Book Review: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin is a fantastic novel about life, love, death and video games.  This book has been on a couple of best of 2022 book list and it has made my top 5 list of 2022. The story is about how two college kids start a video game company and put their heart and souls in to each game, that can sometimes mirror their own lives. This book will make you respect the art, countless hours, and detail that go into to making a video game.  I’m not a big video game player I did happen to play some of the ones mentioned, and I know next to nothing about coding and I was never lost in the narrative and actually more curious to how a gaming engine works.  The book as much as it is about video games it’s about relationships, and forming a community that understands them.  This book takes risk my putting the character’s in a video game when they cannot communicate any other way.  This book is a n emotional ride with some general heartbreak. One of my hands down favorite novels is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, which is about life, love, death, war, and comic books.  Which are easily comparable to Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow since both are accessible to the main reading audience, are tearjerker with great characters and elevate the art form of their subjects video games and comics. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow had it’s film right purchased by paramount to be made into a movie which I would very much like to see.  I read Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin thanks to Netgalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is published on July 5th 2022.

Plot Summary: Sam 12 has been in a serious car accident that killed his mother. To get through his mother’s death he plays video games alone. Sadie 12 is in the hospital visiting her teenage sister as she is treated for Leukemia. Sadie needs a break and finds Sam playing video games she watches for a while then they trade and start a conversation.  A nurse sees this and talks to Sadie.  Sadie is shocked to find out she is the only person Sam has talked to six months after the accident.  The nurse asked her to do a community service and spend time with Sam.  Sadie who needs so many hours of community service for something anyway agrees, but a real friendship takes place.  Sam finds out he was a community service and shuts her out until years later Sadie and Sam will not meet again at college, when their love of video games is fully realized and they should make games together.  They form and make an international video game company, but can their friendship survive.

What I Liked: With me not being that big of a video game player, reading this book and coming away with not just an understanding of video games but respecting the art and story a whole lot more.  I might have changed the way that I now play video games concentrating on the art a whole lot more now.  The story and characters are very relatable.  I love the story within a story about the games and how they relate to the characters lives. This novel made me very emotional at times.  I love the cleverness of the within the game chapter, it was very effective.   The characters are sometimes frustrating and man did I get mad at them an there sucky communication skills and how they both handle anger, but a thrill to watch them grow and get better and become the same but at the same time different people.  I love all the pop culture references especially the Matrix / Ghost in the Shell conversation, the Donkey Kong tie and what it hides.  I loved how the title came from Macbeth and how that fit in with the novel so well.

What I Disliked: The cover art is so bad for what this book is, I feel like so many people will not read it or hesitate because of it, I know I did when selecting it.  The cover does have relevance to the story, but the novel is so visual it needed more.  The pace of the novel was not always the best there are a couple of moments where it takes the reader a second to get to the point of what your reading.  I will say that every side story did have a point but some did take a while to get there.

Recommendations: Please read this great book!! The story is incredible the writing is really good, so many quotable lines ( I would list a few but not line quotes is the deal I make when I read an advanced reader’s copy).  I already told you how much this book reminded me of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon but another one it reminded me of is the AMC TV show Halt and Catch Fire, if you liked either of these then you will love this book.  The beauty of this book is you don’t have to know anything about video games to love and read it, but if you do then you will love it more.  I rated Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin 5 out of 5 stars. This is my first book by Gabrielle Zevin but I plan to check out The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, which is supposed to be just as good.

Book Review: The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly

The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly is the 3rd book in the Harry Bosch Universe. The book is half mystery on the streets and half courtroom drama. Connelly will go on to successfully write the Lincoln Lawyer series that follows that format. The courtroom drama is written really well and it is easily explained so the reader doesn’t get confused. This novel has a lot of twist and turns that make this book hard to put down. The villain is hard to spot I guessed wrong and followed the red herring. Honey Chandler is a great foil, a trail lawyer that knows the system in an out and breaks the same rules Harry does on the police side to make her cases. To quote Harry Bosch when speaking about her, “I don’t like her, but like her.” So far none of the Harry Bosch books have required to read the previous book/s this one is no exception, but for reader who do read it in order will get nice tidbits of info about what happened to Sylvia’s husband, the favor the reporter has done in the past, and what Harry found out about his mother and father last book. The Dollface serial killer is pretty terrifying, and I love how focused the plot is if Harry got the right man or not. The Concrete Blonde is my favorite Harry Bosch novel so far. This novel was a re-read and will maintain my same star rating. This does come with a trigger warning of sex related crimes there’s a lot of it and it goes into some detail

