Category Archives: Book Reviews

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Book Review

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Published Date: January 5, 1886

Publishing Co.: Longmans, Green & Co.

Pages: 96

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I braved another classic! *cheers herself on*
Here we have another story that everyone has heard of at some point in their life so I’ll skip the synopsis yet again.

It makes you wonder in just what personality your own bad half would manifest itself and how your good half would deal with it.

I thoroughly enjoyed the prose in this and the story itself is rather short. A great, quick read for the Halloween season.

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Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Family and Faith – Book Review

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Published Date: June 14, 2018

Publishing Co.: William Collins

Pages: 352

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Gay conversion therapy definition: the pseudo-scientific practice of trying to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual interventions.

A memoir by someone who had experienced such an “intervention” immediately had my attention. I knew this therapy, and I used that term very loosely, was bat shit crazy stuff so I was ready to learn more.

I feel like a monster admitting that I had a hard time pulling my way through this. There were points in the beginning and the ending that I just couldn’t stop reading, but the middle really slowed down the flow of the narration. Sometimes, the back and forth between past and present at LIA felt drawn out. A quagmire in the middle of a perilous trek.

Why does that make me feel like a monster? I feel bad for becoming bored by someone else’s suffering. Not so much on a personal level, just on pacing in the novel. There is no mistaking the author’s pain during this part of his life and he is a relate able person. Because most importantly, this is a person, a human-fuckng-being, that other people are trying their best to break in order for them to live the life they think God wants for them. Seems pretty arrogant to think you know what God, should you believe in him, wants of people or to think you have the say in the matter of anyone else’s lives.

This story is profoundly important. It keeps the lime light on the fact that there is still much fighting to be done for the LGBTQ community.

Love is love.

Dracula – Book Review

Published Date: Originally published in 1897

Publishing Co.: Constable & Co., London

Pages: 326

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Ah, yes. I have tackled yet another classic! Even better, this one was actually enjoyable.

If you’ve heard the tale of Dracula, it’s probably not actually far off from the story we have here. I refused to watch Bram Stoker’s Dracula with my husband until I was finished this because I was afraid it would have spoilers. Spoiler is; I already knew all the spoilers.

There’s no need to review the plot line since everyone already knows it. At times I was impressed with Stoker’s forward thinking, Mina states that one day brave women would propose marriage to men, and then other times it was your usual way of thinking about women back then, dainty and in need of manly protection. I’ll still give Stoker the credit he deserves as I’m sure the very idea of women proposing to men probably ruffled a few feathers back then. (He was probably thought of as crazy for that idea alone. Thinking up the story of Dracula being the second most outrageous thing to come out of his mind.)

The format is something we see here and there but not one I usually enjoy. Journal entries, letters and newspaper articles. Here, it works and it works very well. Some entries were pretty lackadaisical but for the most part I was entertained and wondering what shenanigans the Count would come up with next.

If you’re like me, and don’t usually enjoy the classics, I would recommend giving this one a try.

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C&M’s Favorite Paranormal Novels of Past

This is going to be a little more eclectic collection of novels. Some of them could also be considered horror but they’re getting slapped on my paranormal list. I’ve started my first horror novel of the season, Dracula, because believe it or not, I haven’t read it.

 

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Yeah, I know, I won’t shut up about this series,

“Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker’s wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone’s business, may know more about the town’s true origins than he’s letting on.

A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn…and so will all of Creation.”

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Continue reading C&M’s Favorite Paranormal Novels of Past

C&M’s Favorite Horror Novels of Past

I think I have finally picked my first book of the season, but before I get to that I thought it would be fun to throw out some synopsis’ of my favorite horror novels in the last few years.

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“In 1890s New Orleans, three unusual men cross paths: Reynard LaCroix, his lycanthropy in remission with a silver bullet lodged against his heart; Artémius Savoy, a lapsed secular priest keeping vigil over Reynard’s progress; and Mahonri Grant, a Mormon gunslinger on the run.

Brought together by murder, united in a common cause, they pursue an unholy creature to save a young woman’s life.

Their dangerous road leads to the dark jungles of Borneo, where awaits an abhorrent mansion in the wilderness. There they must confront a host of the undead…and face the demons within themselves.”

