Restoration by Elaine D. Walsh

?????????????????????????????Restoration by Elaine D. Walsh

Published September 18th, 2013 by Barks Out Loud

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books A Million / Book Depository

Synopsis:

When your life is shattered you can live damaged or repair it.

With a signed death warrant and final appeals running out, Tess Olsen anticipates the execution of the man her mother deserted her family for thirteen years ago. Randall Wright s death will expel his disturbing legacy and return her mother to her; it s as simple as that, or so she believes. But Wright robbed her life of more than just her mother and like a splinter slowly and painfully working its way to the surface, those stolen pieces begin emerging.

Working as an art conservator in New York City, Tess keeps an emotional distance from co-workers. She has no close ties since isolating herself during her teen years when the tale of Wright s crimes, trial, and marriage to her mother was published in a Pulitzer Prize winning article. She yearns for the family she had and is unable to accept who they are now.

Tess is dating Ben Elliot, an art critic for the New York Times. The relationship both intrigues and unnerves her. Unlike men she s dated in the past, he is more interested in her than her physical attributes and any sex she can offer. Although drawn to Ben, she is more comfortable with men like Kenyon LeMere, a brazen artist Ben introduces her to who has a reputation for translating his sexual liaisons into art.

Restoration chronicles Tess Olsen s challenge to restore her life, relationships, and dreams back to the promise they held before Randal Wright.

Rating: 4 star

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. This did not affect my opinion of the book, thank you Barks Out Loud!

This book was not long but every word served its purpose perfectly. This little tome follows Tess. Her mother married a serial killer when she was a young girl. She used to be a painter, but she isn’t anymore because she feels that her new stepfather has ruined her gift. She doesn’t speak to her mother and she avoids closeness at all costs. Randall is about to be executed and Tess is overjoyed that she can finally move on with her life. Tess is a very damaged woman who is clearly living in the past, this is obvious to the reader but not to Tess.

I was not exactly sure what to expect when I started this book. Yes, I had read the synopsis but I still didn’t know just what kind of story I was getting into.It was an emotional ride. My heart broke for Tess. I cried for her. I wanted to help her. I hurt for her and wanted to protect the little girl that she used to be. I followed her journey to figuring out some of her issues and felt the pain right along with her.

This story though is not about Tess and her acceptance that Randall’s execution won’t fix her life. It’s about her and her relationship with her mother. It was about Tess realizing that her mother was much more responsible for ruining her childhood than Randall. Because her mother consciously made the choice to let evil into her children’s lives and did nothing to stop it. The book is about realizing the part that her mother played in all of the things she blamed Randall for. I could sympathize with Tess on this front. We don’t want to believe that our parents are flawed and make mistakes, and sometimes they choose evil over their children. It can be a very painful thing to finally make that leap in your mind. But it is incredibly freeing once you finally get there.

The biggest complaint I had about this book was the Francesca storyline. While I liked Francesca as a character, I didn’t like what the author did with her story. I realize that they were trying to parallel Tess and her mother with this one, but I just didn’t get it. In fact I thought that the resolution to that story was a bit selfish on Tess’ part and Francesca’s part. So I just didn’t get it, nor did I agree with how it was handled. But this small complaint aside, this was a great read.

Review: Night Harvest by Michael Alexiades

night harvest Night Harvest by Michael Alexiades

Published September 26th, 2013 by Turner Publishing

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository / Books a Million

 

Synopsis:

A riveting debut thriller from one of New York’s most eminent surgeons, Night Harvest follows the bizarre disappearance of patients from a Manhattan hospital into the murky underground of the city.

Fourth-year medical student Demetri Makropolis has been assigned to cover orthopedics at Eastside Medical Center, one of New York City’s finest hospitals. Just as his surgery team begins to operate on New York’s leading drama critic, F. J. Pervis III, the patient suddenly goes into cardiac arrest. The team fails to resuscitate him, so the corpse is moved to the hospital’s morgue. But before the autopsy is even performed, the body vanishes from the morgue and mysteriously reappears a day later—with the brain surgically removed. Even more disturbing is the medical examiner’s discovery: Pervis was still alive when the ghostly craniotomy was performed.

With their reputation at stake, the hospital assigns NYPD’s Detective Patrick McManus to the case; meanwhile, Demetri learns of an eerily similar century-old unsolved mystery that leads him to an enigmatic figure lurking in the bowels of the medical center. With Pervis as his experiment, the perpetrator initiates a chain reaction of chaos and murder in Manhattan.

