A Depressing Tale From Michelle’s Paper Garden

This is something I thought of when I am walking home in the middle of the night.
________________________________________________

The girl could not be more than sixteen years old yet she held a sleeping baby, a boy, wrapped in a plain blue pressed to her not fully developed breasts. He had been born only a few hours before she decided to take to the streets, an unwise action to be sure, but she deemed her task important enough to venture out on a cold winter night with a newborn. Foolish child was completely unaware of the predators who lurked just beyond her sight. Like myself.
I couldn’t help but smile a little. Merry Christmas to me, I thought wickedly as I began to follow her to the street at the edge of the park. I remained in the shadows of the trees, my feet never touching the ground.

She looked to her left and then to her right before crossing the quiet, snow covered street. It was a precautionary measure that had been etched into her head since childhood, but it did nothing to warn her of my presence or for that matter, of the presence of the others who were hovering about her: the homeless man whom to most would appear to be sleeping on the park bench was a ghoul, a creature whose enjoyment of the dead bodies is disturbing even to the most sadistic of night creatures; the unusually large stray dog who was sniffing around garbage cans in the park was a werewolf with hungry red eyes, and the old Santa Clause at the corner was no jolly old elf, but a redcap with a thirst for blood. All watched her carefully, all were aware of the others hanging about.

She raced up the steps of the large gothic building whose great towers seemed to reach the sky and stained-glass windows that were larger than any man; a church with all its stone glory. There were lights coming from inside the church, as it was Christmas Eve and midnight masses were popular for some reason. I would never understand Catholics.

With the utmost care — or at least the utmost care one can show when leaving a newborn on the front porch of a church— she placed the baby in front of the door. “I’m sorry,” she whispered to him before placing a kiss on the child’s forehead.
How sentimental, I thought sourly as the girl rose and slammed her fists against the wooden doors. Then, she rushed down the steps like a prankster who had just left a flaming gift on the doorstep of a hated neighbour and across the street. She quickly whipped past the homeless ghoul, who immediately perked up, as she vanished into the trees.

With a cruel grin of black pointed teeth, the creature rose from his bench and walked after her. The wolf growled hungrily from behind me, and proceeded to follow him, hoping to get a bite before the ghoul had his way with the young girl. No one would want to take a bite after the ghoul.

My head snapped back to the abandoned baby, and I immediately noticed that the redcap had moved from his corner. He had almost reached the staircase when the wooden door swung open, flooding the porch with soft candlelight and warmth from the many bodies that were seated in the pews. A man, a priest from him garb, stood in the doorway with a confused look on his elderly face. He spotted the baby and his expression changed to one of pity. He scooped up the child, mumbling comforting words that the sleeping baby would neither hear nor understand. He looked around, but saw no one, as the redcap had dropped his disguise and had ducked behind a tree.

It was my turn to act. I stepped out of the trees and walked to the edge of the park. “Good evening, father,” I said cheerfully as I walked across the street without looking one way or the other. I had no need to be cautious.

The priest pulled the child close to him, either because he worried that the baby would be cold or because the tiny voice in the back of his mind was telling him that I was not like him. Men of the cloth were not known to appreciate the unusual. “G-good evening, miss. Merry Christmas,” he replied with a forced smile. There was a twinge of fear in his dark blue eyes.
Hmm, so it’s the latter. I sighed as I walked up to the priest, who took an involuntary step backwards. He stared straight at me, and I in turn, stared right back.

My pupils narrowed to a thin slit. “You have nothing to fear, priest. I am just like you,” I told him, though the words made me want to gag. No one wants to be the equal of their food. “Now, give me the baby and then walk back into the church to finish your service.”

The priest nodded as he handed the baby to me and turned to renter the church. Some of the churchgoers asked him what had happened, but he ignored them all as he marched up to the alter. Paying no mind to the strange looks from his congregation, he began to preach. Those in the pews mumbled to their neighbours, but did nothing else.

The baby made a noise, rubbing his little nose with a balled fist. I glanced down at it. I could feel my fangs peeking out of my gums as I watched the blood rush through the tiny creature. There was nothing like the taste of a newborn.

There was a growl from behind me. I looked over my shoulder to see the redcap, thin and pale, standing at the foot of the staircase. His blood-soaked cap was clutched in a skeletal hand. The ghoul and the werewolf appeared on the other side of the road. The werewolf, now in human form, was covered in blood. The ghoul adorned a bloody skull on top of his head and the face of a pretty sixteen-year old girl was sewn to his bare chest. He chewed absently on a severed arm.

I turned to look back into the church. There were so many warm bodies that it sent chills up my spine. A low, content hiss escaped my lips. I smirked coldly. “Have at it, boys.”
A blur moved past me and the first scream followed as a large wolf tore into the jugular of a little old grandmother. The ghoul waddled over to the door, screeching gleefully at the mounting fear in the room. The redcap glided by me, turning in the doorway to face me.

