Sunday, December 23, 2012

Review: X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking

X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking
X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking by Jeff Gordinier

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book started off being funny and relate-able in the first chapter. That chapter could not stop talking about Nirvana so it's not too secret to me why I enjoyed it so much. You know when you're reading something or talking with someone and it's like everything they say, you have that in common? That wonderful feeling of belonging? That is how this started off. It's like a book-end of goodness with this book. The first and last chapter were my favorite. It got lost in the middle of the book into something I can only describe as an episode of Seinfield. It was a book about absolutely nothing. But not as funny. More like a WTF moment. Then the last chapter arrived and it was getting good again until it dropped off the cliff towards the end.

Overall, not too bad of a read. It really gets lost lost in the middle and the author seems like he's rambling off words about things that have no cohesive bond to the subject or what he started off about. It was a fast read, I read it in one evening so there's not a lot of time investment to check it out.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review: French Girl Knits Accessories: Modern Designs for a Beautiful Life

French Girl Knits Accessories: Modern Designs for a Beautiful Life
French Girl Knits Accessories: Modern Designs for a Beautiful Life by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really adore this book. I got it from the library but plan on buying a copy. Not only are the patterns lovely, the book itself is enjoyable to flip through, thinking about what to knit and how it might look, and planning out a project. The author writes beautiful little stories about each pattern and how she came upon the inspiration, which I loved reading. She makes me feel happy, comfortable, and inspired with each page. Definitely will add to my permanent collection. It also makes me feel like planning a quick trip to France, no doubt about that.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: Folk Hats

Folk Hats
Folk Hats by Vicki Square

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I love folk everything. But not this... For me, the patterns were far too cheesy and just far flung. They missed the mark of whimsical and jumped off the clip of ridiculous. They are the type of things that are cool in their original manner, but not in knit. It just ruins the history of them and looks like something your crazy Aunt Betty might make you. It could only be worse, if they had been translated into crochet, which would pour on the cheese sauce a great deal more.

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Review: THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY: The Complete Screenplays with Storyboards

THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY: The Complete Screenplays with Storyboards
THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY: The Complete Screenplays with Storyboards by Christopher Nolan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review posted at:,,,

I'm amazed. Honestly, I never would have described myself as a "true fan" of Batman stories. I know The Dark Knight is a bit of different take on it. It's darker, it's grittier, it's, well, more interesting. I was not let down with this book here at all. This is actually the screenplays for the movies, with a little bit of the storyboards at the end of each. Totally unique read.

I was drawn into the story at once. It's a very quick read since it's a screenplay it doesn't take long to get through it. The screenplay aspect was a little distracting with scene direction and character labeling, but it didn't slow me down much.

Bruce Wayne is a fascinating character, and these movies are very well-written. There is action to make it interesting, but the dialogue is really great. That overtone of the darkness in these stories isn't depressing, but it makes it pressing instead. Pressing you to flip the page and absorb what he is going through. The forward-moving tone of the stories makes it something you don't want to put down. I really enjoyed these screenplays, and loved the concept of being able to read through them. If you've seen the movies, you can see them playing out in your head as you read through.

Well-written, and fast-paced to the end, I loved these stories.

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Review: Frozen

Frozen by Mary Casanova

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review also posted at:,,

I was immediately drawn into this story. It begins with a girl who has witnessed something traumatic, but as readers, we don't quite know yet what it was exactly. As the story builds, it's very easy to figure out what happened, but it's the why that is yet to unfold. What she saw, precisely, that left her unable to speak.

This story really did get me interested in the beginning. It's very easy to read and I read nearly half of it in one sitting. Around the halfway mark, I felt that it slowed down. There wasn't too much happening with Sadie Rose and her story other than descriptions of what she was doing on a day-to-day basis. I still wanted to know what happened, but not enough to keep reading for too long at a time. The pacing did pick up again, and that kept me going to the end. I wanted to really love this book, because the premise was there, but it only ended up being warm to me.

Overall, it is an interesting and somewhat of a unique read. The story takes place in the 20's, which is what first piqued my interest, and then of course, wondering what happens to make this little girl unable to speak. It is a fairly fast-read, and a good story/concept. The mystery of all of this, and her coming-of-age, not only in typical fashion, but in coming out of a childhood trauma, is a great aspect of this book.

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Review: Lucretia and the Kroons

Lucretia and the Kroons
Lucretia and the Kroons by Victor LaValle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was sent an invite from Random House to download a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.

This book is fairly fast-paced and drew me right in. I sped through reading it, and it's a quick-read due to writing style, intrigue, and novella length.

I found it to be enjoyable, and perfect for something quick and easy to read. The story isn't very graphic, and I'm not sure what the age group is for it, but I'm guessing perhaps a teen book.

The main character is 12 years old, and is attempting to cope with her best friend who is dying from cancer. It is an interesting look into a middle-schooler's life in Queens NY. It's not written too seriously, so you can tell it's going to be a bit odd, once you get going with it. All in all, it's a rather bizarre tale, that makes sense at the end once you realize that her trip down the rabbit hole is due to Lucretia's mental illness.

I felt that the ending describing her mental illness as the cause of this weird journey to an alternate world from apartment 6A, could have been much longer, and told much more of a story. I got a little distracted by all the action happening once Lucretia entered the alternate world park. Some parts were hard for me to visualize, and it seemed long in comparison to the more interesting part of WHY she was having this journey. A bigger focus on her mental illness would have been more intriguing to me, but it wasn't the focus of this story. Lucretia meeting these mysterious Kroons was the focus.

After getting to the end, I was happy to find out that there was a reason for her suddenly screaming "Whores!" at her friends and sending them away, her dressing up like a 6 year old at her 12 year old birthday party, and her general oddity. Exploring this aspect in more detail, even in a short story, would have been awesome, in my opinion.

Something that bothered me, besides the too-quick wrap-up at the end of the story, was her alternate world imaginings being explained as being bipolar. It sounds more like schizophrenia to me, but I'm not an expert. I just think it sounds a little off as a reason for her behavior, and it's always hard for me to buy into a story that seems like it has facts that don't match up.