Plot Summary: Harry Bosch is on trial for a civil suit in the wrongful death of a suspected serial killer known as the Dollface Killer. Bosch got a tip from a prostitute who escaped that new unpublished details of the killer. It was a late call and Bosch was the only one there, he didn’t want this guy killing anyone else, so he kicked in the door to find the man naked. Bosch yelled police then told him to freeze but the suspect grabbed under his pillow and Bosch fired killing him. The problem was the suspect wasn’t reaching for his gun, he was reaching for his hair piece. Despite that Bosch is confident he the Dollface killer. The trail is four years after the incident, and Bosch just had a note delivered to his desk from someone claiming to be the Dollface killer, that points to a new body that is buried in concrete. Did Harry Bosch get it wrong and kill the wrong man?

What I Liked: The twist and turns in this story are really great, and put the reader on the edge of their seat with every bit of new information. Side character’s are not just one note some are fully fleshed out, I loved Money Chandler’s character so much, I also love the portrayal by Mimi Rodgers in the Bosch and Bosch Legacy Shows of the character, which is different and yet the same, this story hasn’t been told on the show yet. I like how creepy the Dollface Killer is who kills them by strangulation and use their makeup to dress them up as a doll with it. I loved how focused this plot is there’s only a couple scenes that show Bosch and Sylvia’s relationship that were good for characterization but didn’t always move the plot forward. I didn’t mind those scenes though cause they filled some background in for Harry’s character. I liked that I had read this book 15 years ago and could not remember who had done it, I was not satisfied with who did it but at least I forgot about it. I like that it dips into the psychology of why Harry pulled the trigger, and I love the bit with his mom’s murder where he starts questioning himself if he did kill for revenge.

What I Disliked: The person that did it in the who done it was just an okay reveal. Connelly tried to quickly fill in the background, but it was too rushed, maybe if we got some of this background earlier when the character turned we could get the real story.

Recommendation: I recommend you check this book and series out. Harry Bosch is such a good character that I just enjoy seeing how his mind works. Read this story before it becomes a plot line in the Bosch Legacy story. I rated The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly 4 out of 5 stars. The order of the Harry Bosch Books so far 1) the Black Echo, 2) The Black Ice, and 3) The Concrete Blonde. The order in which I rank them from best to worst is 1) The Concrete Blonde, 2) The Black Ice and 3) The Black Echo.

Book Review : Billy Summers by Stephen King

Billy Summers by Stephen King is a rare contemporary fiction novel, there is the tiniest level of supernatural when character’s interact with the charred remains of the Shining’s Overlook Hotel. But other than that this story plays it straight. I think there’s two ways of reviewing this book one as a Stephen King up against his lexicon of other great works, where this books is ranked very low on the pile, or the one I’m going to review it if this was any writer’s work, which makes it instantly better and more clout. Billy Summers is not a great novel but there are moments where the narrative surprised me, the characters’ made me feel emotions, and the writing is really good. The story reminded me of three movie/tv shows that were all combined Shooter, the Mark Wahlberg movie, Barry, the Bill Hader HBO show, and The Professional, with Natalie Portman. If all three of these films had a baby that was made into a novel we would have Billy Summers. The beginning is interesting but almost cliche to the hitman story, then in the middle it takes a turn, turning into a redemption piece, the ending was too quiet I needed more of a bang but we get a whimper. The characters are the best part, there’s a lot of little tiny side characters that I liked instantly. I will speak on the controversial aspect of the book, Stephen King does not like Trump it is all over his Twitter feed. There was some review bomb because of Lines and passages from this book at first I was like there’s a couple I don’t get all the hate, but then they kept coming. My issue as a reader is it valid to the story or to the character, or is it a distraction. This fell in to the distraction, a couple of the references felt right, but many felt forced and took away from the story.

Plot Summary: Billy Summers is a hitman on his last job, the pay out is 2 million his biggest pay day by far but the catch is he has to be a part of the community as cover as a writer. Billy decides since his cover is a writer maybe he should write his bio, not to publish but just for him. We get a tragic backstory and a lesson that hitman aren’t born but created. Billy has a code of only bad people and no kids. The man Billy is going to kill is a bad man and the big pay is for making it public, in front of the court house. The killing is easy the getting away is the hard part made harder by the by wanting to provide the way out, something they have never done before. Billy fears a trap and sets his own way out, it might work but he sees a fellow in need is he going to me come the bad guy or the good guy he thinks he is? Will he risk everything to save someone else.

