Tag Archives: fiction

The Invention of Sound – Book Review

Published Date: September 8, 2020

Publishing Co.: Grand Central Publishing

Pages: 240

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Haunting her was the idea that we each summon our own death.”

Do not pick up a Palahniuk book unless you are ready to get dddaaaaaarrrrkkkk.

That’s honestly what I love and what I count on when it comes to Chuck Palahniuk. He reaches into every taboo zone and drags you along with him. If he has to step into the dark to write it, you are going to have to walk through the dark to read it. We’re going places you never thought an author would go.

For example, we start this adventure with one of the main characters picking a Xanax out of the damp pubes of her lover after sex. This is how I knew I was back in Palahniuk territory. His characters are always massively flawed and that’s part of what makes them so interesting to read about.

Mitzi works for the Hollywood sound industry. She sells screams for movies and TV. She is on a quest to make the best scream ever recorded and she would do anything, even kill to get it.

Foster’s daughter disappeared during a game of hide and seek. Walked off with a stranger never to be seen again. Now he scours the dark web, seeking out child molesters and murders, trying to find out exactly what happened to his daughter. He assumes she’s dead, it’s seventeen years later after all, but his lust for revenge hasn’t died.

Both will bring Hollywood to it’s knees in their quests.

Palahniuk’s best book in years.

March’s Mini-Reviews

This month’s mini-reviews weren’t ‘meh’ like February, however, they didn’t quite inspire me to launch into a full fledged review to sing their laurels from the roof tops either. I suppose they qualify as honorable mentions.

4 out of 5 stars – Although this one bills itself as a satire, it doesn’t reach the ridiculous level that others do. It took a minute for me to find my stride in the story but once I did I enjoyed myself. The ending was great and my only hesitancy in continuing the series is that my boss said the second book isn’t quite as good as the first. (He followed his reasoning with, second books are almost never as good as the first.)

4 out of 5 stars – Very easy read. Author describes a movie plot and then follows up with the true crime stories that inspired it. This is also the very reason that makes it difficult to review it. Overall, it’s a very simple template.

Currently reading:

I think that I will complete Children of Dune before the month is up. I didn’t review the first two books last year while I was on my review boycott, which will make reviewing this extra difficult but I think I will at least try.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has actually surprised me with how much fun it is. I’ve been reading it on my work lunches but it might come home with me soon so I can devote more time to proper ladies wielding swords and wooing men with their decapitating abilities.

I recently came this ————————> close to going on a book binge. I resisted. Probably for the best because school books are not cheap.

How did March treat you? Book related or otherwise.

Winter of the Wolf Moon (Alex McKnight #1) – Book Review

Published Date: First published in 2000

Publishing Co.: Minotaur Books

Pages: 321

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Alex McKnight is an ex-Detroit cop, retired to the woods of the Upper Peninsula. Last year, he was a private investigator on the side, and renting cabins full time. His first case was so out of control that he put private investigating behind him.

Trouble comes looking for him once again in the form of a Native American woman, looking to get away from her abusive boyfriend. What Alex doesn’t realize is that the problem is much deeper than domestic violence. She’s stolen drugs from a Russian drug lord from out of state. So, when she disappears under Alex’s watch, from one of his own cabins, he feels so guilty that he can’t let it go, even though he doesn’t know about the drugs at the beginning. He won’t rest until he finds her or gets himself killed.

Not only does he have to survive attacks from various bad guys, he also has to survive mother nature after those attacks. Winter in the Upper Peninsula is not to be trifled with.

This is a mediocre detective novel with a grumpy, old guy main character. The grumpiness is endearing but the nostalgia is what keeps me coming back. I’ve lived and adventured in the Northern parts of Michigan my whole life. My grandfather (now deceased) is the one who introduced me to this series and gave me several books in it, so I’m sure I’ll continue it.

Girls Burn Brighter – Book Review

Published Date: March 6, 2018

Publishing Co.: Flatiron Books

Pages: 309

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A story I won’t soon forget.

Poornima and Savitha are two girls born into a poor village in India. Everyday is a struggle to survive. To have enough food, not to fill their bellies, but just enough to keep them alive. To make enough money to buy the bare essentials. Living in shacks with no doors, dirt floors and sleeping on mats. Poornima’s father is desperate to marry her off, but her skin is too dark for most men’s taste. The dowry their families demand, too high for him to pay so he grows to despise her even more. Why did she have to be a girl?

Savitha’s father is an alcoholic who begs at the temple for hand outs. Her mother works as a servant, which is considered low class. She has several sisters and she’s determined to earn their dowry money before her own so that they may have better lives.

The two girls find each other and become best friends. Savitha brings a light to Poornima’s life that she didn’t know existed after the death of Poornima’s mother. Life begins to have a kind of hope.

Then, life promptly crushes that hope. Stomps on it and spits on it’s ashes, for both girls.