A gripping tale filled with ambition, romance, jealousies, and black humor, Night Harvest is a thrilling ride that culminates in the long-abandoned elaborate network of subterranean rooms and corridors that still lie beneath present-day Manhattan.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Turner! Past this point this review contains spoilers.

 

This book was kind of boring. The idea was that this medical student gets involved in the plot of a serial killer when a local celebrity dies on the operating table only to have his body go missing. Then later they find out he wasn’t dead at all and was killed later. Other people go missing, medical student plays detective and we all know how it proceeds from there. I wouldn’t really call this one predictable, because it was just so random. But, I present you the pros and cons of this book.

Pros:

Writing – The writing is not bad. It is adequate for a story of this type, although I felt like it tended to ramble a little too much without really going anywhere. But largely I have no complaints about the writing, it accomplished what it needed to accomplish.

Characters – Again, no complaints but nothing truly spectacular. The characters were decent and not too cookie cutter like. I did really like Demetri and McManus, I would have preferred that the POV was strictly kept between the two of them. The other characters I didn’t really care much about either good or bad. They were just set pieces for the greater story.

 

Cons:

The Bad Guy – This was just weird. He kills because he has found the secret to immortality, but then he alternately kills other people and rapes them just because. He seemingly has no preference for male or female victims to rape, not even seems to care if they are alive or not at the time. This is so out of synch with everything that makes a sexual predator what they are, they have very specific preferences. It just, I don’t know. Oh yeah and did I mention that he is supposedly like 100 years old? Weird.

POV Jumping – We spent time with at least 6-7 different characters and we seemed to jump between them every 2-3 pages. It was so confusing. I still don’t think I know who half of the characters are and how they related to the story. And it seemed like the author wanted to give every character a back story, so it is just a long line of one page of plot and one page of backstory then on to a new character. I found that I learned absolutely nothing about any of the characters as a result.

Plot – Meandering and aimless. I wasn’t sure what the actual point was except to just set us up for a sequel at the very end. Nothing really was accomplished. And I found that I cared less than I should.

Overall it was not a bad book but it was not very well executed. It needed a lot more work before being put on the market to really tighten up the story and characters. So I would rate it as slightly less than average.

Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

cobweb brideCobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

Published: July 1th, 2013 by Norilana Books

Buy this book at: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Books A Million / Book Depository

Synopsis:

Many are called…
She alone can save the world and become Death’s bride.

Cobweb Bride is a history-flavored fantasy novel with romantic elements of the Persephone myth, about Death’s ultimatum to the world.

What if you killed someone and then fell in love with them?

In an alternate Renaissance world, somewhere in an imaginary “pocket” of Europe called the Kingdom of Lethe, Death comes, in the form of a grim Spaniard, to claim his Bride. Until she is found, in a single time-stopping moment all dying stops. There is no relief for the mortally wounded and the terminally ill….

Covered in white cobwebs of a thousand snow spiders she lies in the darkness… Her skin is cold as snow… Her eyes frozen… Her gaze, fiercely alive…

While kings and emperors send expeditions to search for a suitable Bride for Death, armies of the undead wage an endless war… A black knight roams the forest at the command of his undead father … Spies and political treacheries abound at the imperial Silver Court…. Murdered lovers find themselves locked in the realm of the living…

Look closer — through the cobweb filaments of her hair and along each strand shine stars…

And one small village girl, Percy—an unwanted, ungainly middle daughter—is faced with the responsibility of granting her dying grandmother the desperate release she needs.

As a result, Percy joins the crowds of other young women of the land in a desperate quest to Death’s own mysterious holding in the deepest forests of the North…

And everyone is trying to stop her.

Rating: 2 star

Review:

I received a free copy of this book by the publisher in order for an honest review.

I have literally no idea what to make of this book. It just….I don’t know. The idea behind it was just so interesting and intriguing. I read the synopsis and thought, wow this sounds so good. And it just wasn’t. It had its good points to be sure, which is why I gave it two stars but at the end I was just left shaking my head and wondering what the hell was going on.  Be warned, BEYOND THIS POINT THERE BE SPOILERS!!

The characters in this book were really good. I fell in love with them and wanted to hear more about them.  Well, okay, most of them. Some of the characters seemed completely useless but most of the main ones were good ones. Percy was fun, though I think she was trying too hard to be philosophical and that got old after awhile. Grial was funny and amusing so I liked having her around and frankly I thought she was around for much too short a time. Beltain was alright but he struck me as a complete wuss. He caved in to his father, he caved in to the Princess, he caved in to Percy…this man is an expert flip flopper. And most of the other characters were so vacant that I hardly noticed or cared that they were there.