What I Liked: The characters are really great. I love how King writes neighborhoods they’re always filled with colorful characters and are easy to form a kinship to. I liked the writing aspect especially the beginning as he finds his voice, all the war stuff gets a little convoluted but the childhood years of writing are great. I like the turn and the dilemma of whether to help or not, because it can and probably will lead to getting caught. The references to the Overlook and it still being a presence of evil 40 years ago.

What I Disliked: The reveal of who set up the hit, was practically a nobody and had one of the most complex murder plots before even Billy was involved. There was no epic battle it is just over a little too easy. The trump references in metaphors are just too much and are a distraction to the story. The long sections about Billy in the war some are good but there was way too much fat and redundancy left. There was no drama to the assassin at all.

Recommendation: The story has a lot of heart the writing really good at sometimes and felt generic and mediocre at times. There some nice turns but as a whole the story measures out to an okay. I can not recommend my followers to read this one. Billy Summers, Rage, Roadwork, The Dead Zone, and The Colorado Kid (I did not like book 6 of the Dark Tower Song for Susannah but since it’s a part of the Dark Tower as a whole it won’t fall in this distinction) are the rare Stephen King novels that I can’t recommend. He has some many other great works you should check out before this one. I rated Billy Summers 3 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Upgrade by Blake Crouch

Upgrade by Blake Crouch is another mind bending science fiction which only he can imagine. The plot of this story will sound a lot like Limitless, the Bradley Cooper movie, where an ordinary man gets an upgrade and can do incredible things with mind and body, but that is only the first act. Blake Crouch’s story’s always start so simple then expand and this one is no different. The story is action packed, yet super smart. I like how it shows how cool getting and upgrade is but then the detachment of being so smart. It also ask questions if would the world work better if we were all super smart, or would we find smarter ways to kill each other? The novel takes family dysfunction to the max. The ending is really smart and was perfect for what the novel was hoping to achieve. There is some nice twist and turns that caught me off guard. The only thing that did not work for me was that I lack empathy for the villain and the story was trying to give them it. There were too many moments where I was told about something than saw it. This is my third Blake Crouch novel, while I didn’t like Upgrade as much as Dark Matter and Recursion, which I both rated 5 out of 5, I still really liked it and how unique the story telling is. I would like to think Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine for reaching out through email and letting me download it through Netgalley. Upgrade by Blake Crouch is published on July 12th 2022.

Plot Summary: Logan Ramsey works for the GPA – Gene Protection Agency that deal with people who manipulate genes. Logan was once a criminal who worked with his mom Marion Ramsey who is infamous for making a a near famine in changing an insects genes. Logan has been winning his freedom back ever since. In his current case he tries to stop a gene slicer but walks into a trap that sets off an explosion where his environmental suit is pierced and he is infected with an upgrade. The upgrade is slow acting so he recovers with out the doctor and his own agency knowing. He starts getting smarter, healing faster, incredible memory, more physical, and all senses enhanced. He tries to hide it from his agency, who will see him as the enemy and also find out who upgrade him. He finds out who upgraded him and that he is not the only one. When he finds out he has to decide if he will save the world or destroy it, or maybe both?

What I Liked: The plot goes to that crazy level that Crouch is known for. The action scenes are pretty intense and really long, but great. There’s three main action scenes and are really cool when described using the new upgraded abilities. The danger of science versus science will be our savior made a really good argument through out the novel. There is a couple of plot twists that I rally didn’t see coming that were fun to see them played out. The ending was perfect and was a kind of compromise to the whole science is enemy and/or the savior.

What I Disliked: The connection and the empathy Logan had for the villain was not felt by me. They would say remember when this happened instead of have a memory of it. I think this novel should have started with a flashback that showed the family and also science and how deeply they are connected.

Recommendation: This is a good novel that will make you ask the question what would you do in this situation? The story is great science fiction that will bend your mind a little. I ill say this novel is my least favorite of the 3 that I have read, but I will say this is the most accessible of his books. It’s mind bending but not as far as dark matter and recursion go. I rated Upgrade by Blake Crouch 4 out of 5 stars. 