Overall, it was a good read. The author has a great imagination, and it was well-written. I could see this as an episode of Twilight Zone or some odd mini-series. Kind of gave me that early Stephen King feeling.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: Witch Child

Witch Child
Witch Child by Celia Rees

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really appreciated this from a historical viewpoint, since the story behind this novel was what drew me in. It was taken from a quilt that was found, with pages, folded up, inside each square of this quilt. It was an amazing find, and no known record of the author of this journal, Mary Newberry, can be found. She came from England, where her grandmother was hanged for witchcraft, to the New World, to start a new life. A life that would be free from persecution. Well, that would have been the nice way it could have happened.

She instead found herself aboard ship with a very puritanical group that was following their leader and the first settlers that had come to this New World. Overtly strict, absolutely unforgiving, and yet, she needed to attempt to fit in with them so she could make her way somehow, in this new place.

I really did end up liking this story. It was a bit slow at first, but I realized it was the story of a girl of 14 that was actually just going through this life. Daily. I have always loved reading old journals, diaries, from people. They are getting harder and harder to come by also, so any novel of actual regular old life is quite wonderful. It gets much more interesting as she comes to the New World and settles in Beulah.

This story is so easy to relate to, and so typical in what we know of these religious zealots that found the devil in every spot they wanted to find it, persecuting and killing anyone that didn't fit their impossible and mad rules. What a frightening world. Not much of refuge for those that sought freedom, but it is the history of America's founding. Her story, speaks out and tells us of one girls simple journey. From England to Beulah, New England. A very easy and enjoyable read. I would rate it as one for middle-school aged kids, but can be appreciated by all that are interested.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh.... where do I begin? I'm trying to write down my thoughts before starting on the next book, because honestly, I've been reading them consecutively and it's far too easy to lose track of where one ends and one begins. Especially with also watching Game of Thrones on TV which is nearly like a parallel universe to Song of Fire & Ice in many ways. That said, I'm going to write down my thoughts now, after finishing Storm of Swords before I get any further into Feast for Crows.

I love these stories, I will say that. There is some odd and magical quality that Martin has with writing, that makes them so enticing, yet so normal and honestly simple as well. His characters come to life in my head and I WANT to read to see what happens next. I didn't want to put this book down. Book 1 was a little dull at first when I read it, for reasons of how he writes, he just jumps right into it with one character and then promptly closes that chapter and moves to another character, on and on until the end. This made book 1 hard to get into, but about halfway down, I was. Into it. Book 2 I loved. Love it, it was beautifully written, and I could wait for book 3. Here is where we are right now then.

I feel a difference in the manner in which book 3 moves, from the first two. I feel it's transitional from the years of time between them. Authors grow, concepts adapt, and yet it flows completely still. Damn magic. Largest difference right off hand is the utter lack of the words "cock" and "fuck". You could hardly go a chapter without the characters saying them a dozen times. Seems silly maybe, but the language of the characters even evolved, which shows the authors evolution as changing as well. This story gets even deeper and more involved than they have before. Some chapters were very dark, and much of a downer in contrast to the euphoria of triumph other chapters inspired. So, so, much happens in this book, in relation to the movement of these characters lives. It's all very unexpected and that is what makes it great.

There are parts to this story that made me nearly whoop out loud, like a chapter with Daenerys in which I was enthralled with her. This was an important part of coming to appreciate her as before, I wasn't too into her in book 2. Martin does not spare any character death. They could seem as though the main character, sure to live on, and always come through, and before you know it, they get killed off in the most unceremonious manner. This might piss off a few people, but I'm learning to roll with it. What makes Martin's writing lovable is that he is not predictable. You never know what's going to happen. When you have read scores of the fantasy genre and generally know there will be strife, there will be battle, then the hero/heroine will surely come through and live to get it all in the end, even through the struggle.... well, you won't really find it here. Not exactly like that. What you will find is a masterful story, well-written characters (even when he barely sketches them out you absolutely can be shocked they die, they seemed so full yet..) and a plot that is so windy and full of intrigue that even the jaded reader should find something of interest here.

I find myself not being very happy with how some characters roles play out, because as a reader, I suppose I have to admit I've been trained by fiction writers to EXPECT certain outcomes in the story. I haven't found them here, the bad guys win, the good guys die, the bad guys lose, the good guys win. It's all a guess to me as a reader. THAT'S what makes me pick the book up again. Just like life, I realize that it's not always what I expected, and it may seem blunt or unexpected at first, but then, that's what makes it such a good ride. Not knowing and learning a new story, with new plots, new twists, and entrancing writing to keep me picking it up. In the end, I'm more pleased with the outcome as it were than if it was how I might have thought it might happen. And because it's a Song of Fire & Ice, you do never know which character might be decidedly mortal, and which might be completely immortal for no known reason (as of yet exactly) to be sure. Never have I read an author who mixes the slightly magical with the down-to-earth story so that I never have to suspend my disbelief at all, it's just there. I already do believe. Besides that, his prose is wonderful to read, and he written an epic saga worth enjoying. Highly recommended for fantasy fans.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review: Deadlocked

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, there is a lot to process in this story... the direction of the characters is drastically different from what they were doing, say 7 book ago. You can say that's life though, and this is completely normal to evolve and change.

I feel like so many people are disappointed in the direction of the story because it's no longer that happy little light and sassy book you could pick up and read, expecting laughter, tons of sex, lots of blood and crazy shit every chapter. In many regards it reminds me of some of her other series in the mood of the book. Although....

Be prepared that this story is moodier and sadder than any of the other Sookie Stackhouse mysteries. It's grown up a lot, well, Sookie has grown up. She's been through an amazing number of outlandish adventures, and has had some very tough relationship issues. Heartbreak, friends & family dying, and it's bound to affect a person.

I just finished this story, and I'm left feeling really sad. Sookie's got such relationship troubles, not the usual funny kind she used to have. Just... it's sad how her and Eric aren't even really talking anymore. To show how different these stories are from before, there was not one time that Sookie or anyone that I can think of had sex in this book. Now, from the other stories, that's practically shocking. I can see how some of the fans are disappointed. This more serious and meaningful story maybe wasn't what they were anticipating. Some people read to escape, and to dream of what they wish they could do or have in life, not to see the struggles and pain others go through. This book may not end up being for everyone who was a longtime fan in that regard.

