Quick Book Review: People Who Need To Die by Victor Rook

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This novel was an amazing spoof on people who should be killed off in the future. People Who Need To Die is an amazing satirical novel depicting how some people would kill off those who frustrate others.

This was a series of many short stories, and each one was equally amazing in their own way! The glimpse inside this author’s mind is absolutely shocking but at the same time awesome. This book gave me a Saw (film) type feeling, where someone decides to play a wicked game and kill off others who are not keeping the peace. Bad Drivers, people always on their cellphones, spammers, internet trolls, horrible bosses, litterbugs, black friday shoppers, idiots and gardeners are all destroyed in this series of short stories.

I did find Terror Garden, the short story, to be long, slow and boring compared to the other novels, but as a selection as a whole, this novel is amazing. I didn’t expect the series to be so good and well developed. I actually want to reread this and suggest it to everyone I know. This author needs to make more books like this!

The “selective” homicides was a fabulous idea, and I wish there were more satirical novels out there like this that I could get my hands on. Absolutely wonderful!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

PS I also loved that he signed it for me and spelled my name right. ❤

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Quick Book Review: Tangled Lives by Hilary Boyd

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This book was very believable and easy to read, but very slow and boring in my opinion.

This story follows Annie Delancey and her happy, grown family as the child she gave up for adoption while she was a teenager tries to contact her. This ends up causing trouble within the family and the story follows this very drama.

While the drama that occurred was believable, I found that a little bit more action or drama could have happened to make the story more interesting. While more drama might have made it seem less realistic, it also would have made for a better novel.

The story moved very slowly, but the writing was very beautiful. The descriptions and word choices by the author made it a very beautiful read. Once I got about two thirds into the book, I did find myself hooked to the story since I wanted to find out what was happening to the characters.

I found the ending to be quite lame and uneventful. I expected an interesting ending that showed how the characters were years later, instead of a small summary of a random event to the family.

I did enjoy this book, and I would suggest it to other people but I would not read the book again. Well written with a believable plot, but not the most attractive read to keep you hooked onto the book.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

3 out of 5 stars.

Quick Book Review: Asylum by Madeleine Roux

 

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I got this book from a local book store as an Advanced Reader’s Copy. Before I read it, I did my research on the book and all the reviews I found told me how boring and stupid the book was.

I disagree to these reviews.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book far more than I expected. It did start off a little slow, but once I got into the book I was addicted instantly. I wanted to know more about the characters and the back story of the New Hampshire College Prep and how it used to be an Asylum.

The plot was fun to follow, and I couldn’t guess the ending (which rarely happens! So this book was quite the gem). Some of the aspects of the plot were predictable, but it took wild turns that I didn’t see coming, so I enjoyed it.

It did bother me a bit reading this before I went to bed, since it unsettled me a few times when I left off at a more ‘scary’ chapter, but it wasn’t really that scary or a horrible read.

I really enjoyed this book! I did wish there was more pictures to go along with each chapter instead of just one every few (this book has illustrations that goes along with some chapters for added effect). I loved this aspect of the book though! Having illustrations added more insight into the novel and made me more interested in the story.

Overall, an amazing book and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel!
Five out of five stars!

Book Review: Good Girl by Christina Frank

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Title: Good Girl
Author: Christina Frank
Date Read: September 4th – September 22nd, 2016
Date Reviewed: September 22nd, 2016

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I chose to pick this one up before a few others because it sounded like a dramatic romance with lots of turmoil and suspense…well, it was dramatic, that’s for sure.

Spoilers Ahead?: Yes.

Quick Summary: Gabriella Rossi works at her family’s pizza place. One day a stranger walks in and requests her to live with him for an extended period of time and in return he will give money to her family (who greatly require it). She agrees and goes to live with Noah Bentley, and learns he is not just looking for some company. This billionaire lets her enjoy the life of luxury, but for a price, her heart.

Evaluations: This sounds like someone had intended on writing Fifty Shades of Grey in a different manner, but it is definitely not as well written as I would have hoped for. There were many chapters of Gabby going out with Noah and experiencing dates and then the two would fight and she’d be “grounded” to her room without dinner. It was a strange Daddy-Slave type relationship going on for at least half the book, and Gabby absolutely hated the man. How did she develop feelings when for a majority of the book she wanted to go home and absolutely hated him?

I also found that the book felt very rigid in the tone that it was written. If not for the very formal writing style, the strange relationship between Noah and Gabby might have made sense, but I felt like I was listening a very formal, older gentleman explain the tale of Noah and Gabby. It just felt like the tone did not match the story.