I was really pissed off by the only romantic angle in this book. So basically the Princess (Claere) is stabbed to death by a Duke who believes that his family has been hard done by her father. But she can’t die because Death is no longer taking souls. So she talks to him and takes him with her on her journey to Death’s castle and…..falls in love with him. Dear God seriously? This goes so beyond the YA addiction to showing abusive love relationships. This is violent from before they ever even talk!? He killed her for the love of God! I was so angry about this I couldn’t even speak. I predicted that it would happen and it pissed me off when it did.

I was thoroughly confused about many aspects of this book and frankly, I still am puzzled. It makes no logical sense at all. For example, Death shows up and says that he is not taking souls anymore until they find his Cobweb Bride and brings her to his keep. So I tried to think why everyone in the world wouldn’t just say, alright fine we’ll just live forever then. Apparently the author wondered this too so decided to force the world’s hand by making animals unable to be slaughtered or cooked…which makes sense because animals have living souls. But then also says that plants can’t be cooked….um why? Do plants have souls in this book too? That was never addressed. And there are plenty of plants and vegetables that don’t need to be cooked to be eaten so why are we not eating those instead? And even if you couldn’t eat why would the world still not just say screw off we’ll live forever? I don’t understand this at all.

But then it gets even more confusing when they arrive at Death’s keep. Death says that he can’t keep taking souls because every time he takes a soul he gives them a part of himself and then when they die that part comes back to him. But this woman, his Cobweb Bride, was supposed to die and he gave a piece of himself to her and then she didn’t die. Which rendered him incapable of taking souls until she returns that piece of him. So, if he is incapable of taking souls then why did he say that he was CHOOSING not to take souls? Which is it? I still don’t know. But then he manages to give a piece of himself to Percy so that she has some of his powers and can go find his Bride and bring her back…and somehow that means she can take souls. How? If Death isn’t capable of taking souls then how can he give that ability to Percy? Or if Death really was choosing not to take souls then why would he give that ability to Percy and why would he say that it was because he couldn’t?

I am just so confused by this book. I wanted to like it, I did like certain parts of it, and the rest just confused me. I won’t be reading any more of this trilogy, even if I was promised to get some answers.

Cracked by Eliza Crewe

crackedCracked by Eliza Crewe

Expected Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Strange Chemistry

Pre-order this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books A Million / Book Depository 

 

Synopsis:

Meet Meda. She eats people.

Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.

They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.

Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.

The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

**Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Strange Chemistry!

This book was such a delightful little read, I was very surprised by it. I really have only a handful of complaints and even those are hardly worth mentioning. Cracked is written in the first person, from Meda’s perspective. Sometimes first person can be a problem if the narrating character is not very likeable, so I was a bit apprehensive for a few minutes. But it quickly became apparent to me that this was not going to be the case here. Meda was delightful. Funny, quirky, sarcastic, and wonderfully evil. Her inner dialogue made me laugh so often. For example, narrating an argument between two other characters as a tennis match. It shouldn’t have been as funny as it was but I couldn’t help it.

The plot was intriguing although admittedly it started off a bit thin. I started to get a little bit worried that there wouldn’t be much to it, but about halfway through it started to really pick up. The last part was both slightly surprising but also exactly how the book should have gone. I was a bit surprised that we got a happily ever after with a bit of a bitter aftertaste. To be honest, I figured it would just be a happily ever after,so it was a nice change that it wasn’t entirely so.

Although Meda was fantastic, the other characters started off badly. They seemed a bit unimportant and I had a hard time connecting with them. This resolved itself by the end and so I have to say it was a marginal problem at worst.

My one biggest complaint was this line, “I released a breath I hadn’t known I was holding.”  Ugh, can authors PLEASE stop using that phrase1 Never once in my life have I been holding my breath and thought “well by God, I didn’t realize I was holding that breath!”. It just doesn’t happen so please stop using it. However, at least there were no color changing eyes in this one. And since the rest of the book was so great I have to just overlook that small annoyance.

Review: Nightlife by Matthew Quinn Martin

nightlifeNightlife by Matthew Quinn Martin

Expected publication: October 21st, 2013 by Pocket Star

Pre-Order this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books a Million

Synopsis:

For centuries an ancient evil has slept beneath the streets of New Harbor. This Halloween, it wakes up.
An action-packed debut horror novel from talented new writer Matthew Quinn Martin, Nightlife pits a feisty bartender and a mysterious loner against bloodthirsty terrors as alluring as they are deadly.