TBR: July 2022

July 2022 TBR list: last month I read 6 books on my TBR list, and added 2 not on the list because they came available at the library. So a totallof 8 books, I’m going to shoot for seven this month.  I have three advanced reader copy books from netgalley this month.

Upgrade by Blake Crouch is one of my most anticipated reads of the year. His last two books Dark Matter and Recursion have blown my mind.  So I was thrilled when the publishers of Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books sent me a copy through Netgalley. Upgrade is published on July 12 2022 Upgrade is a bout a person’s brain being upgraded to do impossible things.

Billy Summers by Stephen King this is a book I read about half of and my library loan ended.  This book is totally contemporary with no horror element, but it still had twist and turns I was not expecting. I look forward to read it over and finish it this time.

The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly is book 3 in the Harry Bosch Universe, this will be a reread for me as I read and review it for my site.  It has been 15 years since I read it but when I did it was my favorite of the Harry Bosch books. This is the book about Harry’s mother’s death and something eerily similar happening now.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin is a love story of two video game developers that spans 30 years, their life starts imitating life.  This is supposed to be a crazy story that has ben on a couple best of 2022 list.  I’m reading it thanks to Netgalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. The book is published on July 5th 2022.

Black Tide by KC Jones is described as Stephen King’s Cujo meets A Quiet Place which sounds pretty crazy.  Goodreads has it on there best of 2022 Horror so far. I’m reading this book thanks to Netgally and Tor Nightfire. Black Tide was published on May 31 2022.

Goosebumps – Monster Blood 3 by R. L. Stine the first Monster blood was one of the worst Goosebumps books for me. Monster Blood 2 was better. I hope Monster Blood 3 is better.

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man volume 14 by Gerry Conway is coming off one of the best volumes, can they keep up the quality.  Will the writers finally drop the horrible idea of the Spidermobile.

Wrap Up: June 2022

Dear Readers, June was a great month for reading I read 8 books this month. I read almost the books on my TBR and added 2.  My ratings for this month were really mixed I had 2 books that were five star, 2 that were four star, 3 that were three star and 1 two star book. This month I did read a novel that made it to my top five list for 2022. I read 3 science fiction/ fantasy, 1 horror this month, 2 middle grade and 2 young adult. I started a 9 book series Star Trek :Vanguard and continued reading the the original Goosebumps series. I read 1 advance reader copy books (thanks to Netgalley).  

Five Star Reviews:

Gallant by V.E. Schwab is a modern day dark gothic young adult fairy tale filled with ghosts and death. Gallant is a hauntingly good story, that seeped into my dreams. The plot is half mystery and half gothic horror. The pace of the story is very rapid and doesn’t let up. Olivia the lead character is born mute, which would be a challenge for any writer to make compelling, having others talk and you lead character only gesture, but Schwab makes it work seamlessly. The dark gothic horror elements don’t go too dark and seem appropriate for the young adult audience as low as 12. The world building and mystery are done really well, I loved deep diving into the family history and the curse. The ending was done really well is both crowd pleasing and sentimental.

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 13 by Gerry Conway is a very important book in terms of the Spiderman legacy. This book features Spiderman’s second biggest loss with Uncle Ben being the first, the death of Spiderman’s first villain where he was directly involved, and the introduction of the Punisher (Frank Castle). It has some moments of infamy like the Spidermobile that Johnny Storm of the fantastic Four invented, and the weeding of Aunt May to Doctor Octopus. We see the beginnings of Peter Parker and Mary Jane, the start of Harry Osborn starting to go insane like father, like son. The stories really Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 13 collects The Amazing Spider-Man issues 121-131.

Four Star Reviews:

Under the Whispering Door by T. J. Klune is a novel about life but takes place in afterlife/inbetween. The description that got me to pay attention was A Man Called Ove in the afterlife. After having read it A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is really good comparison, but I feel it also reminded me of the Albert Brooks film Defending Your Life as well. This book is whimsical and a provides a really interesting view on the afterlife. The characters are memorable and the writing makes you truly care for the majority of them. I loved the beginning chapter so much and what it does for characterization, the reader comes away knowing exactly who Wallace is. The pace has a few bumps in the road I liked the beginning but the middle got almost too philosophical and took away from the story a little bit, when the countdown got introduced the story got instantly better. The ending was a nice wrap up and will make you feel for the characters at the end.