I can't wait to read the next installment. I'm happy with the direction that Charlaine Harris has taken her characters. I want to know what happens after Sam and Sookie got home, and what's going on with the Queen of Oklahoma and what the hell is going to happen to all of these people. I've been reading about them for so long, I care about what they're going through, and where they are going to end up. One thing I always like is that I can relate to what Sookie goes through or feels. There's a brevity to her pain this time, it used to be more of a joke in the sarcastic way it was portrayed. Now you actually really can feel more of her pain, and that might just not feel funny anymore, but it's a great way to bring a character to life and make you see how things affect people instead of just laughing and assuming they can just keep amusing you.

There are major steps in the characters lives, but I don't want to go into it and reveal parts of the story in a spoiler. But there is a lot happening, and I feel like this book is a bit of a transition to the next aspect of the residents of Bon Temps.

I'll be honest though, when I first started reading, I was feeling a little drab mood from the book. I was waiting for all the excitement that always used to jump out of a Sookie book. Then I started to think about how many books there are, this is book #12. How long can one character believably just have crazy shit happen and never move onto something else? Without the series just becoming an entire joke? Look as what the HBO series did to the story. They took it and made it outlandish with absurd shit that didn't even happen anywhere in the books.

As an author, would I want to keep writing stories that just end up being taken so lightly? Maybe it was time for the characters to evolve, grow up, and move on? Maybe it was time for me to reset my thinking to neutral for this story. So I could enjoy it, stop judging it and trying to compare it to what Sookie books used to be. I decided to evolve with it. I ended up really really liking it. The writing is great, she's even improved upon not repeating everything the characters used to do and reminding readers about it. That was a little peeve of mine in some of the books around book #8. Her writing is tight, the story and plot are there, and I'm looking forward to book #13.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor
The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review posted at: The Owl Review, Amazon, & Goodreads.

I was looking forward to starting this book, since I've read all of the graphic novels/comics up until this point. I was eager to learn the backstory to the Governor; the horrible, twisted ruler of the dystopian establishment of Woodbury.

Getting started in reading this, the pace moved slowly. I was hoping it would pick up, but it's a very slow-reading book the entire way through. This is part of why it only gains 3 stars in my review. I just couldn't find myself being drawn into the story, except for a few instances where it started to get a lot of action going on and become interesting.

The build-up to the big end reveal is slow. You will find out how the Governor was born at the very end, and there really isn't much I can say at this point without giving away the entire point of the story. I will say that all of the way through the book I kept thinking to myself, "This isn't the kind of trauma that would give rise to creating such a monster like Philip Blake became." If you look at the people directly around him, you see they are going through all the same things and yet aren't driven to the same end. Is this difference of personality? Difference of ability to cope and adapt instead of harden and crack. It absolutely is, however, just not exactly in the way that you would initially think.

I don't like to recap the story and type out a synapsis for my reviews. That's what the back of the book, or the description on the online pages are for. I like to share with others how the book made me feel; what I liked about it, or what I didn't like. I don't think readers want to read 50 different recaps of the same story, since that doesn't give them insight into how it moves you, or how it read. I will say this, the story is good if you are invested in The Walking Dead story line already. As a standalone story, this would probably be pretty boring and not mean much to you if you aren't interested in learning what made the Governor become the person he is.

I'm not sure the author is skilled at writing novels. As a graphic novel, this would probably work fine, as most of the story is bogged down with unnecessary descriptions and information that doesn't push the plot forward, it just stalls. At times I wasn't sure if the author knew what he wanted the story to do or he was just writing as he tried to figure it out. It read a bit like trying to come up with a story when you didn't have the concept to begin with, you just knew maybe where you wanted it to end up, or the readers wanted to know the backstory and now you have to make one up. This would have worked excellent as a short story under 100 pages instead of 300 pages. I had to slog through it, and push myself forward.

I am a fan of the AMC show, The Walking Dead, as well as a reader of the graphic novels/comics. I am unsure at this point if I'd want to read the next book in this series, but for informational purposes I possibly will. We'll just have to see.

One final note: I know there's been much talk about how this should've been more aptly titled "The Birth of the Governor", but come on, it's a zombie book... even though "birth" would have been more fitting, "rise" is definitely more in tune with the zombie lingo.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1

The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1
The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review also posted at The Owl Review

This book contains issues 1-48. As of this review (4/2012), issue #96 was just released.

Oh wow, was this fun and fast reading! I've never been much of a fan of graphic novels per se (with a brief obsession with reading Spawn years ago), but this one hooked me in.

My husband and I are fans of the AMC show, The Walking Dead. Little did I know that there was a graphic novel, until my husband picked it up. This tome must have weighed at least 15 lbs, and was not the most comfortable book to read in bed, mind you... but nonetheless, I persevered and instead tried to spend most of my time sitting comfortably on the couch to read through this.

This was pure reading candy for me. It's not the happiest of tales. Not by any means. However, zombie tales which emerged out of Haitian culture, our slave culture, and our early Voodoo days down south, are always so easy to immerse ourselves in aren't they? Well, I can at least speak for myself and say they are.

This one doesn't disappoint. It's a well-woven, and so easy to believe story of our anti-hero Rick, who wakes up out of a coma, in his hospital bed. After visions of his best friend and fellow police officer, Shane, visiting him, he realizes that time has elapsed. He's weak with a not-quite-healed gunshot wound, and the hospital is disturbingly deserted, trashed, and soon he finds rows and rows of the dead, after escaping a room full of decaying people...which he learns are zombies. Roamers they are later coined in the book by Ricks group.

Rick meets up with his wife Lori, son Carl, friend Shane, and some other members that decided to stick together as they camp out nearby Atlanta. Each one is forced to come head-to-head with their current reality, and wonder if there will be any rescue attempts, and who else is still alive in the world. Roamers are everywhere, and no one feels safe. Gunshots to the head kill them, but noise draws their attention to your location.