“Coming, Camilla?” he asked, his voice was hoarse.

“No,” I replied as I lifted the baby. “This will be enough for me.”

The redcap nodded before closing the door. There was a soft click, trapping everyone inside like cows in a slaughterhouse. Screams and the sound of crunching bones were the only things that could escape the church.

Grinning like a schoolgirl, I spun around to make my way down the stairs, which I had planned on skipping down. I could have done a jig, I was so happy. Once I made it down the stony steps, I glided across the street and vanished into the dark, snowy park.

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Paper Garden Presents Hack/ Slash Omnibus


Title: Hack/Slash Omnibus
Author: Tim Seeley, Dave Crosland, Stefano Caselli
Publisher: Devil’s Due Publishing
Year: 2008
Number of pages: 300 pages
Type: Paperback
Genre: graphic novel, horror, humour, fantasy, adult, urban fantasy

Summary:
At the end of every horror movie, one girl always survives… in this case, Cassie Hack not only survives, she turns the tables by hunting and destroying the horrible slashers that would do harm to the innocent Alongside the gentle giant known as Vlad, the two cut a bloody path through those who deserve to be put down… hard

Review:
Firstly, Hack/Slash isn’t porn. I know the cover is misleading, as even I was a little hesitant to pick it up because of the way the heroine (Cassie Hack) was posed and what she was wearing. Mind you there is a severed clown head right beside her, so you would have to be in some pretty kinky stuff.

Anywho, back to business!

Hack/Slash is all about horror, but I don’t mean the computer generated monsters and ghost of this day and age. I mean, the corny, campy horror that involved plenty of make up and rubber. Cassie and her companion Vlad hunt down and massacre, usually with the help of a baseball bat that has nails sticking out of it, serial killers who rise up from the dead. They fight all the classics, including Chuckie the psychotic doll.

Basically, if you don’t like blood and gore, you are not going to like this one. If you can’t stomach the following photo, find yourself another graphic novel because this is nothing:

Oh, did I mention that Cassie is a freaking badass! She is tough, sarcastic, and will do anything for Vlad, who would do the same for her. He is also very cool being big, green, and Hulk-like minus the invincibility. I liked Cassie. She came from a screwed up family, including a serial killer for a mother, and had some serious issues, as one does when you spend your life travelling across the country, hunting, and killing undead serial killers. She also isn’t a typical heroine, in which I mean she isn’t an “independent” woman that needs some hot guy to swoop in to save them at the last minute and then they fall in love. God am I sick of those stories. Cassie has a sort of crush on this one guy, but that lasts a single issue. The only person who saves her is Vlad, and he is not getting anywhere near her pants unless he is doing the laundry.

She is sort of a mix between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Tank Girl.

Oh, remember when I said that this isn’t porn? It still isn’t, but there is some nudity… okay A LOT of nudity, but come now, with HBO and the Internet, you should all be used to some boob flashing… and lesbian make out scenes. Whatever.

Hack/Slash is funny, but in a cheesy, God-the-80s-called-and-they-want-their-material-back kind of way. I loved it just as much as I love horror and John Hughes movies.

Oh! I forgot to mention one little thing that I found a little annoying at the beginning, but then got used to it. The omnibus contains a bunch of stories, not all of which are drawn in the same way (there is one drawn like an Archie comic), and there are also little previews of stories that are really cool, but at the time I didn’t think they were going to be written. Luckily for me, they appeared in later omnibuses. Yay!

So, this may not be for everyone, but I loved it and I will keep reading it. Some people I know didn’t like it because they thought that it was too bloody or too much sexual content, but I found this series addictive and hilarious.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!

Michelle

Michelle’s Paper Garden: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy


Title: Hemlock Grove
Author: Brian McGreevy
Publisher: FSG Originals
Year: 2012
Type: Paperback
Genre: Horror, paranormal, mystery, werewolf, urban fantasy

Summary:
The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.

Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.

At once a riveting mystery and a fascinating revelation of the grotesque and the darkness in us all, Hemlock Grove has the architecture and energy to become a classic in its own right—and Brian McGreevy the talent and ambition to enthrall us for years to come.

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12510849-hemlock-grove]

Review

I watched the tv show before I even knew it was a book, so one would assume that I have spoiled the book and all of its mystery, but that’s not completely true. I have only read about 100 pages and so far they are keeping more or less true to the book. However, the book tells us what the characters were thinking, while a televised version could never do that unless you have Sookie Stackhouse around. Their thoughts and even some of the backstory that the show left out are very interesting and give the characters a slightly different feel. For example, in the show, Peter is motivated in his quest to stop the murders by fear of being locked up s everyone suspects him, while in the book he is motivated by not only fear, but also pity.

