Posted in Book Reviews

Joyland

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Joyland by Stephen King, Narrated by Michael Kelly

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

Narrator Rating: 5 Stars

 

I picked up this story on Audible to listen on a work trip. My unconventional book club’s theme is to pick a book off a list/flow chart provided, and I decided, since I have never ever read a Stephen King story, I would like to get a good start somewhere.

First, this story is classified on two different genre subtypes on Goodreads, Suspense/Thriller and Coming of Age. On the flow chart provided, it was indicated as a Suspense. This is really where I want to start my review:

My expectations for Joyland were more along the line of It, and Pet Semetary. To me, that is what suspense/thriller means. However, that is not what this story was. This story is about a young college student, Devin Jones, getting a summer job at Joyland theme park in North Carolina. Devin discovers that a few years prior, there was a murder on one of the rides and no one was ever caught. He was also informed that at some point in time, he would come across two children: a girl and a boy, and of these two children one would have the “sight.” Devin Jones has his heart broken by his first love and this adventure shows him how to move on and provides life experiences that any college kid would be lucky to have. The only real suspense in the story is about a chapter, when he discovers who the Carnival Killer was. I kind of pegged this person, but really was leaning on a different character. I will let you decide who is who.

This book was wonderfully narrated. It took me a couple of hours to really get into the book as a whole, but once it got going, it was really brilliant. The story really  hits on all the feels you want in a book. My wish was that, for a classification of suspense, that there was more suspense in the book, beyond the short info at the tail end of the story.

I will read Stephen King again. I really like the versatility of King’s writings. I really enjoy discussing this book with my fellow book clubbers!

Posted in Book Reviews, YA Book Reviews

Cold Burn of Magic

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Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

I received a copy of this book at the RT Booklover’s Convention in May 2015. I was super excited to get to meet Jennifer Estep as I am a HUGE fan of her Mythos Academy series. Estep is super nice and very humble.

Cold Burn of Magic is the first in the Black Blade series. Based on the first book, I am not entirely sure what the series as a whole will be or how many books. This new series has monsters and magic, but you only ever see the pixies, loch ness, and what what magic someone may or may not carry. I do think this series carries a lot of promise and that perhaps this first book is more of prepper, getting the whole of the story ready. There was some excitement and drama, but not until the last couple of chapters. I figured out who the bad guy was pretty early on. The rest of the series will, I believe, focus around the bigger picture conflict with probably some obstacles here and there. (My guess).

I only gave it 3 stars because I felt like there could have been more. More action, more monsters, more magic, more to the story,  and more of the other characters. My hope is the next books will give me the “more” that I look for in Estep’s books! I will continue on with this story, as I said before, I believe it carries a lot of promise.

Posted in Book Reviews

In A Dark, Dark Wood

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In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, Narrated by Imogen Church

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

I have been wanting to read this book for a while, and when I discovered it was narrated by Imogen Church, I wanted to give it a go that much more. I decided to listen to the story because Church is a great narrator. I enjoyed her in Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach, so I wanted to hear her bring Ware’s novel to life. She did great for Nora.

I didn’t like Nora. Her character is whiny, and not confident. Flo was bat shit crazy, Nina was funny, Tom was not memorable, and then we have Clare. The one who knows all the secrets. Nina and Nora’s friend in school, Nora split ways when she was 16 after a bad break up, which, during Clare’s bachelorette weekend, after not seeing Clare in 10 years, Nora finds out Clare is marrying Nora’s high school sweetheart. The start of a great weekend away yes?

The bachelorette weekend is taking place in the middle of nowhere, in a glass-ish cottage where there is no cell phone service at all. (Because THAT isn’t a bit of foretelling, is it?) Flo goes absolutely crazy through the weekend trying to make sure everything is perfect, but it’s not is it? Because someone gets murdered. And then we end up to the beginning of the book where Nora is trying to figure out and regain her memories about what happened that night.

The book goes back and forth: from the happenings of the weekends and back to Nora in the hospital. Ultimately, I wished this story was more than what it was. I felt like I was robbed from great potential. This story could have gone so many different ways, the end was a bit of a let down. I can, however, say that Imogen Church narrates this role amazingly. Church is made to voice this type of character and story.

Posted in Book Reviews

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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Goodreads Rating: 2.5 stars

Narrator Rating: 4 stars

 

I was suggested to read this book by my boyfriend’s sister, in time for the movie. I want to first point out, I am not a fan of the writing style of the time period, and I have never really been a fan of Jane Austen. I do not even enjoy watching movies her books are based off of. However, I gave this a good shot. And I didn’t care for it.

My low rating is simply because I did not care for it. It did not wow me. But, I admit, it is because, as I said, I do not like Austen style books. So. This rating is skewed in that regards.

I did like the narrator. I think that is the only reason I  kept listening. She made it enjoyable. I was a fan of Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter so I was looking forward to the style. I think that his ability to blend in his story in the Austen style was good, so my rating isn’t necessarily because of him. He did a good job. I just didn’t like the overall story of Austen’s.