Nightclub bartender and serial heartbreaker Beth Becker might be a cynic. But when her best friend goes missing Halloween night, Beth knows it’s up to her to find out what happened.

Her quest will take her on an odyssey through the crumbling city of New Harbor, Connecticut. Along the way she meets a homeless prophet warning of something he calls the “Night Angel”-a bloodthirsty creature that feeds on the forgotten. And she will form an unlikely bond with a hunted stranger who knows all too well what stalks the streets at night.

Rating: 4 star

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the publisher and author!

This book was both exactly what I expected and not at all what I expected, which is a rather strange sensation I’m sure you can imagine. I am always looking for a good vampire book but I want that vampire book to be something unique. That is why I am still giving this particular niche a chance, I want something different and new! In a sense, this book provided that. But also a lot of cliches.

Characters – Jack Jackson was a complete cliche if I ever saw one. The solitary man who has dedicated his entire life to hunting down the thing that caused him to lose the love of his life, working alone and very antisocial in his quest. But after awhile I didn’t really even mind the clicheness of it because I thought Jack was kind of funny. He made me laugh a few times and I really liked his character. Beth was a pretty good character overall but again, pretty cliche. The stubborn, tough, rough around the edges girl who tends to push everyone away from her but ends up being the unlikely sidekick of the previously mentioned antisocial man on a mission. And yet again, I found that I didn’t really mind the cliche. Beth was interesting and fun, and pretty kickass in her own right. Now she did have a certain amount of the required horror book idiocy about her but it was minor and short lived. None of the other characters really made much impact on me since they seemed so incredibly expendable. When they were around then they were decent enough but then they just are gone and I hardly noticed they were gone.

The plot was fairly interesting in that a bunch of vampires (or whatever they are) have camped out in this little town and are feeding on the homeless population…at least until that can’t sustain them anymore and they go after more risky targets. Jack comes roaring into town, runs into Beth, and together they go to fight and demolish the evil creatures. This was all great. Add it in a shadowy organization that seems intent on…well I’m not sure exactly because they are hardly mentioned at all. What made the plot all the more enticing for me was the origins and true nature of these vampires. I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it before. It was very unique and I loved it. I also loved that for once in a book like this the characters seem to be aware that other vampire books, movies, etc exist and have seen them. That doesn’t happen often and frankly it baffles me as to why.

By the last page I was really enjoying this book. I wish that we had heard more about “The Division” (previously mentioned shadowy organization) because it seems like that was going somewhere to just get left hanging. The ending was satisfying and not entirely a happily every after but pretty close. And it had enough of a set up for another book that I wouldn’t mind reading the sequel, but if I never read the sequel then the ending was a satisfying one for a stand alone book. This book gets one and a half thumbs up from me, add in more of The Division and it could be a full five stars next time.

Review: Fragments by Dan Wells

fragmentsFragments by Dan Wells

Published February 26th, 2013 by Balzer & Bray

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Books A Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

Kira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence—it must be part of a larger plan, a plan that involves Kira, a plan that could save both races. Her companions are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?

Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what’s left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira’s journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and Kira and Marcus both will discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn’t even know existed.

The second installment in the pulse-pounding Partials saga is the story of the eleventh hour of humanity’s time on Earth, a journey deep into places unknown to discover the means—and even more important, a reason—for our survival.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

I cannot guarantee that this review won’t contain spoilers for book 1, but should be free of spoilers for this book.. So if you don’t want to read spoilers only read this first paragraph please. I loved this book. I was kid of lukewarm on the first book but was interested enough to continue, and boy am I glad I did. If you get nothing else out of this review, read this series. Now stop reading or else it’s your own damn fault if you get spoiled.

Like I mentioned a moment ago, I was pretty lukewarm on Partials (book 1). I thought it was decent but nothing out of this world. But the ending piqued my interest and so I wanted to see what happened. That brings us to Fragments. From the beginning of this book you know the stakes are high. Kira has discovered a cure for RM but apart from that one child they haven’t been able to replicate it. Samm is off to parts unknown and Kira has run off to find answers that Nandita sent her after at ParaGen. And this is where our second story begins.

Kira was still such a good character. I found her to be tough, real, gritty, and has a real soft spot to her as well. At times she got on my nerves a little bit with her whole, “OMG I’m a Partial, but I love the humans!’ routine but overall I had few complaints with her. I will just say that I loved the interaction with her and Vale. I won’t say anything else about that because it would ruin it, but it was fantastic! I felt just as confused and conflicted as Kira did just reading that part.