Anyway, onto the actually book! I haven’t finished it yet, but so far it is pretty good. It isn’t as confusing as the tv show, well at least not yet. Things are given more of an explanation in the book. The author can write very well, which is evident through his character Shelley who is mute but writes beautifully in her emails to her uncle. However, there are some points when he completely loses me and I have to reread the paragraph and figure out what he’s talking about. Some of his wording is awkward and there were a couple of words that I had to look up because I hadn’t the slightest idea what they meant. Also, the dialogue is weird to say the least. I didn’t think it overly realistic.

The constant reference to Peter’s balls was a little awkward for me. I don’t have any, but I am pretty sure they aren’t supposed to be able to sense trouble. They are not supposed to have spidey sense!

So far it’s a good read. I haven’t given up on it yet. We will see what happens.

Michelle’s Paper Garden: Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings


Title: Pawn of Prophecy
Author: David Eddings
Publisher: Del Rey
Year: 1982
Type: Paperback
Number of Pages: 304 pages
Genre: epic fantasy

Summary:
Long ago, the Storyteller claimed, in this first book of THE BELGARIAD, the evil god Torak drove men and Gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected men of the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe.

But Garion did not believe in such stories. Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved–but did not know…?

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44659.Pawn_of_Prophecy]

Review:

To start off, I devoured this book in a day and then the rest of the series in a week. That may not seem like a feat, but I was twelve years old when I read this series.

I loved this book, despite some of the obvious cliches that come with an epic fantasy. There is a prophecy (from the name, that seems like a redundant statement) and it is pretty obvious that the good guys are gonna win. There is a group of companions, each with a very specific task to complete. This was my first taste of epic fantasy, so back then I thought this book was super original, but then I read LOTR and played D&D and realized that the book was basically a mixture of the two with a little bit of bad 80’s epic fantasy movies in the mix; that’s not a bad thing, mind you. It simply means that my beloved story is not as original as I thought it was.

For the most part, the character were static and only changed if it was needed to further the prophecy (SPOILER!! SPOILER!!ie. Garion goes from a quiet farm boy to a confident wizard). I still really enjoyed the characters, well at least most of them. Certain characters were annoying, but they usually didn’t last very long. My favourite character is a thief named Silk because he is a little, sarcastic ass whom you should watch your back around because he is not afraid of killing you. He is the reason that I always play thief/ assassin in D&D or RPG games.

In short, this book is really good… if you are a young adult. It is full of cliches and corny lines and everything else you would find in a young adult novel.

4/5 because of nostalgia

Michelle’s Paper Garden Presents Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile


Title: Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile
Author: Bill Willingham
Illustrator:Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Craig Hamilton, James Jean
Publisher: Vertigo
Year: 2002
Type: Paperback
Number of Pages: 128 pages
Genre: Graphic novel, fantasy, fairy tales, urban fantasy, mystery, folklore

Summary:
When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. But when Snow White’s party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Fabletown’s sheriff, a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf (Bigby Wolf), to determine if the killer is Bluebeard, Rose’s ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber.

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21326.Fables_Vol_1]

Review:
I love fairy tales and mythology. If I could spend all of my time studying and reading mystical magical stories of heroes and monsters, I would be the happiest person in the world. For this and many other reasons, I fell completely in love with Fables. The idea of taking my favourite storybook characters and tossing them into a modern setting was exciting and new (well at least it was when I first read Fables). The characters had to adapt to living in the modern human world, and those who couldn’t were sent to the Farm which is basically made up of talking animals.

I liked Bigby (the humanized Big Bad Wolf turned detective) because he reminded me of those hard drinking, short-tempered detectives from all those old movies my dad used to make me watch. I like that style, so I thought he was cool and the ridiculous lines he has fit that style. His backstory is pretty interesting and the y later explain why he can blow houses down with his breath. The jokes were a little lame, but I like cheesy stuff so I giggled and moved on. Snow White was not what I expected. I figured she would be the annoying, high-pitched damsel from the Disney movie, and instead I got a hardass ice queen. Oh and Prince Charming is a dick, but that’s to be expected seeing as he has married virtually all of the princesses in Fabletown.

The cover art is beautiful! The art beyond that is pretty good, but of a different style.

The actual story is okay and the murder is meh, but I liked the book anyway, mostly because I kept fan girling over characters.

Okay, the only problem I had with this series is that by the fourth volume I had already figured out who the Adversary was. I am not gonna spoil anything for you, but it’s a little obvious.

I give it a 4/5

Michelle’s Paper Garden: The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress

Title: The Friday Society
Author: Adrienne Kress
Publisher: Dial
Year: 2012
Type: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 440 pages
Genre: young adult, steampunk, mystery, historical fiction, fantasy

Summary: An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns –and the heroines who use them all.