Plot: The plot was your typical dominance-submission title that you can find in the Fifty Shades of Grey rip-off area. Rich, handsome man who does not get with other women decides to find a poor waitress and make her fall in love with him. While I do love this trope, I found it to be a little lacking in this novel. That’s not to say other readers won’t like it though! I just found that there were many areas of the plot that could have had a little more umph to them.

Noah wants Gabby but Gabby hates Noah, yet magically romance appears. I would have liked Gabby to slowly open up to Noah throughout the novel instead of the very stoic persona she took on.

The random thoughts during the novel left me feeling cheated when nothing was brought about by them. It seemed like Christina Frank was deciding to turn in one direction, but forgot to edit them out later.

Overall, the plot could have been built up a little more so there were less plot holes.

Characters: Gabriella is a very cold character, and understandably so due to the situation she is put in. But what confused me throughout the novel is how she went from hatred of Noah to loving him. There was no build up to the love, it just suddenly happened. As much as I believe that love at first sight may exist, hatred to love at first sight seems to be less likely. There aren’t many layers to this girl, and while most romances may not involves layers in their characters they usually have a bit more spunk to them. She felt very one sided, and I wasn’t cheering for her like I do in many other novels with a female lead.

Noah is cold like a fish and dull like a butter knife. Yes he can cut a little bit, but he doesn’t get very far. Once and a while emotion is shown, but most of the time he is as emotional as a stone. If Noah’s story would have been addressed more, perhaps we would have understood why he was so emotionless. Was he meant to have no emotions? Was there a reason? Why was he always so cold? Overall, I didn’t like his character as a romantic interest. I found him very boring and I understand why Gabby didn’t like him near the beginning of the novel. Someone unrealistic and mean is typically not my ideal man.

Themes/Creativity: There doesn’t seem to be any themes evident, other than following the trend of dominance and submission. It is also not very creative – I’ve read many books with almost this exact plot. There are some unique twists and turns within the novel, but it doesn’t stand out within the genre.

Uniqueness: It’s not entirely unique compared to other romance novels. It introduces a few plot twists here and there, but nothing to scream “Recommend this book to everyone you know!”. It’s more of a novel that I’d give to someone who wants to read mass amounts of the dominance and submission genre.

Strengths: Christina Frank is a good writer, and the tone of voice would be fantastic in a mystery/suspense/thriller type of novel. I would love to read her tone of voice in a book that isn’t romance.

Weaknesses: With many weak points they all band together for the weakness portion of this review. I would have loved for a very strong, unique plot, or a very unique set of characters or a crazy plot twist that out does all the other novels in this genre, but it felt like all of these aspects were copies of other novels I have read in the past. It was not as original as I had hoped it to be.

Score:
2 out of 5.
This book was a good read – it was adequate. It was not my favorite book, and I won’t be picking it up again, but I’ll read more by Christina Frank. She is a great author!

Quick Book Review: Jacob’s Odyssey by Russ Melrose

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Jacob’s Odyssey was an interesting zombie apocalypse novel.

I found this book to be well written, but the first half of the book left me rather bored. The main character, Jacob, does not speak to anyone for the first half of the novel. Without any conversation the novel seemed rather bland. It’s like watching someone play a video game of trying to survive the zombie apocalypse – it can be an interesting read, but it wasn’t something I enjoyed.

Jacob’s first contact with someone other than zombies is half way into the book, once I got there I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. The mixture of conversation and action worked perfectly well.

If anything, I think the author could work on putting more speaking roles in the beginning of a novel. Perhaps the sequel to this book will be different, but I was left feeling cheated. Half of the book was boring, always reading about how Jacob was moving around just trying to survive. The lack of conversation made it incredibly boring for me.

Overall, I did enjoy this novel. It is well written and is a good fiction read. Anyone who likes fantasy, supernatural or zombie apocalypse dystopias would enjoy this book.

Three out of five stars due to the first half of the novel.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: A Simple Murder by Eleanor Kuhns

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This book was a very slow start, but it had a very interesting and attention grabbing middle and ending.

I love myself a good murder mystery novel, and this book added to my love of trying to figure out who killed the victims.

The book follows William Rees as he goes back to see his son at a sort of religious gathering place. I did not fully understand the setting and what type of religion these people were, but it was a good place to throw a murder mystery in.

A young woman who is relatively new to the community is murdered and Rees is hired on to solve the murder. He ends up getting involved with multiple murders as he goes around trying to crack the mystery.

The book is set in the 1700s and proves to be a good time for the novel as well. At first I did not like the fact that it was back in the past, but once the book got farther along with the story I began to enjoy the setting.