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Continue reading C&M’s Favorite Horror Novels of Past

A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #1) -Book Review

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Published Date: February 5, 2013

Publishing Co.: Tor

Pages: 334

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Humans have yet to scientifically study dragons. Yes, they do exist but little is known about them. There are various species and many have theorized about them and their habits but none have mounted an expedition to do the actual research.

Isabella has been obsessed with dragons since a young age, even narrowly escaping the wrath of one has never deterred her from her fascination. Trapped by her gender, the most her father hopes for her is that she’ll find a decent husband who will let her read books. (Holy fucking shit is that a depressing thought.) She is lucky enough to attract a husband who also likes dragons and has little interest in keeping a wife on a leash. (Pheeew!)

They befriend an earl who is putting together an expedition to study a breed of dragons called Vastryan rock wyrms. Again, luck is in Isabella’s corner and the earl likes feisty women and sees no difference in women’s intelligence compared to men. He also happens to be fond of Isabella’s husband, Jacob, and invites Jacob along on the journey. Clever girl that she is, Isabella convinces them to bring her along for her organizational and drawing skills.

Thus, begins their first adventure in studying dragons for science. It is fraught with peril, strange lands, bizarrely behaving dragons, and hostile villagers.

This is the first memoir written by Isabella years after she has proved herself a notorious scientist. People know the basics of her grand adventures but here, she gives a more detailed and honest account of how these things happened.

I enjoyed this more than I expected to. I was in the mood for dragons and feisty women and this definitely delivered. The artwork mixed throughout the novel was charming. If I had the second book on hand, I would have jumped right in.

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Educated: A Memoir – Book Review

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Published Date: February 20, 2018

Publishing Co.: Random House

Pages: 334

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Raised in a small Mormon town, child to a mentally ill father, forced to work in a junkyard pulling scrap or making essential oils and homeopathy in the kitchen with her mother, Tara Westover never had an actual education. In fact, she didn’t even have a birth certificate for nine years or an actual birth date. Everyone had a different account of the day she was born and even when that date was.

Her life was preset before her. Help her parents make money and prepare for the End of Days, then one day become a wife and mother. Those were the foundations of a good Mormon believer according to her father.

As she grew, she began to realize that this was not the life she wanted. However, she felt guilty, almost blasphemous for feeling this way. First, she had to survive her family. An older brother who was extremely physically and mentally abusive. A father, who wanted to live off the grid, believed the government would come for them one day, and did not believe in the Medical Establishment. Meaning, serious injuries caused in the junkyard were treated by their mother with oils and homeopathy.

Tara grew bolder when a different older brother encouraged her to teach herself and pass the ACT so that she could escape the life laid out before her. A large portion of the story is about her education, learning about historical events she never knew had taken place, like the Holocaust. Her struggle to maintain her grades and earn grants to continue school and even placing into study abroad programs, learning about a world she never knew existed. All this while struggling with the drama and control of her family.

You could not have had a more polar opposite upbringing than my own. I was raised in an agnostic/atheist household with a strong stance on the importance of education. Therefore, it absolutely amazes me that this woman was not only able to survive a brutal childhood, but to go on and graduate from a school like Cambridge. She is only a year older than me and has accomplished so much more than I can imagine but I wouldn’t trade my childhood or my family for it.

It’s such a weird life and way of believing that at times I thought this story was something set before I was born but no, these people are out there today, doing these same things they’ve been doing since before I was born. It’s so bizarre to think about.

I liked the author’s honesty about how hard and how long it took to detach herself from the toxic portion of her family, even if it wasn’t fully her choice.

If you’re looking for an inspirational read, you’ve found it right here.

The Court of Broken Knives (Empire of Dust #1) – Book Review

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Published Date: June 27, 2017

Publishing Co.: Orbit

Pages: 512

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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I’m probably going to over simplify the fuck out of this as I’m having a hard time deciding how to review it.

The plot line is pretty straight forward. Sellswords are hired to kill the Emperor. They either succeed or they fail. (I’m not going to ruin any twists.) After which, they create a new plan to make lots of money next. There is betrayal and an epic battle.