You never know which character, no matter how important they seem, will be killed off, tragically, or just randomly. No one is safe in The Walking Dead, and characters are constantly battling for their lives, some semblance of civility, and often times their sanity.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Review: Sh*t My Dad Says

Sh*t My Dad Says
Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had forgotten I picked this up and read it last month, since it's not a typical book. It's comprised of twitter snips and expansions of those twitter snips into tiny chapters that give more background to the punch line involved.

The premise of this book comes from our amazing age where you can easily publish thoughts on media sites like Twitter, and accidentally, you get a signing for a book contract. The book itself is readable in about a couple of hours max - get it from the library unless you want to keep it on the coffee table to amuse your company (depends on your company). It's easy to flip through, and skim to the main "jokes". Justin's Dad, whom all the quotes are based upon was smart, blunt, and funny, even if his mindset is antiquated, and a little sexist.

I started reading this on the way to McMenamin's Grand Lodge and made it through all of the Twitter feed snippets and a couple of the chapters, which would have been no more than maybe 30 minutes? Reading this aloud, I admit I had tears of laughter as I tried not to ruin the point of the sh*t Justins dad said. I had all my kids in the car with me, so I had to either skip a few, or change some words to make it PG. My older boys thought this book was hilarious, yes, lots of dumb-guy-bad-language-bathroom-humor going on in this book, and I had to stop them from trying to read it themselves lest they come across the completely inappropriate sexual content (for kids).

So, it's a simple and funny book. I got it originally because I thought my husband might enjoy it, but after our read-aloud in the car, it had pretty much covered the majority of the book and that, was all they wrote. There are some slightly profound theories in there that his father had, hidden underneath all that sarcasm and bad language though. There are even a couple of heartfelt, rare, moment he shared with his son, passing on life lessons he hoped his son could avoid. You can tell, that beneath his fathers blunt exterior, he really did want the best for his kids, and wanted them to be happy, and just make good choices.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: Promise Me Eternity

Promise Me Eternity
Promise Me Eternity by Ian Fox

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Review posted at: The Owl Review

I was asked by the author to review this book for him and received a Kindle copy. This book starts off introducing the character Simon, Dr. Patterson, who is alone on a highway and is telling himself he must kill Carlo for Christine. Then it cuts to earlier in time and the story begins with the introduction of the character Simon.

Simon is a heart surgeon but is attempting to find a vaccine that creates eternal life. He spends all of his free time at home hiding from his wife in his basement, where he is transfixed on his test rabbit Dorothy, and this vaccine. The premise alone of this vaccine to prevent and stop aging is incredulous at best, but the story itself is told like a daytime soap opera. I had a very hard time taking the characters seriously or becoming interested in their plights because it felt like the story was told by a teenager who was attempting at speaking like an adult. It overall, felt a little bit cheesy.

I was beginning to feel like the author had an immense dislike for women as they were all bitter, nagging, obsessed with money, and ready to cheat on their husbands and partners. Then I realized that every character acted this way in the book. It seemed a bit silly as they were all obsessed with money, and all the women (except his wife) was attracted to Simon for no real reason. The women really did just want money, in fact, the character Christine is the book explained to Simon
"Women are crazier about money than men are. That's one of our problems." Apparently in the world of Promise me Eternity, they truly are.

It had a basic plot of Simon wanting to create his vaccine, and then solving why Simon was trying to kill Carlo on the opening chapter. The medical aspect of the story and the science behind a vaccine to "cure" aging isn't sound, but the story is told with the desire for the reader to take this all seriously, but unfortunately in a manner that expects us to take everything at face value. The plot line wasn't very strong, and the characters were all very flat with no description that created images in your head, or writing that brought them to life. Most of the women were described like this, "She was beautiful, with long flowing hair." One character wanted to win her husband back so she went and got a complete plastic surgery overhaul, face, body, fake breasts, as well as eye surgery so she could get rid of her "hideous glasses". She then started dressing in really tight revealing clothing, grew her hair out, got a perm so it wasn't straight (because short or straight hair is universally accepted, as well as normal bodies and wearing glasses... as ugly right?) and then snagged that doctor of a husband back. He left his pregnant girlfriend just to be with his wife since she was finally pretty. It was just ridiculous, and I could only imagine an over-sexed juvenile thinking this way. Overall, the descriptives were not detailed and focused on the story, many were just superficial, as were the actions of the characters themselves.

I found myself having difficulty in wanting to finish reading the story, and could not take the story seriously. In a few instances, the research was not sound. The story took place in Medford Oregon, and I've lived in Oregon for about 15 years, and have never heard of the beach town "Golden Beach", the nearest beach of a similar name is "Gold Beach" on the southern coast so I can only assume the author did not research this item, or stating that Medford is about an hour away from the beach, when it is about 3.5 hours from the coast because you cannot travel through the National Forest. These details make a story even more difficult to believe in, and is necessary for a writer to be taken seriously -- especially when the story is already as shallow as a soap opera. I would guess that since the author is foreign, writing about America normally can be a little bit inaccurate if the readers are unfamiliar with the areas.

Another aspect that I didn't understand was how the character Anita, being visibly pregnant - it wasn't described in the book as to what term she was in, or when she was due, or any other details like that, but, she was out drinking publicly in a restaurant and then fell asleep right away at home. This seemed weird since it's not common for American women to behave this way nor is it socially acceptable, regardless of what a womans preference is regarding drinking while pregnant, it's commonly accepted to be taboo. The author described it as though it was a normal thing for a pregnant lady to do. However, a little bit later in the chapter her boyfriend comes home and finds her drinking wine and demands to know why she's drinking while pregnant as though it suddenly is completely unacceptable. That made no sense in relation to her drinking at the restaurant.

I did not enjoy this book because of it's superficial characters and shallow attitudes. It lacked needed descriptions and rich dialogue and details. Characters would be described like, "he lamented on this fact for ten minutes then went upstairs." I found there to be lacking details such as characters features, and behaviors, beyond soap opera sterotypes. In some cases it had details that weren't necessary to the story at all, like Edna, his housekeeper, having a whole chapter to describe her outside with her dog thinking what a wonderful person Simon was and how he couldn't have killed his wife. We already can see that Edna is clearly, and without any given reason, obsessed with Simon and thinks he is amazing. In other regards, there were points where the story wrapped things up without much ado at all.

