient alien race. However, an evil race of aliens known as the Mogadorians attack their planet. Only nine Loric babies and their Cepans (captains/mentors) are sent with them. The Cepans will train them to use their powers (also known as Legacies) to defeat the Mogadorians, who are hunting them. If they succeed in slaying them all, they will conquer the Earth. The various titles of the books (I Am Number Four, The Power Of Six, The Rise Of Nine, etc.) come from the Loric teenagers themselves. They were referred to only as their number. On Earth, they move from town to town when potential Mogadorians arrive, changing their identities. Finally, the Lorics can only be killed in numerical order. Once one of them dies, the others have a horrific scar burned onto their ankle as an involuntary warning signal. Three have already died. Number Four is the protagonist.

 

I have to be honest. The series has some issues, primarily in the first three books. The exposition can be very clunky at times, especially when referring to the various Legacies. Additionally, I don’t mind love triangles, but I get annoyed when they seem shoehorned in or forced. The early ones seem forced. Fortunately, it gets better by the fourth book.

 

And now, the positives. I love this series. I was getting slightly bored by the third book, but it really picked up by the fourth. I enjoy the plot twists and the characters. I don’t have a lot to say that wouldn’t ruin the series, unfortunately. You see, some of the subplots and side characters have their plots explained or announced in ebooks. This made it very confusing for me when I randomly saw a new villain appearing, seemingly with no introduction. Fortunately, they are being released as companion books. If that doesn’t work, I recommend reading the descriptions on Wikipedia or a different website. It’s not the same, but it might be convenient for those who do not possess Kindles, Nooks, or other inventions of that nature.

 

I’m Zachary Krishef. Have an excellent day!

 

The Lorien Legacies by “Pittacus Lore”

 

Reviewed by Zachary Krishef

 

Ask me questions on TV Tropes, my blog, or here! My troper handle is MiscellaneousSoup.


Next Time: I’ll review a children’s book with suicide, murder, swearing, and cannibalism. This should be delightful! (Spoilers: It is.)

The Book Bag (#6): Suck It Up


Hello and welcome to The Book Bag! Today, we’re reaching all the way to the bottom! Hey, kids, do you like vampires? You do? Great! Do you like clever authors? You do? Great! Do you like funny stories that have suspense and action? You do? Great! This book has all of that!

 

Suck It Up is a YA book created by Brian Meehl. You may recognize his name from Between The Lions, The Magic School Bus, and several Jim Henson productions. I am not afraid to admit that while reading this book, I was so happy, that I checked to see who wrote it and squealed in delight upon seeing what he worked on.

 

Anyway, the book stars Morning McCobb. Our alliterative protagonist has just graduated from a school for vampires. He gets picked by the headmaster for a very special purpose. You see, the school trains vampires to fit in with human society. The only stereotypically evil vampire are called The Others. The headmaster wants Morning to be the first vampire to actually come out as a vampire instead of masquerading as a human.

 

The cast of characters includes Morning, a vegan who wants to be a firefighter/superhero, Penny, who is his publicist, Portia, Penny’s daughter who wants to film something great enough to earn her a scholarship to a film college, Birnam, who is the headmaster and leader of the project, and DeThanatos, our aptly-named villain of the story. He sees Morning revealing his powers and wants to kill him for violating the “old ways.”

 

Suck It Up is hilarious. I love the writing style, I love the characters, I love the humor- I just love this book! It made me feel happy to read it. I can’t think of an accurate way to describe it. I really wish that it had a sequel, and it does! During my research for this review, I found out that he made one. Yes! I can’t say it enough times: I love this book. Please, please, please check it out from your local library or buy it. It’s worth buying. I can’t think of anything that I disliked about it.

 

I’m Zachary Krishef, and I hope that you have an excellent day. I have a book to put on hold.

 

Suck It Up by Brian Meehl

Reviewed by Zachary Krishef

Ask me questions on TV Tropes, my blog, or here! My troper handle is MiscellaneousSoup.

Next Time: I’m going to go over the Lorien Legacies series and deliver my thoughts. NO spoilers will be revealed!

The Book Bag (#5): Hank The Cowdog


Hello and welcome to The Book Bag! Today, we’re reaching all the way to the bottom! During my research for this review, I found out that Hank The Cowdog is more popular than I thought. The author, John R. Erickson actually lives on a ranch and presumably draws from his own experiences for the stories. He wanted the stories to be read aloud to children. Additionally, some Hank The Cowdog books are specifically made just for an audiobook. Also, some of Hank’s adventures have been turned into stage plays! The series officially started in the nineteen-eighties. Some of the books were animated for CBS. Did this newfound knowledge make me biased in reading three of the books? No, because I did my research after reading the books!