Star Trek – Harbinger by David Mack is a prequel series to the Original Star Trek tv show, called the Vanguard series since all the action involves Vanguard Station. Vanguard Station is Starfleet’s furthermost station in the Federation, the station is in-between two enemies the Klingons and the Tholians and also a warp lane to the new frontier. This story is full of political intrigue and introduces a lot of characters. This is a ensemble story about corruption the USS Enterprise plays a part of it but can’t say it is the main focus. I know this will disappoint some seeing Kirk and Spock as part of an ensemble than the leads. I did not mind it and liked the new characters that all have their own agendas. The Vanguard series is 9 books and this first one set up a lot, of characters and a lot of conflict some that was resolved and some to come.

Three Star Reviews:

Sunshine by Robin McKinley is a smart interesting look at vampires, and adds to the genre. The opening is really great what if a vampire and it’s victim were chained together, the vampire doesn’t want to bite her but might not have a choice. That opening is great and offers a lot of promise, but the story to its credit goes in a different way. My problem is it takes away of a lot of the danger, the gang of vampires who were scary at first somehow don’t feel like a bigger threat then her friends and family finding out she has been hiding a big vampire secret. The world building is one of the best things and learning about all the magic and different creatures that are out there.

Wretched Waterpark by Kiersten White is a middle grade mystery about teens who have a week long pass at the worst waterpark ever. The book felt like a mix of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket mixed with One Day at Horrorland by R. L. Stine, with a little bit of Disney’s Phineas and Ferb thrown in. My biggest complaint is I feel like this book couldn’t settle on a style and tried a couple. This book reads way to slow for a middle grade book, I felt at the beginning the chapters are too long. The book got more exciting at the end and had a worthwhile climax with most things getting wrapped up. The book had some moments of humor, but needed more in my opinion.

Goosebumps: Cuckoo Clock of Doom by R.L. Stine is a time travel adventure in reverse. Cuckoo Clock of Doom is Goosebumps book 28 in the original series order. This is one of the least scary goosebumps books. It has one of the most obnoxious characters in Tara. The story is more of a morality tale that is done for laughs, it reminds me a lot of Goosebumps book Be Careful What You Wish For where it is the lead character’s choices that get them in trouble.

Two Star Reviews:

Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards is a young adult thriller about a horrible spontaneous road trip in the middle of a blizzard when five strangers are left stranded when their plane is grounded for weather. But one of the strangers is anything but and they a plan for one of the passengers. This thriller takes forever to truly thrill. Most of the time reading I felt now would be a good time for something to happen and nothing does. The plan is to drive everyone crazy then take one passenger during the blizzard and I guess live with them? The plan is paper thin if you can even call it that. The Stalker is crazy and if they would have just played it cool, could have had all they desire. The fun of the novel is who is messing with the strangers, and this is what the author does well, causing you to doubt and change who it is.

Four year anniversary post: Top books of 2022 so far

Thank you, thank you to anybody who has ever checked out my channel. I started this journey 4 years ago on this site and love to interact with this community everyday whether it is discussions, me checking out your reviews, and you checking out mine. Since I started this site midway through the year I will list my five favorite books published this year, and top five book review posts in view count over my four years which is really interesting what gets my most views.

Top Five Books Published in 2022 … so far

  1. The Island by Adrian McKinty this book is all suspense that does not let up. It looks a survival and family dynamic even in the slow times it is always interesting.

2. Gallant by V. E. Schwab is a book I just read, and instantly connected to Olivia the mute protagonist that communicates with ghost more than humans. The story is a gothic modern fairy tale that I could not put down.

3. Harley Quinn Reckoning by Rachael Allen is a really solid YA mystery/origin story. I did not expect to like the book this well but it is not only me, it has a Goodreads rating of 4.21.

4. The Maid by Nita Prose was one of my first reads of the year has really stuck with me. It is a fun cozy mystery.

5. Hide by Kiersten White is a game of hide and seek with deadly consequences. A fun thriller with interesting history to its story.

Top Book Reviews, that get the most views

  1. What Lies Between Us by John Marrs is such a crazy book, I’m glad people are checking this book review out. This was my favorite book of 2020 and the plot twist are plenty and you will flip back and forth on who’s right and who’s wrong until all is revealed. I’ve read four John Marrs books and they do not disappoint, this one is my favorite.

2. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah my favorite book of 2021. This book hit me so hard on an emotional level, it is truly one of my favorites. I think it is one of my best best reviews, from a writing stand point. The Four Winds and What Lies Between Us are by far my most viewed book reviews the next book on this list is 200 views less than these two.