A cruel act forces Savitha to run away, and Poornima is married off to an evil family. Despite their desperate situations, they are both determined to find one another again. This begins a journey across countries, that takes darker and darker twists, with no promises that they’ll ever make it back to each other.

At times, this story tore my heart out of my chest. It is beautifully written, moderately paced and achingly real. A testament to the light that burns inside every human being, and that some torches refuse to be snuffed out no matter how dark life gets.

One Word Kill (Impossible Times #1) – Book Review

Published Date: May 1, 2019

Publishing Co.: 47North

Pages: 201

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A group of D&D playing friends in the 80s struggle with their friend’s deadly illness, life drama and a stranger from the future who needs them to steal something from a tech company.

It’s incredibly hard to review a 201 page book without revealing too much about the plot and any surprises.

I found the characters to be enjoyable, relatable and fully able to carry the story to the places it went. The story itself was fast paced, only slowing down when our MC was dealing with his chemotherapy. Here, I thought Lawrence excelled at how it must feel to be battling a deadly disease. My one is issue is the ease with which they break into a tech company, their only real obstacle something completely unrelated to their mission.

This would work well as a stand alone so I’m not entirely sure where Lawrence will head with books 2 & 3.

Wanderers – Book Review

Published Date: July 9, 2019

Publishing Co.: Del Rey

Pages: 800

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review.

What if the world began to end today? That is the essential premise behind Chuck Wendig’s new apocalyptic novel Wanderers.

Set in today’s political atmosphere, with the twist that the opposite team won the election. The losing political side is having a hard time accepting those terms and when the world starts to go to Hell in a hand basket due to a mysterious sleepwalking sickness, they stoke the fires of rebellion. Of course, they don’t call it rebellion, they call it revolution. (It’s always considered revolution if you’re on the “right” side.)

Shana’s sister Nessie is the first person to begin wandering the land, blank faced, and unresponsive. She’s shortly followed by other random people in town. Every few hours the herd grows. People try to stop their loved ones, but the results are deadly. The only thing Shana can do is follow her sister into whatever awaits, as her shepherd. Her guardian. Who else is going to do it?

Shana and her wandering sister are joined by an eclectic cast of characters during their journey. Benji, a CDC doctor desperate to crack the mystery. Pete, an aging rock star clinging to any notoriety he can find even if that includes joining up with a disease no one understands. Sadie, the brains behind a computer program that is trying to save the human race. Marcy, a former cop injured in the line of duty who finds relief from the pain only by being near the flock of sleepwalkers. All act as shepherds along with dozens of other friends and family members who refuse to leave their loved ones to wanderer the countryside without protection.

On the opposite side of this mysterious malady, are the people calling for the extermination of the walkers. Stoking the fires of dissent and promising to take matters into their own hands if the government won’t stop these “terrorist agents.” Preacher Matthew Bird is gaining fame with his sermons calling these people “the Devil’s pilgrims” at the behest of a man he barely knows. A man he has been warned is dangerous, but popularity is an addicting thing. He’s looking toward the wrong evil and there will be hell to pay.

At 800 pages this is a whopper of an apocalyptic book. It took me about a month to wander my way through but it wasn’t boring. I could give it a break for a day or two and then pick it up and binge read for hours. This is an original tale and if you like reading about the end of the world, you should give this a try.

Reading Stats for the Year Thus Far…

Does that title look familiar?? Well it should since I 100% stole this idea from Ignited Moth. I told her I didn’t think I had the patience to do a post like this but where there is a will, there is a way to cheat the game. Print screen for the win!

June officially marks this as half way through the year and I’m just shy of meeting my yearly reading goal. I have got to say, not having the pressure to complete an enormous reading goal at the end of the year has been great. I feel like I’m enjoying reading much more again. Plus, it’s left me with more time to get out and try new things/hobbies.

I know you’re probably having to squint at this but I didn’t want to take 10 million screenshots.

Ahaha! If you look closely at my tabs, you can see my search for how to find my print screens. I’ve never tried since getting Windows 10.

Anywho, onto the subcategories she listed!

My favorite books I’ve read so far this year goes as follows:

Favorite (Fiction) novel so far: Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell.

5 out of 5 stars on this one. It’s my favorite epic fantasy of the year so far as well. It’s much like the 3 Musketeers but with fantasy and plot twists thrown in liberally.

Favorite (Nonfiction) novel so far: The Indifferent Stars Above by Daniel James Brown.

This was such a thoroughly researched novel on the Donner Party. It really took you back in time and showed you how life was in the frontier days. Peppered with scientific facts about what the body goes through when you’re starving and freezing to death.

Favorite graphic novel so far: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol 1. by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

Honestly, this one kind of just wins by default as it’s the only graphic novel I’ve read so far this year. Does not make it any less fun of a read though if you like dark, spooky things.