Samm and Marcus are officially my book boyfriends. I love them both so much I can’t even put it into words. They are so different but both so awesome at the same time. I think if I was forced to choose who I like more it would have to be Samm because he made me cry in this book, but that doesn’t diminish my love for Marcus. Although Marcus did get a bit reckless in this book, but it was all for the right reasons and that was important.

The plot moved along rapidly but it was well structured so it wasn’t too hard to follow. I really liked the introduction of Afa, he was a much needed and useful character. I really liked how many answers we got in this book. But at the same time those answers created more questions so it was a good balance. I LOVED the descriptions of this world so much in this book. It felt real and raw and I could see it in my head as we went along.

And the ending…whoa, is all I have to say. Even though I finished the book hours ago I can’t get over the ending. It took me by complete surprise and made me cry. I ended up putting the book down and just sat there with my mouth hanging open for a few minutes before I could wrap my head around what happened. I am already salivating over the idea of the final book and it causes me physical pain that it isn’t coming out until 2014. I am sold on this series, completely and utterly sold.

Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman

dueledDualed by Elsie Chapmen

Published February 26th 2013 by Random House

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository / Books A Million

 

Synopsis:

Two of you exist.

Only one will survive.

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

This has to be one of my most highly anticipated book in months. I fell in love with the cover, I’m still in love with the cover. It is spectacular. I also loved the synopsis. The idea behind this book is one that I recognized could be either amazing or terrible, it all depended on execution. This was executed well. Some things probably could have been better but overall as a story I loved it.

The good:

West- She was a fantastic heroine. I found her to be smart, brave, loving, and normal. Unlike a lot of YA heroines, she believes herself to be subpar but isn’t perfect at everything in reality. We all know the heroines I meant. “Man I suck so bad, except for my perfect looks, perfect boyfriend, perfect hair, and inability to do anything that isn’t perfect.” West doubts herself but she’s reasonable in her doubt. She is a normal girl, good at some things and not so good at others. She neither believes she’s amazing or believes she’s terrible at everything. I found her very likely for that reason. I didn’t always understand her motivations but she always made me believe that she was a very girl who was trying her best to do the right thing.

Ending- I will be the first to admit it, I didn’t see the ending coming. Not even a little bit. Of course most of these kinds of books end in one way. The hero/heroine realized how wrong the system is and tries to subvert it in any way possible. That is what I was expecting but it’s not what I got. At this point I am at a loss for how the series will progress but I will be thrilled to find out. I am in for the long haul on this series and I think the ending played a large part in that. Best of all, the ending could serve as the perfect ending for a stand alone story. It was a satisfying end to that story that I wouldn’t mind if it ended right here but there’s still enough of a story to keep going with it too.

Narrative/World Building- West was a good narrator for the book, I liked her thoughts and didn’t mind being inside her head. Sometimes I thought she was being something of an idiot, but still didn’t mind her narration. The world building was good enough that I didn’t have any trouble at all picturing it in my head. I couldn’t quite get a grasp on the rules for the world but it was well put together for the purposes of the book.

 

The not so good:

Alts- Obviously the Alts were being presented as the protagonists of the book, but I felt that this limited the book in a lot of ways. The Alts are not necessarily the bad guys, we only perceive them that way because our character, West, is being pursued by hers. So since we’re supposed to be on her side then her Alt is automatically the bad guy. But if you honestly look at it then her Alt is going through exactly the same thing as West is. She also has to fight her Alt to the death and leave her family to do so. She also doesn’t know if she’ll be alive or dead in 30 days time. So ultimately they have the same path. I would have liked to see both West and her Alt and get sympathy for both of them. It would have made it less about us versus them and more about us being pitted against them unwillingly.

West as a Striker – I didn’t understand that decision at all. It seemed to come out of left field. Why did she want to do that? Why did she think that would help? And even if she thought it would help, why did she continue after being declared active? It puzzled me all the way through the book. It was an interesting part of the story but since it seemed to have so little effect on the character or the final outcome then I have to wonder, what was the point? Maybe this will be explained later on in the series but I didn’t get what the author was trying to go for.

It used the two most cliched phrases ever- “His eyes darkened briefly.” and “I released a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding.” Authors, please please please I beg you, stop writing these things! It makes me cringe every time I see them. Really it does. Enough is enough. I am banning those phrases from the English language forever.

Much more positive than negative and I can honestly say that I couldn’t put it down. I sat on my couch and ignored the world for the entire last 130 pages, with no break. I just had to see how it would end. If nothing else tells you whether I’d recommend this book, that should.