I am confounded that the author describes that "enthusiastic readers write to him saying they can't put his books down and read them in a few days", as well as "Individual libraries have ranked his works among the top ten, sometimes even the top five most-borrowed books." I am perplexed, given that the books are ranked with less than 3 star rating overall. I just didn't feel that there was a caliber of writing involved in this story that shows a top-five book, or a book that will be enjoyed by those seeking a believable and quality novel.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Review: Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Twisted. The writing in this book is sharp, much like the point of the story. It's gritty, and blunt, but avoids being vulgar... somehow. I had to keep reminding myself that a female wrote this and that the main character was female as well. Odd I know, but it just sounded so.... male.

Stephen King said that "(I) found myself dreading the last thirty pages or so but was helpless to stop turning them." I wouldn't say I was dreading them, more like wanting to keep reading to find out exactly what happened; it was definitely a page-turner for me, and especially towards the end.

For an authors debut novel, this is pretty good. It is likely to not appeal to all, as the subject matter and characters are pretty damn dysfunctional. As you start reading this, you may not really realize something is quite wrong with Camille, but you definitely begin to see she has her issues. She drinks way too much, behaves like a rough, and withdrawn male detective, even though she's a reporter, that's just the type of image that comes to my mind. She makes a lot of really bad choices, but as you learn more about her past, I really could see why in the hell she's so damn messed up. She's come back to her small town, Wind Gap, to cover the story of the second of young girls that have gone missing. One was found dead the previous year and one is just still missing.

As we go along with Camille on her journey to her home town, we are taken on a voyeuristic jaunt with her as she begins to succumb to her mamma's odd, cold, and twisted style of mothering. This time, as an adult.

Really, it's a great read that takes you into the messed-up minds of a family that looks so perfect from the outside and functions so so wrong inside. They live in the familys' Victorian mansion, and completely run the town, so no one questions anything they do really. I get the sense that people know what's really going on, at least to some degree, but there's too much denial going around for anyone to actually deal with anything. Not to mention all the wealthy, bored housewives are too drunk, and popping too many pills to even question how many backs they keep stabbing. There is such a thin grasp on what's actually acceptable and unacceptable in their realities that most of what wrong was done, they just don't even realize it's not how humans are supposed to behave or be treated.

It's a stark and pointed story. It has a great set-up and the plot kept me reading because I really did want to watch it unfold. It was a fast-read for me, it took about a day to finish. It didn't leave me feeling happy and warm, but I didn't find it repulsively disturbing. Just very very wrong, but absolutely tolerable. Sometimes books come along that you really just don't want to keep reading because they're too much. This never went off the edge for me, but was teetering enough that I was intrigued to discover the pathology of these small-town, ridiculously wealthy, disturbed people. In the end, it becomes the healing path for Camille as her entire childhood finally unfolds and she learns the truth.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm going to give this a try, after seeing it pop up on at least two Powell's Books top 5 lists. I initially had dismissed it from the bad reviews on here, but now considering since fellow Portlanders like it. Portland's weird, so who knows? Maybe I will like it. Maybe I won't. But now I'm going to find out for myself. Well, if I ever make it through the library wait list. Still a little wary of the circus aspect. However, I don't like tales regarding anything marine, and I ended up loving Drowned Wednesday.


A circus has a weird place in my mind. It's a colorful, brightly obnoxious, cruel place for animals and circus folk alike. It's loud, and sticky, it's in my face, it's over-priced, and under-thrilling. I'm not a fan of the circus. There is also the newer, beautiful, artistic, eye-candy circuses. Beautiful, interesting, but too costly for my taste. This story, has made me see the circus in a third light. A different and much more enjoyable view than I've ever had regarding circus life or circus folk than I've thought I would dream of. Although it eventually drew me into this world of black, white, night times, magicians, and interesting folk, I do not think it became real enough to convince me that I might want to live through this fairy tale.

I had a little trouble getting into this story initially. Partially, I really disliked how cold and bland the characters felt at first. The heartless-ness of Celia's father, and how joyless she was. After reading for a little while further, I realized that while the prose is beautiful and very enjoyable to read, the characters and the writing itself is not very emotional. It made them seem like little paper people that were having odd and unusual lives. This is actually much how they appeared to me during reading the story, so that was fun but also a bit bizarre really, in itself.

There were lots and may I say, lots, of descriptives and even unnecessary little one-page random descriptives that appeared to be completely unrelated to the story, in the book, just to add to the bleakly whimsical aspect of this novel. It was beautifully covered in striking art and solid black pages and striped, and that certainly will stand out to many readers as they pick up this lovely-looking black & white little (kinda normal sized actually) book. All of this will make for a very quirky and unusual ride for many readers, and it may be these odd qualities that endear it to those readers as well.

For me, I felt it was lacking of much plot, but I did enjoy reading it just the same. Honestly, that's curious right there. Enjoyed, but didn't love. It was of course, a game. A contest between two students to prove whose teaching methods were superior. The stage was the circus, and the players were doing their best along with all of the unknowing pawns (casualties). I did not connect to the characters however, and as much descriptives that were in the book, it was all just too disconnected in emotion to be able to leap through the pages and find an identifiable place in my heart and mind.

It is an interesting tale, that will end up being usually a love it or hate it type of book. I found that I just did not care too much what happened to the characters in this tale, but the words were beautiful, if not lacking much compassion, along the way. For that, I did finish this novel.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Review: The Wolf Gift

The Wolf Gift
The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Minor note: The cover.... what the hell is going on with it? When I brought it home I teased with my husband that it looked like one of those self-published covers that has a generic picture and solid block coloring and a title. Plus, the wolf pictured on the cover doesn't jive with how the Man Wolves are described in her story. They are clearly described as maintaining their own distinct human eyes which makes them very shockingly not like regular wolves. Just confused why that wouldn't be more important since the cover should correlate to the actual novel's descriptions. Okay, now the review....

I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book, given it's mixed reviews. Maybe a little more slanted towards the negative, in actuality. I was going into it with an open mind, and hoping that it delivered that Anne Rice I was fell in love with reading years ago.