Overall, I did not find many faults with the book other than finding it very slow. The beginning felt painful and the middle was okay until I reach the last fourth of the book. Once it got to the last fourth I was able to get into the book and feel attached to the characters. If the book moved a little faster, it could have been a five star book.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

3 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: It by Stephen King

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Title: It
Author: Stephen King
Date Read: September 8th – September 16th, 2016
Date Reviewed: September 18th, 2016
Spoilers Ahead?: Yes!

Introduction: I heard there was a new It movie coming out through Collider Movie Talk on Youtube, so I decided that I wanted to watch not only the new movie, but the Tim Curry one. I had recently rewatched Rocky Horror and Clue and I remembered how much I loved Tim Curry as a child, so why not watch a horror film with him in it when I’m an adult? I prefer to read the books before the movie, so going in I can understand any plot holes the films leave hanging around. It took me a long while to find this book, but when I did I started reading it ASAP. And for over 1100 pages, I managed to finish it in under two weeks.

Quick Summary: Derry, Maine is a small town with a big problem – It. It, a dark creature, is killing kids left and right, and it seems to appear in a cycle, about every thirty years. When a group of kids that were not killed by It come back to Derry, they are going to have to face their greatest fear – Pennywise.

Evaluations: In short, this book is super weird, but it is also well written and the plot was well thought up. I was under the impression this book would just be about some psycho killer clown, but it is so much more! Pennywise/Robert Gray/It is not just a clown, he/it is a supernatural entity. You can tell that this is true through how it changes into different creatures throughout the novel (vampire, werewolf, mummy, the dead kids, Pennywise, spider, etc). I wasn’t impressed by the fact that this was supernatural, since I really wanted Stephen King to just write some strange killer clown story, but somehow that supernatural aspect was the only negative part of the book. Every chapter has a reason for being there (even if some of them are painful to get through or seem worthless when you are reading it. I’m not kidding, for a while someone is making a hamburger) and everything ends up connecting at the end or becoming part of the theme. There is definitely some weirder scenes that seem out of place – Beverly sleeps with all the boys out of nowhere – but if you try to pick apart themes within this work, you can place these strange scenes for that purpose.
Overall, I liked it! It did require me to do some research as to why the weird scenes exist so I would understand why they were necessary, but the book was worth it.

Plot: The plot is relatively simple – a supernatural entity (We’ll call it Pennywise in this review), kills kids every thirty years or so in a cycle. It kills Bill’s brother, and goes after Bill and six of his friends. The kids somehow escape Derry and end up coming back to Derry as an adult when Pennywise has reappeared in the cycle to kill more kids. Bill, Bev, Eddie, Ben, Mike, Richie, and Stan come back as adults, and they have to remember how they got rid of It as kids. And then, they decide they are going to kill It for good.

That is the 1100 plot in short – there is definitely a lot going on in this book. A lot of tough subjects are brought up in the book and written relatively well (abuse, childhood, innocence, homophobia, racism, sexism, imagination, among others), but there were some points that left me a little bitter.

Stephen King has Beverly sleep with all the men/boys (when I read the novel, I took it as a kid she slept with all the boys and made them lose their virginity, but some readers have expressed they believe it happens when they are adults. Stephen King does not always make it clear in the novel when he hops along the timeline). This chapter sat rather strange with me because she had not interacted with other boys in that way before, yet she somehow knew what she was doing and had relatively no pain. It wasn’t realistic (I know this is a supernatural story) and it just didn’t sit well with me. It also, at first, doesn’t make sense why in the world this is included other than to make this a more rated R story, but it fits into some of the theming within the novel.

I also had an issue with the nonlinear aspect of the novel. I appreciated the novel jumping back and forth from childhood to adulthood with these characters, but I would have liked the chapter to express that everytime it jumped so I wasn’t left wondering which timeline version of Pennywise they injured and how certain relationships kept going back and forth from great to meh.

Characters: “It” has a lot of characters, so I’m only going to focus on a few of them.
Pennywise – The demonic entity with many names was an interesting character. Stephen King does write in Pennywise’s point of view, and I felt like that kind of ruined the mystery of Pennywise. Up until that point, I was excited for Pennywise’s scenes and I was trying to figure out his motives, but then when the POV came around it ruined it all for me.
Once I got over Pennywise being a demonic entity and not just a really cool psycho clown, Pennywise becomes an interesting character. It induces fear into children and does not appear to adults (minus the kids that then become Adults, and somehow Bill’s wife Audra). I was left wondering why this demon kills kids, and there wasn’t much of an explanation that I found. Perhaps after further research I may find theories from others, but I was really left hanging.
The character was scary, and that was great for this novel! When Pennywise did appear, whether it was as the clown, the spider or anything else, it was thrilling. He was well written, so I’m impressed!