3. Cathedral by Nelson DeMille is a suspense thriller about the IRA (Irish Republic Army) taking over a New York’s Catholic Church on St. Patty’s Day. This is a good DeMille thriller, but not my favorite, I feel it does not have many reviews, is why I’m getting so many views on it.

4. Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind is the first book in a 15 book series, I have currently read 6 books in the series. I feel I get a lot views on this because I describe what this book cut out of the the Legend of the Seeker TV series the books are based on.

5. Goosebumps: Be Careful What You Wish For… by R. L. Stine is Goosebumps book 12 this book is particularly good, so it’s funny that this is the Goosebumps book review that gets the most views. I have read and reviewed 27 Goosebumps books, so if I went to my 10 most views I would have 4 goosebumps books, but this one has the most for some reason.

Book Review: Gallant by V.E. Schwab

Gallant by V.E. Schwab is a modern day dark gothic young adult fairy tale filled with ghosts and death. Gallant is a hauntingly good story, that seeped into my dreams. The plot is half mystery and half gothic horror. The pace of the story is very rapid and doesn’t let up. Olivia the lead character is born mute, which would be a challenge for any writer to make compelling, having others talk and you lead character only gesture, but Schwab makes it work seamlessly. The dark gothic horror elements don’t go too dark and seem appropriate for the young adult audience as low as 12. The world building and mystery are done really well, I loved deep diving into the family history and the curse. The ending was done really well is both crowd pleasing and sentimental. This is my sixth Victoria Schwab or V.E. Schwab book that I have read and it is now a close second to Villainous which is still my favorite. So Gallant is in good company if you’ve read my review for Villainous and know how special it is and gallant coming in as a close second. Gallant was published by Greenwillow Books and published on March 1st 2022.

Plot Summary: Olivia is mute teenager and lives in a home for girls. She doesn’t have real friends and is constantly teased, but she does need them since she can see and communicate with ghosts or ghouls as she calls them. She knows how sign thanks to one sister, but she has come and gone and now communicates through writing which she hates or gestures. She can not remember here family but has a journal of her mother’s who was rumored to go insane and reading the writing it looks like it. She dreams of her mother whisking her away, when one day she gets a letter from an uncle, saying he’s been searching everywhere for her and must come to Gallant. Gallant is a place she knows from her mother’s journal, where she write Gallant is not safe. Olivia arrives at huge manor bigger than her girls home. When she arrives it is not with a welcome, the residents didn’t know she was coming, and want to send her away instantly, they haven’t heard about her, the invitation came from an uncle that died a year ago, who invited her to the manor and what do they want?

What I Liked: I liked how gothic and dark the story got. I instantly feel in love with the character of Olivia. I love a house with secrets story and there’s so many secrets. The villain was pretty terrifying and liked how dark and creepy he was. I loved the journals and their lyrical writing. I loved how fast the plot moved, when the action slows down you find more secrets out so I thought it was super interesting even when a little slow. The finale was super emotional and satisfying I loved every second of it. I loved the plot twist, there’s only one and it is pretty shocking and smart. The cover when you read the story really works well.

What I Disliked: I needed a little more about Olivia’s father, that was the only part that I was scratching my head, Schwab did make an attempt but I needed more.

Recommendation: Read this book it will have you turning pages long into the night, and for me it seeped into my dreams. This is a dark gothic fairy tale that feels pretty timeless, the only thing marking time is a car. Schwab is a great writer that keeps coming up with such original work. I rated Gallant by V. E. Schwab 5 out of 5 stars. This book is currently in my top 5 of books published this year.

Book Review: Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Sunshine by Robin McKinley is a smart interesting look at vampires, and adds to the genre. The opening is really great what if a vampire and it’s victim were chained together, the vampire doesn’t want to bite her but might not have a choice. That opening is great and offers a lot of promise, but the story to its credit goes in a different way. My problem is it takes away of a lot of the danger, the gang of vampires who were scary at first somehow don’t feel like a bigger threat then her friends and family finding out she has been hiding a big vampire secret. The world building is one of the best things and learning about all the magic and different creatures that are out there. Wereskunks!! I almost want a whole novel about the unfortunate creature, that is the wereskunk. The romance is a lot of longing, than actually getting together, but every time they touch it means more, and she has a human boyfriend (I feel sorry for this guy). The book title also the lead characters name, and the you know thing most deadly to Vampires (except in Twilight of course), are tied in really nicely. The book had some great humor in it’s observation of the vampire mythos. The ending is more of a whimper than the bang I was expecting. Sunshine was published on November 30th 2004.