Books that were re-read: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

I was SO nervous to read this. I’ve never re-read it since I was a kid and I was really afraid that it wouldn’t hold up. But, it totally does! I was still too intimidated to write a review for it though. :3

Book suggestions from blogging buddies:

Recommended to me by The Shameful Narcissist. It was one of those ‘meh’ books for me, but I can see how people would really enjoy this post apocalyptic novel and if you’re interested in it at all, give it a try!

Suggestions from Ignited Moth:

I’ve called her it a million times now, she’s my Comic Book Fairy. ❤ She’s also always full of random non-fiction novels to recommend as well. I know there’s a novel about plagues on my TBR list thanks to her. 😛

Well that’s my 2019 reading so far! How is everyone else’s year going?

Where the Crawdads Sing – Book Review

Published Date: August 14, 2018

Publishing Co.: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 384

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Where the Crawdads Sing is undoubtedly, beautifully written. The descriptions of the land, wildlife, and ecosystems bring the narrative to life, both entertaining and educating you in one finely weaved tapestry of the environment.

Kya’s family is what the town calls Swamp Trash. They’re not treated as part of the community, but like strangers to be whispered about behind their backs. One by one, as family members slowly disappear, young Kya is left in a small shack in the marshlands of North Carolina. No one in the community tries to help her. None of them care, they just grab their children and walk in the other direction. Everyone except two boys, one the son of a ship’s captain, the other the town’s star quarterback and the black man who runs the dock where people in the swamp gas their boats. Why is it important that I mention that he’s black? This is set in the 1950’s and the racism was flagrant back then. So when the white people of the town turn their backs on a small white child, but a poor black man steps up and helps her survive, I think it’s worth pointing out. People are good people based solely on their character, nothing else.

When the quarterback mysteriously dies at the bottom of a fire tower, the town once again begins whispering about the Marsh Girl and his secret relationship with her. The son of a prominent family, half the town swears she’s guilty and they’ll vow it in a court of law. Not for the first time, Kya is fighting for her life.

While I did enjoy reading this, I felt that the plot was drawn out for far too long. Which, when you think about it, is pretty impressive for a book that’s only 384 pages long. So my final verdict is; read it if you want, it is enjoyable but, it’s not something I’m going to be thrusting at people I know and insisting that they read it.

Magic for Liars – Book Review

Published Date: June 4, 2019

Publishing Co.: Tor

Pages: 336

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review.

Ivy Gamble is a small time private investigator who deals with mostly, disability fraud and spouse cheating cases. Today, however, the local school of magic has approached her to investigate the death of a teacher, first ruled an accident. The principle of the school suspects that it was actually murder, and she can’t sleep until she gets a second opinion.

Ivy need the money, and the notoriety. The problem is, she’ll have to confront her estranged sister. The sister she’s been jealous of for a lifetime, for getting to be magic while Ivy was just ordinary. It’s not just her sister she’ll have to contend with though, it’s a whole league of people she doesn’t know how to interact with. People born to magic, who use it for such trivial reasons. She’ll have to manage her anger, on top of solving her first murder case.

Sarah Gailey’s strength is definitely in characters and their development. Ivy’s internal struggles are deeply relateable. Her interactions with people she’s uncomfortable with, and her attempts to hide her own magic inability, make for a fascinating look into the human psyche. The plot was fairly straightforward for a murder mystery. Gailey dabbles with a couple of red herrings but in all honestly, I had the mystery figured out far before our awkward PI did.

I’m left wondering, does Rahul give her a chance to explain? We’ll never know though as this is a stand alone novel. Some mysteries never get solved.

Vox – Book Review

vox

Published Date: August 21, 2018

Publishing Co.: Berkley

Pages: 336

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Whenever there is a novel about the subjugation of women, it almost always immediately draws comparisons to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Once you actually read it however, the only commonality is the subjugation of women. Vox begins as an almost complete rip off of Atwood’s tale. Replace the same concepts with different names, slight variations here and there but add a wrist device that counts women’s words, subtract the handmaids andsplash on a massive helping of current society references and you have the major workings of Vox. If you’ve never read or watched The Handmaid’s Tale, you’ll probably be able to read it without much fuss.

I had a hard time finding much respect for the main character, Jean Mc-whatever, I’ve already forgotten. This is largely due to her cheating on her husband and this is probably a personal point of view preventing me from connecting. If you don’t love someone anymore, woman up and break it off. Cheating is weak. Now, you might be thinking, “But she has to depend on a man in this new society!” Sure, that’s true but she’s basically just runs from one man to another for protection anyway.

This was very closely going to be a one star read but the ending did drag me and keep me interested in how the story falls out. It was cleaned up fairly neatly but when I sit back and think about it, I wouldn’t really care whether the story had a good or bad ending for the characters. There are some important messages to society in this so it gets points for that but I was largely unimpressed.