Beverly – Beverly is the only female in the Losers’ Club, and as both a child and as an adult she appears to be the sex symbol. She slept with all the boys, Bill and Ben love her, and she has constant abuse against her from her Father and her Husband. I wish Stephen King wrote better female characters – strong ones, independent ones, not totally sexualized ones – but alas, he does not. His male characters shine! His females seem to suffer.
The aspect I liked about Beverly was I could fit her to the theming of this novel. While she may not be a strong, independent woman, she can help a reader tear apart of the themes!

Bill / Audra – Bill is kind of the main character throughout the story, and his wife is Audra (he also cheats with Bev because he still loves her, but those feelings disappear as soon as they sleep together even though they both enjoyed it together more than with their spouses). Bill stutters, and as soon as Pennywise is gone at the end of the story he doesn’t stutter anymore. Of course, because he’s the main character he gets a hot wife, and he gets his school boy crush to sleep with him, because he’s the main character. He also becomes a famous writer and gets super rich!!
But aside from his character, it’s his part of the plot  that frustrated me. While Bill is a smart character and his action/horror scenes are great, he leaves some plot holes for reader speculation. His stutter disappearing makes me wonder what caused them, and it really left me hanging. Readers have theories, but not one distinct one. Also, near the end of the novel Audra is essentially comatose, yet when she gets in their vehicle and they start driving she’s magically back to normal. Was this because Pennywise is gone? Because they left Derry? There’s no explanation, and again, readers can’t agree on the why, just that is happened.

Themes/Creativity: This book is super creative and has theming. Whoever comes up with a clown that is also a vampire, mummy, frankenstein’s monster, werewolf and spider and can make a best selling book out of it is clearly creative.

But now for the themes.
Adolescence/Childhood/Innocence/Imagination/etc – Stephen King addresses the move from innocence into experience well. Bullying, familial issues, crushes and more situations that kids face are addressed in this novel. He does an excellent job, and I could go on and on about the hundreds of scenes he has written, but I want to address one theme within this one.
Beverly sleeping with all the boys appears to be out of place, until you start placing themes together. When you read the chapter before, Beverly figures out how they must destroy Pennywise. (When you read in the story that Eddie makes his asthma inhaler spray out acid at Pennywise, this connects as well) Bev decides to sleep with all the boys and take their virginity – at first it seems very odd, but then you realize she is taking their innocence away from them. In some strange way, this shows the move from innocence to experience. To be able to defeat Pennywise, they need to be able to be imaginative, but they also have to eventually become adults.
The Losers’ Club couldn’t have kids, which shows they are more “innocent” than “experienced”. An adult has to lie to children and make kids believe it, yet they know that they are not telling the truth. They can tell a lie like it’s honest, like warning kids not to go out at night because there are clowns in the storm drain. Adults might know that is not true, but they can lie and make it seem true. Kids would believe this, and then they would try to think up ways to kill this evil clown so they can stay out later – like acid from the asthma medication. It tastes like acid, so why isn’t it acid? Kids have wild imaginations, and only when they move from innocence to experience do they lose some of their imagination.

King also addresses topics such as racism, sexism, domestic abuse, prejudice, and more, but I wanted to focus on that adolescence topic. In all of his themes, he does a magnificent job.

Uniqueness: After reading Carrie, I can definitely say this book is unique. Not only for just any old writer, but for Stephen King. It addresses theories yet is a thriller/horror novel. It has a clown that is a demonic entity that is also every fear the kids have come to life. This book is definitely unique, and I haven’t found anything like it!

Strengths: Stephen King putting themes into the novel was a real strength. The fact that I could pick apart the novel and try to make theories made my inner fan girl self super happy.
The plot all being significant to the story was also a real strength. Most novels have filler chapters, but everything mattered in this book!
The time line – while it is also a major weakness, jumping from the past to the present helped build the story!

Weaknesses:
The women were really stale – I would love for Stephen King to write a strong, female character in the future.
The demonic entity was a bit of a let down / weakness. The “big reveal” of the supernatural aspect leaves a lot of readers feeling cheated. I would have rather the kids just have wild imaginations that made them see vampires and werewolves chasing them since they were told not to stay out after 7pm rather than the demon becoming those creatures.
The timeline – more notice about what time period the chapters were in would have been nice.

Score: 5 out of 5. Throughout this entire novel I was glued to it! Rarely do I find a novel where every page has me hooked (especially a 1100 page novel!).