 

 

 

Review: Meg by Steve Alten

meg Meg by Steve Alten

Published June 2nd 1997 by DoubleDay

Buy this book at B&N / Amazon / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean’s deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he’s sure he saw but still can’t prove exists – Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds. Taylor spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea. But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a hotshot female submarine pilot to dare him back into a high-tech miniature sub. Diving deeper than he ever has before, Taylor will face terror like he’s never imagined. MEG is about to surface. When she does, nothing and no one is going to be safe, and Jonas must face his greatest fear once again.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

God how I loved this book, I loved it like a fat kid loves ice cream. We have all seen a horror movie that we thought “Oh man, this is just so awful! I love it!” That’s what this book was for me, a made for tv horror movie. But that’s also what made me hesitate to give it four stars. Based on the technical merits of the writing it would probably be a three, based on the story alone maybe a two, but based on how much I absolutely adored it a five would be appropriate. So in the end a 3.5 to 4 seems most fair.

Let’s get a few things straight about this book right up front. The writing is not very inventive or clever. I counted at least 3 times that the word “entrails” was used in every single scene where the shark eats something or someone. It was a bit repetitive and not very thrilling. The plot is also highly outlandish. You might just have to turn off your disbelief switch because I don’t think just suspending it will do the trick.

Though the plot was out there, I also thought it was awesome for that exact reason. More than once I just sat there with the book in my lap laughing so hard that I couldn’t see straight as the book slowly slid its way to the floor unnoticed. I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to see what outrageous thing would happen next. It was fabulous! And the ending…oh my God the ending! Give me a minute, the giggles came back. *deep breath* Okay, I’m good now. The ending was quite possibly the silliest and most amazing thing I have ever read. I cannot even fathom how such an ending came into being. I refuse to say anything else about it because it would ruin the amazingness.

Now let’s ponder for a moment on Mr. Alten’s  theory of how the Megalodon survived the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. The book proposes that the Meg’s prey were driven to the depths of the ocean by the Ice Age and given that they are warm blooded the Meg followed and then stayed there because that’s were the prey was. And by the time they had any need or desire to return to the surface they were trapped by the colder water temperatures and so have stayed in the depths for millions of years. It’s an interesting theory but it ignores several key facts about the closest living relative of the Megalodon, the Great White shark. The White is also warm blooded, and it prefers colder waters. The White is most concentrated in areas such as northern California, off the coast of Massachusetts, the southern tip of Africa. Yes they can and do inhabit warmer waters as well, but the colder water is seemingly preferred. Since the Megalodon is considered a cousin to the White shark, why would that species be much different? There is no logical reason that the Meg would have been “trapped” by the cold layer of water between the depths and the surface. It made for an interesting theory for a book, but doesn’t make much logical sense. *blush* I’m sorry, is my nerd showing?

ENTRAILS!  Now that you’re all distracted let’s move on to characters. They were all typical of this kind of horror book, nothing new or earthshattering. I did think the love interest seemed really forced. I mean, it wasn’t necessary so why not just leave it out? Instead I was caught feeling…wait a second they were wishing death on each other not two chapters ago and now they’re planning a romantic trip for when they survive this? That was kind of weird.

This book had a nice set up for a sequel, which I do intend on reading. I recommend this book if you want to read a book that is as silly as it is tropey, but still completely awesome. I know I loved it.

The Day Satan Called by Bill Scott

daysatancalledThe Day Satan Called by Bill Scott

Published October 11th, 2011 by FaithWords

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books A Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

THE DAY SATAN CALLED is Bill Scott’s account of an excruciating 18-month period in his life. Out of Christian love he and his wife invited a young lady who was demon possessed and the member of an active satanic network into their home. They prayed the sinner’s prayer with her and believed that they could help redeem someone who had witnessed and experienced unimaginable rituals and abuses.
What happened instead were death threats and the loss of their home as a sanctuary. Voices. Threats. Objects falling and moving. Strange visitors and callers. A loving church falling into turmoil. And yes the voice of Satan. Every day was filled with the dread of nightfall. Once you’ve invited someone filled with demons that aren’t leaving her into your home what do you next? Where do you send her? How do you protect yourself and your family? What do you do after she’s finally gone but the demons haven’t left?
This is the account of a terrifying and incredible phenomenon. But ultimately, it is a testament to the power of God’s love, even over evil spirits.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