Posted in Book Reviews

The Wave

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The Wave by Todd Strasser

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

 

This book is boringly written, but has a great message. It is about a high school social studies teacher that, in order to get his students to understand the Nazi party and Holocaust, creates a social experiment called The Wave. A motto is created, rules are created, members are identified as “monitors” so that enforcement of The Wave’s ideals are upheld, and even a salute is created.

The Wave takes off like wildfire with the Seniors in the class, and they begin telling others about it. Then over 200 hundred students in the school become involved. People who resist, well, let’s just say, some members strongly discourage. One Jewish student got beaten up by members, friendships were destroyed, and those on the outside and saw The Wave for what it was, they became fearful to speak out or move against The Wave.

The movement moved as one pack. A few students broke free and saw what it was doing. One student even attempted to push through and show others in the movement what was really happening.

The Wave moved towards equality. Finally, everyone felt equal to each other. The cliques disappeared. Those who lived in shadows or constantly teased, were a part of a group.

I think, experiments like The Wave and the Stanford Prison Experiment, are beneficial to society. It shows how impressionable humans are in their adaptability to something bigger than themselves. Some individuals, not because they are weak minded, need to answer to something greater to themselves. You find this in religion, in politics, in group/clique settings. We are pack animals. We need to belong. Do I agree with this structure? No. I am appalled that the Holocaust even occurred. Do I believe I would have stood out? I would like to say yes, because I always stand against what I believe is harmful, but you never know. There were some stronger characters in this book, but only some learned AFTER they hurt someone they cared about.

This is a book I think my high school should have read at some point. I am not sure why it didn’t. I still feel kind of weird about what I read, and how to process these feelings. I wish the writing wasn’t so dry and that I could have been sucked into it, but I felt myself forcing through, just trying to get to how the experiment ended. I think the ending was too abrupt as a reader, and I am not sure if that would really work to end this kind of experiment. I may need to do some research on what happened to the kids AFTER the fact. Those who participated in the Stanford Prison Experiment were never the same, they were all effected by the roles that they were given and getting into those roles.

Posted in Book Reviews

The Devil’s Rose- Mount TBR Challenge

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The Devil’s Rose by Brom

Goodreads: 5 stars

 

As I was finally finishing this story, I showed my boyfriend some of the pictures and told him what this story was about. He asked me who it was by and I said Brom. He asked, “that’s his name?”…Yes. Brom is amazing enough to just go by 1 name. He does not need a full name.

Is there an author that no matter what they publish, you will grab a copy and read it? Brom is one of those authors for me. I managed to snag a copy of this book, this is his second illustrated novel, on Amazon. They seem to be really hard to come by. I love Brom, my favorite is The Child Thief, a Gothic, dark retelling of Peter Pan. He has another novel coming out this year, which I am extremely excited about.

The Devil’s Rose is a “short” story, only roughly 128 pages but jam packed with a beginning, middle, and end. The gorgeous Gothic art makes it that much more enjoyable. I always try to get people to read Brom, I share his posts on Facebook, if his books are on sale for Kindle (Though I suggest getting the actual hard copy).

This story is a western Hell story, so if you have delicate sensibilities or do not want to read “Devil” stories, then this book is not for you. It mixes Western with Underworld. Cole is sent by a Fire Demon to catch Rath and several souls that managed to escape Hell to bring them back. Cole is a soul catcher, and when he does the Devil’s bidding, it is considered time served and eventually he hopes to be able to find the soul of his beloved in the afterlife.

Here are some images from the book which I have collected from Brom’s website (Here)

 

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Cole, the Soul Catcher, former Texas Ranger who was shot down by deputy during a tirade at the Church when his beloved Rose killed herself. He collects souls that have escaped Hell.

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Rath. The god that escaped Hell with a few other souls at the beginning of the story.

“‘I burned their churches, crucified their priest, raped their women, and fed their children to our beasts.’ He said this as though describing nothing more than a holiday table setting.”

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One of the guardian demons in Hell.

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Escaped demons that took over the flesh of some living humans that were camping.

Posted in Book Reviews

Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors- Mount TBR Challenge

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Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors by Molly Harper, Narrated by Amanda Ronconi

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

 

The final installment of the Jane Jameson series. It has come at last.  My mother has been urging me to finish out the series since I got her hooked on the first book. It took me a year to finish out the series. A year. And now, I find myself sad.

I think this series closed in the best way it could have. It ended like it should have. Sure, there are some things I am still curious about, and I think there needs to be SOMETHING to update later on how this raucous bunch of supernatural beings are doing.

I am not really sure where to begin with this review. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me happy, and ultimately it has made me sad. I do wish a bit more was indulged with the whole Ray incident. And I think how Jamie became a vampire was a bit downplayed or could have been written better. It felt like it was almost just kind of thrown in at the end to give it a little punch but there was no substance in the punch and it kind of leaves you hanging.

Overall, I highly suggest giving this series a listen. It has everything you want in a supernatural romance book but not the hot, steamy, smut. Jane is almost a prude when it comes to sex, so the scenes are pretty calm (and less frequent) compared to what I normally read or listen to in the romance genre.