Set in turn of the century London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician’s assistant. The three young women’s lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.

It’s up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder–and the crimes they believe may be connected to it–without calling too much attention to themselves.

Set in the past but with a modern irreverent flare, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike–well, relatively ladylike–heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5623269-the-friday-society]

Review:

I was really excited about this book when I first came across it on Goodreads. I was so excited that I stopped reading A Clash of King just to read this. I figured it would be League of Extraordinary Gentlemen minus the gentlemen and Batman-esque gadgets. So far, I have none of the above and it makes me very sad.I haven’t even finished this book yet and I don’t think that I will finish it. Firstly, it is supposed to be steampunk. Where is my steampunk?! They sort of mention airships and steamcabs in passing; it doesn’t feel like a steampunk book.

Secondly, I am not a big fan of the main characters. The three main girls were ridiculously beautiful, intelligent, and more than capable of handling things on their own… sort of. Cora falls in love at first glance, Nellie causes men to fall all over her reminding me of Alisha from Misfits, and Michiko is constantly pitying herself. I was hoping for awesome female leads and instead I get them. I am not against flawed characters and anyone who tries to argue against that should take a look at the other books I have reviewed because I am all about tormented antiheroes. These girls felt like young adult cliches.

Thirdly, the dialogue and narration was terrible and I think this is the biggest reason I probably won’t finish it. I really get into books when I read them. I slip out of reality and fall into the world the author has created. The way this author writes bothered me. This was supposed to be a HISTORICAL fiction, but the author uses modern slang like smokin’ hot and crush. It threw me off and pulled me out of the book world. It is making reading this thing a whole lot harder. The modern slang feels wrong so it sort of ruins the book for me.

So in conclusion, I am probably not gonna finish this book.

So far I give it a 2/5.

Michelle’s Paper Garden: Runaways by Brian K Vaughan

Title: Runaways (Deluxe volume 1)
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Publisher: Marvel
Year: 2006
Type: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 448 pages
Genre: Graphic novel, young adult, superheroes, science fiction

Summary:
In Pride & Joy, six young friends discover their parents are all secretly super-powered villains Finding strength in one another, the shocked teens run away from home and straight into the adventure of their lives – vowing to turn the tables on their evil legacy. In Teenage Wasteland, the Runaways find a kindred spirit in a daring young stranger and welcome him into their fold. But will this dashing young man help the teenagers defeat their villainous parents… or tear them apart? Plus: who do you send to catch a group of missing, runaway teenage super-heroes? Marvel’s original teen runaway crimefighters, Cloak and Dagger, make their first major appearance in years In The Good Die Young, the world as we know it is about to end, and the Runaways are the only hope to prevent it Our fledgling teenage heroes have learned how their parents’ criminal organization began, and now they must decide how it should end. As the Runaways’ epic battle against their evil parents reaches its shocking conclusion, the team’s mole stands revealed, and blood must be shed. Which kids will still be standing when the smoke finally clears? Collecting issues #1-#18.

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/234352.Runaways_Deluxe_Vol_1]

Review:
Brian K Vaughan is the coolest. This series has pretty much everyone you could hope for in a superhero story. There are mutants, evil god-like monsters, aliens, genetically altered dinosaurs, teenage delinquency, secret super villains, and cameos by notable Marvel heroes. At some point, there were even sewer people.

You need to be careful with this whole series because while there isn’t any nudity or excessive gore as there was in Saga, there are some pretty shocking character deaths. Try not to get attached to anyone. You very obviously will get attached, but I am forewarning you that you may have your heart ripped out and have it stomped on.

The art is appealing to the eye. The alien girl is a gorgeous cluster of different coloured lights and glitter (not lame vampire glitter, but awesome from another planet glitter). All of the characters with powers are very well illustrated, whether they use magic or freaky mutant powers. Their secret lair is pretty cool too.

The dialogue is a little cheesy at points, but they’re teenagers so whatever. Have you heard teenagers speak? They’re ridiculous. They make references to things that no adult would ever understand and they make stupid jokes. They are also really hormonal and impulsive, which made me hate them at times. I would keep yelling at the book demanding to know why they were being so idiotic. The answer is always because they are bloody teenagers.

As I mentioned before, there is a dinosaur who is by far my favourite character. Why? She is the cutest. The cutest I say!

The characters were interesting, though not overly complex. It is sort of obvious what they are going to do or react, with the exception of who the mole is because I never saw that one coming.

Oh, trust no one. It astounded me how many people the villains had under their control.

In short, I really liked this comic. It brought me back into the comic book world and has kept me there.

4/5

Sorry that this is short and not well written, but I am doing this late at night before I go out of town sooooooo yeah.