Some stories drag you away slowly from your everyday life, they capture your dreams and ideals of a perfect world, in which you can feel the emotion and atmosphere flowing out of the story and into your own head. You become one with the book, and you don't want to put it down because it feels too good to not live inside it's own little world. I started feeling like this when I picked up the book, but sadly, as I read on, I just started feeling like I was not inside the story, but outside, reading about one's perfect, and completely unrealistic fairy tale. A great book brings you in, and suspends any disbelief you may have about the situations, like feeling that it's completely logical to expect to meet vampires, or werewolves along your city or forest travels.

Some aspects that immediately made it a bit harder for me to get invested in this story is that it's hard, for me, to relate to a 23 year old guy named Reuben that drives a Porche and has trust funds, and is immediately contemplating purchasing an immensely stately mansion. He grew up in a great house in San Francisco with a scatterbrained professor of a father, and a determined surgeon of a mother. Can everyone else relate to that? Well, maybe if the characters are written very well and you are forced to relate to them because you cannot not become involved with them.

I loved the concept of the werewolves in this story. I just didn't feel like I connected to the characters, nor did I believe that the characters could actually not come through in every endeavor they attempted. Every character in this story just had too much money, and enough connections that I didn't believe there were any true challenges for the characters to overcome. Take for example, Reuben has as much money as he needs, and a huge mansion in the forest/hills to retreat to after every attack. When he wants to take his Porche for a drive to "hide out" in any motel he wants to, he does. He gets every woman he attempts to get, and his current girlfriend is so down with Rueben that she's comfortable that he slept with Marchent the first night he went away for his Nideck Pointe story, plus she's very comfortable in just letting Reuben text his breakup after he sleeps with another woman he finds in the forest. I suppose that's because although she loves Reuben dearly, she just doesn't love him enough to not sleep with his best friend Mort and split up with Reuben and stay friends. Luckily, she's a up-and-coming hot shot lawyer who's smart as hell so she doesn't need his trust funds and mansion.

My largest complaint with this story, is that it ended up just being lackluster in it's execution. I found myself realizing I could have put it down and probably forgotten about the characters because I didn't end up believing in them during the novel. Even the boy, Stuart, that Reuben accidentally turns into a werewolf after rescuing him after a gay-bash attack, is a 16 year old whiz that already graduated, and grew up wealthy, and is famous for going after his Catholic high school for not allowing him to take his boyfriend to the prom. Is there anyone that doesn't make 6 figures, drive a Mercedes, Jaguar, or Porche (yes, fine, I know, you're saying Jim, Reuben's older brother and religious viewpoint of the story, because he's a priest who gave up his trust funds and Mercedes to relate to the poor more easily) and just have life come easy to them while they figure out what the heck they want to do with their lives? Ah, to just waste away my days enjoying gourmet meals, ordering anything I might need on a whim (flatscreens, orchid trees, Bose boomboxes, iMacs, everything and anything), while doing anything I want and pretending to be in so much dilemma.

The characters are just not realistic. They sound like the writing of someone who has never had to work a day in their life and thinks everyone's biggest quandary is whether mom will be upset we spent our trustfund on this new mansion we visited and suddenly cannot live without. I really wanted to love this story, but there's not enough grit within this beautiful story to make me feel like these are real people that I care about making it. Everyone always gets what they want in this book, with really no consequence. It's hard to feel emotion for people that do whatever they want, and get whatever they want. It's so tidy there's nothing for them to truly overcome. That's probably the best way to put it, right there. Even in the end scene, with Felix & Thibault, they just wrap everything up with the evil doctors and the sheriff and it gives us as the readers, absolutely nothing to root for. We know it'll be perfect. Reuben gets everything he wants, always.

Were the Vampire Chronicles this tidy and unrealistic, but I was just too young and idealistic to realize this? I'm not sure, it's been so many years I'm now not sure if this is how Rice always wrote, or her writing is just too simplistic and unrealistic in it's attempt to get me as a reader, to believe in it. She still writes in a beautiful flow, and makes everything seem dreamy. But even my dreams have more substance of reality wrapped up in their fantasy.

I saw one reviewer state that they thought this was a very prudish Anne Rice. I wasn't sure I agreed with that at first, but I do feel like, in contrast to her previous novels, this definitely is prudish for Rice. She's normally unabashedly descriptive in the sexual encounters, but this time she sets them up, then switches scenes so nothing really happens. She does spend more time describing the violence the Man Wolf dishes out, and how much he relishes eating humans and sucking the marrow out of their bones, than showing any inclination towards descriptive lovemaking. Maybe there really is a huge difference in her writing this time around.

In the end, I read it, it was a great concept, but it was delivered in a manner which was just not exciting, or enveloping enough for me to love it, or believe in it.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: The Goodwill Grimoire

The Goodwill Grimoire
The Goodwill Grimoire by Abramelin Keldor

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating is actually 2.5 stars

Starting off this book, I was a little taken back by the opening of it with the character, Stanley. Total sleazy creep - slacker of a B-horror movie producer who stumbled upon a Grimoire in the Goodwill, of all unlikely places. He immediately sets to using it, accidentally of course, as he begins to reanimate a stuffed duck in his home. Once he discovers his ability to reanimate dead bodies, his evil genius plan begins. Remember Stanley is an idiotic sleaze, so his master plan is really quite simply, world domination, one bad, and slightly disgusting, plan after another. He even has creepy sex, but luckily us readers are only spared by hearing one detail of it, and it's told after the fact so we don't have to really visual it along with sleazy Stanley.

Nick, the lych detective, and main character is introduced to the readers as a very ancient supernatural. His character describes the authors world of vampyres, lychs, zombyes (were they spelled this way? there was little mention of zombies, but...) Everything the author describes as being "real" in this story was spelled with a "y" to differentiate between what most of society commonly believes to be real about these supernaturals, and what is actually real. This cracked me up a little, because back in my teens, my friends and I used the same exact logic of spelling those things with a "y". Nick describes this all to Elphaba, his witch companion and assistant. I was a little disappointed that as a practicing witch in a coven, Elphaba wasn't empowered at all, in fact she had little knowledge of any of the supernatural world, which is hard to believe since she is firstly, a witch, and secondly, we are led to feel that she's been working with him for some time so why does she know so little of this world that Nick knows so much about?