Plot Summary: Sunshine is your average early riser baker, when she cooks it’s like magic. She enjoy’s her time soaking in the sun with a good book about the Others (vampires, demons, zombies, and were-creature) all who are real in this world. There was a Voodoo war not too long ago that kept most at bay, now there is a police force to deal with humans and the SOF who deal in the supernatural. Sunshine needs to be alone and takes a stroll at a secluded lake. She’s kidnapped by vampires, and chained to a room with another vampire, who the other vampire’s taunt. They cut Sunshine and leave her chained a few feet away from a starving vampire. Can she escape? Can she convince a vampire not to feast?

What I Liked: The world building is really good and well thought out with decades of history. I liked the magic system when that does come into effect. I liked the way Sunlight was used. I really loved the character of Yolande the land lady of the barn house and the secrets she keeps. The first act is really great we get all the history and the conflict of a human and a vampire to chained together. One of the better first acts to a story that I’ve read. I liked all the tidbits about baking. The humor it’s not laugh out loud but really subtle and gave me a chuckle or 2. I did like the one sex scene was one of the rawest I’ve read and it’s a good thing no metaphors, just exactly what is going on.

What I Disliked: Sadly almost everything after that incredible first act. The novel goes to a stand still with the enemy so far in the shadows that he barely exist and does feel like a threat. The pace was all off on this book, it did not help that there is only 4 chapters in a 400 page book. The final vampire conflict was hard to follow and over with barely any tension.

Recommendation: This review was a hard one since it is so mixed, but I can not recommend this book even with one of the best opening acts. I think for readers to enjoy it be ready for a different kind of vampire story and a slow burn story with good world building. I rated Sunshine by Robin McKinley 3 out of 5 stars. 

Book Review: Five Total Strangers Natalie D. Richards

Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards is a young adult thriller about a horrible spontaneous road trip in the middle of a blizzard when five strangers are left stranded when their plane is grounded for weather. But one of the strangers is anything but and they a plan for one of the passengers. This thriller takes forever to truly thrill. Most of the time reading I felt now would be a good time for something to happen and nothing does. The plan is to drive everyone crazy then take one passenger during the blizzard and I guess live with them. The plan is paper thin if you can even call it that. he Stalker is crazy and if they would have just played it cool, could have had all they desire. The fun of the novel is who is messing with the strangers, and this is what the author does well, causing you to doubt and change who it is, guessed it but the events made me change my mind. There’s a twist involving the letters to the person being stalked that I liked because it got me to change the way I read them. The ending was okay, but it tries to tell a lesson about judging people based on their look, which is fine if the character didn’t low key threaten them earlier. I thought this novel was going to be a survival story which would have been better, the characters are interesting and have conflict but the low stakes thrills kill ant momentum the set up had.

The Plot Summary: Mira is on a Christmas Eve flight chatting with Harper who is an older college student, Mira lets Harper think she’s in college and Mira doesn’t want to stop the conversation to tell her. The layover flight is cancelled because of a blizzard Mira just hearing some troubling news about her mom, is desperate to get home on Christmas. She finds out Harper has rented a car and ask her to join Harper and her four friends, what Mira does not know is the group aren’t friends but total strangers to Harper and each other. Mira gets a bad felling about the trip but pushes it aside to get home. Then we see a random letter to Mira about how obsessed someone is with her, is this letter before or after, but Mira has made an impression on someone, and it is not good.

What I Liked: The letter to Mira and the twist of when they when the reader finds out they were written, not a big twist but it changed my perspective of how I read it. The who done it aspect of the book is the best, even if the events were low key it was still fun guessing who was responsible. I genuinely liked the five main characters and all the conflict they created together. I liked that their was an LGTBQ character in the group.

What I Disliked: That the thrills are so low key, the people they meet along the way interactions are more thrilling than what the stalker is doing. The stalkers plan makes zero sense at all. The lesson at the end of don’t judge a book by it’s cover is cliched and they had a general need to not trust him based on action, not just looks. The pacing for me was okay but I kept reading for something to happen and it took a really long time for it too happen.

Recommendations: This is a triller with so few thrills I would recommend skipping it. There’s some okay character work but not enough to read this book for that. This book will sadly be a forgotten thriller. I rated Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards 2 out of 5 stars.