 

To begin, even if you don’t count the exclusive audio books, musical CDs, or plays, there’s still sixty-nine books in the series. Normally, I would read every book in the series in order to do a proper retrospective, but that may be challenging in this case. Despite that, this isn’t necessarily a retrospective. I consider it to be similar to my first review, Ungifted, where I go over a series that I liked as a child to see if it still holds up now. That being said, I went to my local library, found the books, and selected three of them: The Case Of The Missing Bird Dog, The Case Of The Mysterious Voice, and The Case Of The Perfect Dog.

 

The series follows the adventure of Hank, a cowdog. He believes that he is the Head of Ranch Security. Oftentimes, his missions and adventures can translate to accidentally ruining a flower bed or eating a cake left out for a guest. He’s goofy but means well. Pete the Cat is one of his many enemies. Recurring character Beulah is his love interest…sort of. She always rejects him.

 

I loved them. The series is just as imaginative and clever now as it was in my elementary school years. Every character has unique actions and voices. Drover is the cowardly sidekick, Hank believes that he’s some kind of spy/cowboy (cowdog?), Pete the Cat is a jerk, Sally May yells at Hank for messing things up, and Slim and Loper are mildly incompetent.

 

The humor is superb. In almost every book, Hank comes up with some kind of song or poem based on a recent event. Typically, they’re bad. Also, he tends to fall asleep in random situations, almost like he snork pork chop gravy wink snx zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Yeah, basically like that.

 

If I could name anything negatives, it would be that some parts can feel slightly repetitive. Additionally, this might be because I want to read more, but the books are too short. Oh, well, I can’t wait to go back to the library and find more of the books. Better yet, I could dig up my old copies of them! To the bookshelves!

 

I’m Zachary Krishef and I hope that you have an excellent day.

 

Hank The Cowdog by John R. Erickson

Reviewed by Zachary Krishef

 

Ask me questions on TV Tropes, my blog, or here! My troper handle is MiscellaneousSoup.


Next Time: I’m going to review a story about vampires. Hooray!

The Book Bag (#4): “Something Real” and “Reality Boy”


Hello and welcome to The Book Bag, where we’re reaching all the way to the bottom! Last time, I reported that I found two oddly similar books at the library. Here’s the backstory. I was searching through the section for new teen books and I found a fictional book about a teen who was scarred by being on a reality show as a child. Some time later, I found a different book about a teen who was scarred by being on a reality show as a child. The authors were different, the main characters were different, the plots just happened to be similar. Instantly, I knew that I had to compare these books in a review. It’s time for “Book Vs. Book!” I’m focusing on Reality Boy and Something Real.

 

Firstly, Reality Boy. This book was incredibly hard to read. I can’t empathize that enough. Our protagonist’s home life is horrible. His parents are neglectful, his sister is a sociopath, and he has anger issues. I am not sure how realistic the portrayal was, never having had anger issues. I can say that he feels angry for most of the book, he has fantasies about killing people who anger him, and certain other things that might spoil the ending.

 

This book is incredibly hard to read. The fragile state of the main character’s mind, the disturbing family, and the way that the universe’s show was created horrified me. I needed to go to Gersday several times during the reading of this book. You’ll get the reference when you read the book.

 

Secondly, we have Something Real. Our protagonist, Chloe (formerly Bonnie™) Baker has had four years of relaxation. No cameras in her face, no manufactured drama, and no manipulating directors. She’s going by Chloe to avoid getting recognized and Baker’s Dozen is off the air. Freedom for all? NOPE! She goes home to see that the cameras are back. Baker’s Dozen: A Fresh Batch has come for her. Chloe goes on a mission to either avoid being seen by the cameras for as long as possible or to finally be free of the reality show, all while trying to maintain a normal life. This includes keeping her friends and her new crush.

 

Both of these novels are outstanding. However, does the fact that Reality Boy is more dramatic than the more comedy-focused Something Real make it a better book? Absolutely not! They are both entertaining, heartfelt, and sad. I highly recommend that you turn off your computer, go to the library, and get these books. If you can’t get them, put them on hold. These books have actually managed to sway my opinions. I never really liked reality television in the first place but now I hate it. I want to see if the tactics mentioned in both books really are used in actual reality tv.

 

To wrap things up, a small warning guide, just in case. Reality Boy has graphic violence, disturbing thoughts, sexual content (in the case of one character), and, to be frank, abuse. Something Real has suicide references and possible abuse.

 

I’m Zachary Krishef, and I hope that you have an excellent day.

 

Reality Boy by A.S. King

 

Something Real by Heather Demetrios

 

Reviewed by Zachary Krishef

 

Ask me questions on TV Tropes, my blog, or here! My troper handle is MiscellaneousSoup.


Next Time: Once again, I’m going over one of my favorite childhood book series. Get some rope, a few cattle, and watch out for Hank The Cowdog!