Nick is written as a dramatically sweeping kind of character. He's kind, he's chosen good over evil, and he has been around for so long that he has even known some very famous humans in history (more on that later). To increase his presence, he constantly uses phrases and endearments in other languages, but it makes him come across, to me, as a bit of a show-off because they are almost always a different language than the last one, and they just don't feel like it fits. His FBI friend, John, along with Elphaba seem quite like the groupies to he who is Nick, and that part doesn't feel believable to me.

The writing isn't bad overall but it's execution of dialogue is too simplistic in how Nick just educates us all on how it really works in the world. I think part of the trouble is the writing does not lend me to feel invested in the characters, they still felt like characters until the end of the book. There is a moment where you have to make the readers really believe in what's happening, no matter how unrealistic it can be, and because I'm not drawn into the world and taking the characters seriously, it didn't happen.

Nick comes across as feeling that he's so calm and intelligent, but he makes poor choices throughout the story, in order for Stanley to be written as having a reason to gain more power, and this contrast of the ridiculous Stanley who is attempting world domination with an enchanted beer mug, and remote control doesn't mesh enough to make it cohesive. One concept, either serious Nick or comically sleazy Stanley would have worked better to make me get into the story. I was really following pretty good, enjoying it's silliness until about 30% in, when Nick decided to abruptly tell us his story about how he helped bring Rasputin to power in an effort to showcase the characters age and importance in always being around in history. After that portion, it took me until about 80% in, when Nick brought Elphaba to his fortress and suddenly it got interesting again. Sadly, we had to go back and visit Stanley's incompetent war at the high school and get goofy again.

There were a couple of parts where Nick and Elphaba suddenly broke character in the story from how they had been built up so far. Instead of it being a sudden victory in personal power (where Elphaba suddenly saves everyone by reading from the Grimoire to stop Stanley and unfreeze Nick, as well as deanimate everything else), or a quick, dark moment that developed Nicks character further (where he abruptly decided to euthanize Dwaynes family by taking their life force to save them from suffering from the fact that Dwayne had died) they just seemed like very uncharacteristic moments from how these characters had thus far been developed. Perhaps it was because there was not enough cause written into why and how they suddenly deviated from their usual paths in action? I'm not sure of how long the book was, but it read pretty quickly during the times I was reading so I would guess under 200 pages. This might be part of the issue I had; that there wasn't enough dialogue to bring some of the parts to a believable fruition.

I did appreciate the mention of Harry Potter, D & D, & WoW. Definitely I got the impression the author was wanting to prove his personal opinion that people that like Twilight and kids who imitate it know nothing of the "real" world of Vampyres. Luckily for us, Nick, Lych PI does right? :)

This would make a good B-movie premise, and probably TV supernatural show if the elements were combined cohesively (or maybe not!). I just wasn't sure if I was supposed to be reading a parody of vampire stories, or taking Nick's explanations of the supernatural world seriously.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: The Last Unicorn

The Last Unicorn
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I picked up this book and began to read it's words. I instantly felt transported to a world of nonsense. Not the fun kind though. It read to me like a mild-mannered acid trip, and at times, some lucidity broke through the haze. It almost read like two or more stories to me, maybe that was the intention, but it felt so disjointed to me. Not cohesive. I normally love whimsical stories, but this one did not speak to me it just kept dragging me along and I almost couldn't remember some parts when I was done reading them.

I will say something about it though, that corroborates the impressions of those that enjoyed the book: Moments of it do stay with you. Whether that is a good reference for one or a negative one depends on how the book affects you. Dreamy, odd, moments of the story, and then the rest of it fading into forgettable gibberish.

One of my favorite books is Alice in Wonderland. I feel that's a lyrical, whimsical, tromp through amusing madness of nonsense and love it immensely. I say that because so many people describe The Last Unicorn as lyrical whimsy. I wanted to love this book, and feeling that I love AIW so much I would have thought this not too far of a cry from something like that. But I felt that The Last Unicorn wanted to be so many things and it ended up falling through in being any of them because it felt like it was reaching in too many directions and didn't complete the path to any because of expelling it's energy before it reached one goal. It was about many things, and nothing at all in the end. A journey that wanted to take you on multiple paths of the mythic symbolism of the unicorn and just fell short for me.

I do wish it had spoke to me fondly, but it had too many whispers instead that I just ended up not fully hearing. I know many people love this book, so it is most definitely one that I believe people love when they read it as a kid, or at just the right moment in their adult life when they need what it offers.

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Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book doesn't seem like the usual type I'd read. Something about the aspect of conspiracy, as well as the promising of a compelling biography drew me in. It ended up being quite a great mix of those plus science, humor, and then somehow it managed to capture me the same way fiction always does.

This author has a unique ability to just make non-fiction read like a fictional story does in it's ability to easily intrigue. One point of her way of storytelling that drew me in was in her manner of not belittling the people she interviewed during her journey to find out who Henrietta Lacks was. She's speaking with uneducated individuals, those that use phrases and words that aren't entirely grammatically correct, and yet, she just offers it as it is. Never speaking down to those people as she spoke with them, and never speaking down to them as the storyteller along her writing. That made this book so enjoyable to read for me. I was able to hear their journeys through their own words, and really capture where those journeys took them because of it. All the while, without prejudice or judgement because they themselves were seen clearly. It made it such a human travel, and you can see that the author really connected with these people along the way.

Whether or not you agree with how the HeLa cells were harvested, or what happened with Henrietta and her family, the tale itself is compassionate, tragic, joyous, and honest. All information and sources were documented in detail at the back of the book, and her research was thorough. It was a fascinating delve into society, culture, and towns that no longer exist. As a lover of history, I ate up every word of it. As a lover of science, the facts and details of the cells use was appreciated. I would love to read future biographies from this author if she writes them.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: Eighth Grade Bites

Eighth Grade Bites
Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This story starts off with 8th grader, Vladimir Tod, who is definitely not the virile, strong vampire character most are accustomed to. I think that this is what will make this story endearing to young readers, and likely adults as well. That is, if you ever knew what it was like to be the outcast, and have to move through society with a secret.