Ask anyone who knows me (including my husband) and they will tell you that I am an incredibly open minded person when it comes to the paranormal and supernatural.  I’ve always been that way but it really came home when I became a practicing Pagan over 10 years ago. But there is just one thing that I didn’t believe in as a practicing Christian or as a Pagan, Satan and demons. To me, it makes no sense in the context of Christian beliefs. God is perfect, therefore God cannot contradict himself/herself/itself. God is also all-loving and all-forgiving…but is ready to condemn billions of souls to eternal torment at the hands of Satan and his minions for not following the rules. Is it just me or does that sound like a contradiction? So, one of those things cannot be true. Either God is not perfect, not all-loving and forgiving, or there is no devil. Can’t have it both ways. I have always viewed Satan and demons as convenient inventions of the Christian establishment to scare people into behaving themselves. Yet, in spite of this belief, I was willing to be open minded about this book. And good heavens was it painful!

This book just wasn’t very good. It centers around Christian radio host Bill Scott, telling a story that happened over 20 years ago in the mid 80’s. A week before Halloween he received a phone call from a 16 year old girl named Lacey who claimed to be a prisoner of a Satanic coven and was going to be sacrificed on Halloween. She also claimed to be demon possessed. Bill talks to her for two days and then she asks him to meet her at this church in person and thus begins a year and a half long saga of trying to help this girl, who actually is a 30 something year old woman named Roxanne, apparently Lacey is one of her demons.  Let’s break this book down by good points and bad points.

Good:

1. For once the demons aren’t possessing good, faithful Christian folks. I have always posed this question to Christians who believe in demon possession, why do demons only seem interested in faithful Christians?  Surely there must be easier targets! The only answer I’ve ever gotten was that non Christians were already going to hell and so their soul was already in jeopardy, okay then whatever. But here we have a natural target for a demon, a Satanic witch who willingly invited the demons to possess her. Great!

2. Three words: Demon of Nicotine. No I’m not kidding. This made me laugh so hard! And guess what accompanies his arrival….the smell of cigarette smoke. Oh no, the giggles are coming back. This alone made me give this 2 stars instead of 1 because it was just so funny. Too bad he was trying to be serious, this would have been a great comedy.

 

Bad:

1. Signals that what you’re hearing is a bullshit story: 16 year old claims to be part of a Satanic coven and has no birth certificate to prove she ever existed. Somehow she is being held prisoner against her will but has constant access to a phone for over 48 hours and can leave the coven at any time to meet you. Another “witch” shows up to tell you that she’s been sent there to kill the 16 year old girl except…she is the same person as the 16 year old girl who never existed.

2. The author actually used this sentence, “taking home a member of the opposite sex was threatening to my wife”. Uh, I think I have a clue why your marriage didn’t go so great Bill. Maybe because you announced to your wife that without discussing it with her you were bringing home a woman who claimed to be possessed by demons, a high priestess of Satan, has participated in human sacrifice…and you insist that she’s threatening because it’s a woman. God, how condescending.

3. The book also says of itself, “The lines seemed to be coming from a bad script or a bad movie”. Yes, I agree, a very bad movie indeed.

4. There is absolutely no logic in this book at all. He invites a demon possessed woman into his house then seems stunned when a demon tells him that he was invited into his house. Um, duh! He believes that the key to defeating the demons is destroying Roxanne’s old Satanic items, commands a demon to bring the jewelry to him, is stunned to find it in his garage when he gets home.  But then he’s also equally stunned that destroying it doesn’t get rid of the demons. WHY WOULD THE DEMONS BRING YOU THE KEY TO THEIR DESTRUCTION!?

5. The author is clearly trying to convert people to Christianity, despite the fact that he claims Roxanna was a catalyst in dozens of divorces, churches falling apart, and didn’t actually manage to cure her of her demon affliction. There’s a whole chapter at the end about how to keep yourself rid of demons and living a God centered life.

6.  Everything goes Bill’s way as soon as he prays to God or Jesus. He claims that this whole period was horrific for him, but in every example in the book he prays and gets what he’s asking for. Doesn’t seem so hard to me.

7. Any and all evidence or supporting statements that Bill might have had to prove he’s not full of shit don’t exist anymore. He had recordings of the phone calls from the demons, he destroyed them. Roxanne must exist because she was able to get an apartment and numerous other people were in contact with her…all of them have been silent thus far.

