Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Sunday Salon - A Backlog of Reviews

I haven't been Sunday Salonning in a very long time thanks to more RIP'ish things going on, but today I'm back, and for once in my life (this NEVER happens), I have a backlog of books I need to review. A big thanks to the 24 Hour Read-a-Thon for that. I usually don't read four books a month these days, nevermind four in a day! I'm going to bask in this feeling for a moment. Just wait....
...still basking...

OK, thanks for that. Now on to some mini-reviews.

This time every year (actually, several weeks ago), Harper Collins sends me a delicious box of Halloweeny books. This year the box included some of my seasonal faves: Pretty Dead, by Francesca Lia Block, and the collection of short short stories I enjoyed, Half-Minute Horrors.

My favorite part is always the picture books they include, and I was a little sad to only receive two this year. Though, honestly, I can't complain too much because they were both fun.

The first was Dear Vampa, by Ross Collins. Every year I seem to find a new favorite illustrator in the Halloween books, and this year's trophy goes to Collins. The cover is a great representation of the book at large. It's about a vampire family--the Pires--horrified when their new neighbors, the Wolfsons, move in. The book starts with the youngest Pire writing a letter to his grandfather at:

The Ruined Abbey
Lugosi Lane

Dear Vampa,

Sorry for not writing for so long, but we've been having some trouble with our new neighbors.

The Wolfsons spend time out in the sunlight, lock their windows at night, and even complain when mother Pire has a chorus of friends over for a midnight sing-a-long! How dare they! When the Pires come to the end of their rope and move back to Transylvania, the Wolfsons--a family of werewolves--stand at their window and lament the loss of their good neighbors.

Cute book! The best part: the pictures! The Pires are all drawn in black, white, and red pen and ink while the Wolfsons are drawn in full, bright colors. The style is great and makes for a really fun read.

The next picture book is Mystery Vine, by Cathryn Falwell. It's about a family who cares for a garden all year and watches a "mystery" vine grow up slowly after all the other plants have died off. As it turns out, it's a pumpkin vine! This is not so much a Halloween book as a fall book that could easily carry over to Thanksgiving. It even has recipes in the back for things like toasted pumpkin seeds and Pumpkin Apple Bread. It also contains a section of gardening tips for kids. While the illustrations were pretty lackluster, the book was cute, and it's interactive thanks to the end material.

On that note, I should mention that I fulfilled my goal for this years RIP IV Challenge! I hadn't expected to read YA and children's titles almost exclusively, but as it turns out, they were a ton of fun, and I couldn't be happier with my RIP reads:

  • The Hunt for the Seventh, by Christine Morton-Shaw
  • Pretty Dead, by Francesca Lia Block
  • Half-Minute Horrors
  • Life Sucks, by Jessica Abel

**All reviews linked on my sidebar.

I also undertook to read and blog about RIP short stories every Sunday. While I got waylaid doing that, I still read enough that it could've been a story for every week! I still need to polish off Joe Hill's book, 20th Century Ghosts and I'll let y'all know when I manage to do that. *waving at my hulking library pile*

Thanks again to Carl for always hosting an awesome challenge! He is the master in my opinion.

Have a great Sunday, everyone! I'll be back tomorrow with short reviews of The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam and Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader.

Oh, and if I get to read any more today after all the work I need to finish, it will be The Thirteenth Tale, most likely. I also started Paul Auster's Oracle Night which has me rapt. It's about time something grabbed me by the hair!


  1. Oh, it's sad to say good-bye to the RIP, isn't it? I actually wished someone a Happy End of October today at church, like what, today was October 32? Did forget Halloween was last night?! Anyway, lucky you for a box of books, and I loved the line about having a little trouble with our neighbors. Been there. ;)

  2. Bellezza, I'm horribly sad to say goodbye to October. I love it so much, though I have a birthday in November, so I like it a lot, too. lol


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