It's a YA novel, so the plotline is simple, but I don't feel it draws away from the story being a great read. It's love interest isn't treacly, and there's nothing that would be inappropriate for kids reading this book. I say that because my 4th grader wanted to read this series, most likely because he shares a first name with the main character and was fascinated by that.

The characters deviate from where other YA novels go; this novel has a teen character that had a great relationship with his parents. He's a regular teen that doesn't always do the best in school, doesn't date all the most popular girls, and all the other kids refer to him as "goth boy" (not his own perception of himself nor is he really even anywhere near being goth. They simply do not know how else to label him).

It's a real, sometimes angst-ridden, but overall very funny and enjoyable tale that moves you through Vladimir's life, his relationship with his best friend Henry, and his "Aunt" Nelly. She is actually the best friend of his mother, but is now his guardian as his parents died in a tragic accident 3 year prior.

Hopefully the next books will expand more on the vampire legend and world, as this books takes a different approach than others I've read in the past. Looking forward to the next in the series to learn more about The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod.

Great first book for author Heather Brewer... I love her style already.

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Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle

We Have Always Lived in the Castle
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The story of two girls. Constance is quirky, kind-hearted and agoraphobic. Merricat is dark with some twisted fantasies and lots of paranoia. Both girls live in their family mansion with Uncle Julian.

I had thought it might be a ghost story from some reviews, but I must have misread them, because it read more like a cross between Neil Gaiman meets The Grey Gardens.

Right from the start, you read the psychopathic thoughts that Merricat has, and thus the mystery of these two girls and what happened to their family begins. Why does the village despise them? Why doesn't Constance leave the house? What happened to their parents, brother, and Aunt? It eventually makes it way there, but likely could have done it quicker and in more of a shorter story sense.

It's a disturbing story, but nothing graphic takes place. I went into it with expectations and that is my own fault, because that usually sets it up for failure. In my mind, it didn't deliver what I expected, but overall, not a bad read and it only took a short afternoon with it being around 160 pages.

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Review: The Thirteen Hallows

The Thirteen Hallows
The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Starting off the review, with a note from the author, found at the end of the book:
"Most of the Hallows mentioned in this novel still exist, as do the group of people known as the Hallowed Keepers."

Wow, I was surprised by the overtone of darkness and the grisly nature of this novel. I wasn't expecting it since Michael Scott last wrote "The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel" which is a kids series. This is definitely an adult novel in such contrast, with the magical rites using sex, torturous ritual, and lots of bloodshed. However, compared to other adult novels that involve murders and mystery it's not unusual. I would classify it as supernatural/adult fiction/fantasy, maybe a little horror in it as well. Nothing frightening though, you can definitely sleep at night after reading it.

I love that the author has studied mythology and folklore, because the tie-ins to religious mythology such as the number thirteen relating to the thirteen names of God, and the Hallows, regular items that were imbued with power, being the keys to locking away the demons that used to roam this earth before man existed.

The story itself is written in excellent form. It's well-edited and the story is absolute. It's a bit predictable in how it's all going to end up, but the details of how it all goes down along the way is different many other novels of it's genre so that is a major plus. The authors historical knowledge of folklore from many walks of religion (Christianity to Pagan) is wonderfully tied together to weave a tale that makes you realize that there really is no good or evil, just power and energy and how each individual chooses to wield. Personal choice is what it always comes down to. Then, and now. Picking otherwise is just an illusion of immunity (and often superiority).

The writing is a little dry to me, and some parts of the book seem somewhat dull and unnecessary. Overall, a good read in the end, especially to those that enjoy mythology, history, and the supernatural.

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Review: The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases

The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases
The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases by Michael Capuzzo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm feeling a little more towards 2.5 stars on this one.

This book begins in the present, introducing the people, William Fleisher, Frank Bender, and Richard Walter. These are the people who began the society, Vidocq. They are all experts in the field in one way or another, which they combine their unique talents to aid in solving cold cases for mostly family members, and sometimes police departments.

The story is written in a manner which I did find to be disjointed, and a little frustrating at times. It jumps around from event to event, which well done, makes for a suspenseful and fascinating read. In this case however, it makes for a sometimes confusing, sometimes just bothersome way to read this story. If this book was re-edited to better tell these stories, it would clean it up immensely and turn it into the suspenseful, and informative story it was intended to be. It's just not cohesive that way it is, and that really detracts from the novel.

The beginning of the story reads to me a bit like a snarky boys club, a little pulp fiction, a little gumshoe black & white themed introduction. As I read on, I felt that aspect left the book and it became more serious of a read. Characters like Walter and Bender seem to be confusingly described. They read like one type of person in the beginning, then it seems as you move through the book, the author wants you to see them in an opposite light. I think it was to bring more warmth to Walter, and to make Bender seem like a flighty self-absorbed artist, but it was too jerky in how it happened and it didn't flow. That might best describe the entire story.

Within a chapter, it would flash from one investigation or background to another, and this really made me have to re-read the paragraph to make sure I was understanding we were talking about another murder victim and then refresh my brain on that one. I could not understand the reasoning and how it was relative to what the current topic was discussing.

The story of the boy in the box was a huge one for this book. I felt very let down in the end with it's anti-climatic reveal. It left me wondering "who dun'it?" (sorry) because they never really definitively closed the book on that one. Some parts were drawn out, some parts were sort of skipped over quickly, with no obvious reason relative to story line.

As for the cases themselves, when it came down to finding out the details, that was engrossing. There weren't too many gory details to gross you out, but there was enough to be relative to the story being told. I was most interested in the process of solving these crimes themselves, and less interested in hearing about the characters rise to glory, although it is relative to the crimes. The process and discovery of solving crimes is what most readers want, I included.

It was an OK read. If I didn't have interest in forensics or process of solving crimes, I would likely be horribly bored with the book, since the rest of it is too disjointed to make a really great novel. In the end, it just became a mish-mash of many different parts of these journeys, with the author undecided on which actual route he wanted to approach with telling these crimes and Vidocq Society tales.

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