8. Bill admits several times that he thinks Roxanne is mentally ill yet never once does he go to a psychiatrist or doctor for help. He self diagnoses her as Multiple Personalities and uses that as his reasoning for why the demons don’t go away, one or more of her personalities must be allowing the demons back in. The only time a mental health professional gets involved they are too scared to continue working with her….yeah because that happens all the time. Mental health professionals aren’t accustomed at all to dealing with unstable people. *insert massive eye roll here*

9. The book shows absolutely zero understanding whatsoever about what witchcraft or Satanism are. Witches do not believe in Satan, they do not believe in demons, they do not believe in hell. The first tenet of witchcraft is “and if it harm none, do what ye will.” So this rules out that witches are killing and eating babies or asking demons to possess them. I should know, I’ve been a practicing witch for over a decade. And I’m not one of those “new age, Wiccans” unlike what Bill Scott believes. Satanism is the same, I’ve never ascribed to Satanism but I’ve known a lot of people who do. Satanists don’t believe that Satan or demons exist either. They view Satan as symbolic for self indulgence, living in the now, absolute truth not filtered through dogma, kindness to deserving people not all mankind, vengeance not turning the other cheek, and that man is just an animal like any other. So Satanists do not worship Satan, they live the tenets of what Satan represents. And so a Satanist would not be harmed or frightened by Christian symbols because they view the Christian church as ridiculous nonsense that inhibits one’s life for no reason. Even the littlest understanding of witchcraft or Satanism immediately turns this book into nothing but fiction.

Okay, I’ve ranted and raved about this enough here. End note this book was laughable in its ignorance. But ultimately I was amused by how utterly cliche it was.

 

Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

mrs poe Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

Expected publication October 1st, 2013 by Gallery Books

Pre-order this book at: Books A Million / Book Depository / Amazon / B&N

 

Synopsis:

A vivid and compelling novel about a woman who becomes entangled in an affair with Edgar Allan Poe—at the same time she becomes the unwilling confidante of his much-younger wife.

It is 1845, and Frances Osgood is desperately trying to make a living as a writer in New York; not an easy task for a woman—especially one with two children and a philandering portrait painter as her husband. As Frances tries to sell her work, she finds that editors are only interested in writing similar to that of the new renegade literary sensation Edgar Allan Poe, whose poem, “The Raven” has struck a public nerve.

She meets the handsome and mysterious Poe at a literary party, and the two have an immediate connection. Poe wants Frances to meet with his wife since she claims to be an admirer of her poems, and Frances is curious to see the woman whom Edgar married.

As Frances spends more and more time with the intriguing couple, her intense attraction for Edgar brings her into dangerous territory. And Mrs. Poe, who acts like an innocent child, is actually more manipulative and threatening than she appears. As Frances and Edgar’s passionate affair escalates, Frances must decide whether she can walk away before it’s too late…

Set amidst the fascinating world of New York’s literati, this smart and sexy novel offers a unique view into the life of one of history’s most unforgettable literary figures.

 

Rating: 3 star

 

Review:

This book was an interesting read for me but not entirely what I expected. I expected to find a forbidden love story complicated by a manipulative and conniving wife. What I got was a whole lot of social repartee of the wealthy and elite of early 1900’s New York with a kind of love story and suspicions about the wife that weren’t very well proven with facts. That disappointed me but the story was still ultimately entertaining.

Frances was the main character, despite the title suggesting that Mrs. Poe plays the main role. I felt a lot of sympathy for Frances. Her husband has left her and their children destitute to philander his way across the country, forcing her to try and sell her poetry and live with a family friend. Her first connection to Edgar Poe is round about, she is told that her flowery love poems are not in style since Mr. Poe’s Raven poem but that if she manages to write something more “shivery” to come back and they’ll buy it. After that she begins something of an obsession to be his better until she meets him at a social gathering and….well, I’m not sure exactly when or why she fell in love with him but she does at some point.

Here’s my main problem with the love story in this, it is almost non-existent until the very end of the book. There were a few flirtations here and there and suddenly they’re proclaiming how much they love each other and can’t live without one another. It was strange and I didn’t completely buy into it.

I also didn’t buy into the fact that Mrs. Poe was as manipulative and conniving as Frances would have had me believe. Again, for most of the book NOTHING shady happened at all. As far as I could see Mrs. Poe was only rightly betrayed and jealous that she was so ill and some other woman is making a move on her husband. I have a feeling I’d be a little cold and pissed off too! I just couldn’t ascribe these negative intentions to her no matter how hard I tried.

The ending was interesting and not what I expected but ultimately was something of a let down too. I was hoping that either there would be dire consequences for their actions or their lives would somehow be better for having had their elicit romance. But there were no consequences at all and still their lives sucked about the same as they had before. I tried really hard to love this book because I liked the main character and it was well written and put together. But by the end I was apathetic about it, which disappointed me.