When you step away from the plot, the characters are fairly complex. It’s hard to get to know them because no one is safe in this story. Many times they die just when you’re starting to figure them out. Marith, the main character, has secrets upon secrets. He’s a prince disguised as a mercenary, running away from his past. His past being the most intriguing thing about him. I struggled through the first 27% but when Marith started losing control, things got better.

The writing style can be off putting at first, very repetitive, but you do adjust and eventually it just flows.

There was an inconclusive ending, which I found to be the most disappointing part of the novel. I don’t expect to have all the answers to a series at the end of the first book, but I felt I was left with nothing and no cliffhanger to keep me wondering what happens next. (Look at me, complaining about a lack of cliffhangers. I must not be feeling well.)

Overall, I found it to be a pretty solid read.

Three Things Tag!

Judas Priest, I have not felt like blogging lately. I sat down to do this last night and promptly decided, fuck that. My reading has been slow and I’ve had a damn hard time finding the supplies for my new hobby I’m trying to take up and it’s all making me incredibly grouchy.

Anywho, enough grouchin’. Onto this fun tag that Ignited Moth shared.

3 READ ONCE & LOVED AUTHORS:

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Patricia Briggs. This lady writes one of my favorite urban fantasies. The Mercy Thompson series. She also has a few other epic fantasy novels that I’m slowly working on. When I started the Mercy series, I read everything that had been released back to back, which something I never do with series.

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R.S. Belcher. I feel like this author is not very well known and he so very deserves to be. When I read The Six-Gun Tarot – Book Review, it knocked me on my ass. 

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Debut author Sarah Gailey really struck a chord with me when I read American Hippo. I just cannot wait to see what she comes up with next. (Although, I so very hope it is in the American Hippo world!)

3 TITLES I’VE WATCHED BUT HAVEN’T READ:

 

3 CHARACTERS YOU LOVE:

Prince Jorg Ancrath from the Broken Empire trilogy by Mark Lawrence. He’s the extreme anti-hero. The very best anti-hero I’ve read thus far.

Maude Stapleton from the Golgotha series by R.S. Belcher. She belongs to a secret order of female bad asses.

Darrow from the Red Rising series. He’s such a conflicted character. He makes a lot of mistakes but he learns from them. Great character growth.

3 BINGED SERIES:

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I don’t binge read series often, there is usually something in between every book but these three series are probably the closest I’ve come.

3 UNPOPULAR BOOKISH OPINIONS

  1. I’m going to steal Ignited Moth’s answer here. I’ve never understood people’s problems with prologues. To me, it’s just another chapter, on with the story!
  2. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. I understand the reasoning, I really do. I’ve read some great books with horrible cover art BUT I still judged it hard before I read it.
  3. Erotica sucks.

3 CURRENT FAVORITE BOOKS COVERS:

3 GOALS FOR THE YEAR

Ooof, that took a turn to un-book related territory.

One, save enough money for our vacation in December to really enjoy ourselves and not have to worry about the bank account.

Two, get my hands on some pallets so I can start this damn woodworking project I’ve been dying to get into.

Three, start planning my goals for next year. It’s right around the corner!

Okay kids, this is where  you tag yourself to have a little fun and spread the tag love.

Something Red (Something Red #1) – Book Review

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Published Date: June 18, 2013

Publishing Co.: Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Pages: 336

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

DNF @ page 93.

Since it’s such a short book, I really thought I could push through and write a full review. However, it was just so bland and generic fantasy (people traveling through the wild with something evil lurking about) that I had no interest in what happened. In fact, if the monster would have just hurried up and ate everyone and we were thrown to a different set of characters (ones who were much more interesting), I may have continued.

The best part of the section of the book that I read was the monk sanctuary where the characters stayed for a few days. Warrior monks, providing sanctuary for travelers in a dangerous forest would have been a better premise for the novel as well.

It still gets two stars because there is talent here and I can see how other people might enjoy it. For myself however, I had zero desire to sit down and read it. In fact, I had to force myself to get to page 93 and while I’m annoyed at myself because I could easily finish it, I just don’t want to waste anymore of my own time. I have better books waiting.