Book Review: The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi

The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi is about murder stories taken place before World War II. The Eighth Detective is a story within stories, it works as both a short story anthology and an over-arching narrative. The novel is very clever in the way twist are laid out, the end is filled with so many twists they actually where’s out their welcome. There are 7 short stories in this novel all involving murder and a mathematic formula to make a murder mystery work. The short stories are borrowed from mainly Agatha Christie stories, I’m sure for legal reasons the story could not mention her by name. The short stories are good with some being great, but I enjoyed the conversations after the stories more, where the story is broken down and discussed. Thanks to Netgalley and Henry and Holt Company for granting me a copy. The Eighth Detective was published on 8-4-2020.

Favorite Quote: “Chess is a cheap metaphor. It’s what men use to talk in a grandiose way about conflict.”

The Plot: Grant McAllister, a professor of mathematics, worked out a theory thirty years ago about how to create the perfect murder mystery stories. After the theory was published, he quietly wrote a book of 7 short stories testing the theory called The White Murders . The book has came and went, but now 30 years later a young editor Julia is interested in republishing the book and wants access to the Grant McAllister who lives a quiet life away as a recluse. Grant is real iffy on his past not really wanting to discuss it. They start reading his short stories and breaking them down after exposing little truth and some he can’t or won’t answer like the similarity in the title and the real murders called The White Murders.

What I Liked: The conversations on the breakdown of stories are so good. The first short story is really good and immediately had me hooked. There’s one short story that takes place on the remote island after the aftermath of one of my favorite Agatha Christie stories And Then There Were None. I liked this one it intrigued me because it would be so hard to figure out what happened, and the perfect place for murder. This story was the only direct clone the ending’s of The Murder on the Orient Express and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd are part of the perfect endings. The language and lines of dialogue are good and through out the short stories. The main twist is really good with how clever it is.

What I Disliked: The first thing that intrigued me was the comparison to the White Murders, it’s kind of answered but I wanted more facts. How do you not think or acknowledge Agatha Christie in the Foreword or Afterword. I thought at the end there was too many twist that did not involve the short stories we just analyzed.

Recommendations: I’m going to barely recommend this one, the short stories for the most part are good and the conversations after are even better. If you like classic murder mystery that involves thought and deduction and not forensics then this novel is for you. You’re never going to be as good as Agatha Christie but it is still enjoyable. This book is getting unfairly compared to The 7 and a half Murders of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton who reinvented the murder mystery and told it in a unique way, the Eighth detective just has a unique telling. This was another hard review for me to place, I kept going back and forth between 3 and 4 stars, but eventually settled on a number barely making it to the threshold. I rated The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi 4 out of 5 stars. I will look for Pavesi books in the future, I see a lot of promise in the writing.

Book Review: Florida Man by Tom Cooper

Florida Man by Tom Cooper takes a look the mythos of the crazy stories surrounding the various news story dubbed “Florida man” (this term was brought to my attention from the TV show Atlanta). This novel is awfully hilarious in it’s character studies of Floridian rednecks, Cuban refugees, and American Indians. Most of the stories involve sex, drugs, violence, theft, and sometimes all four. The novel spans for the 1960’s to present spending most of the time in the 1980’s. The novel has it’s problem but it is filled with so much charm, it’s hard not to fill satisfied when i finished it. I felt like the characters were straight out of an Elmore Leonard novel, but with enough originality to make them unique. Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for giving me a copy for review. Florida Man by Tom Copper is published on 7-28-20.

The Plot: When Reed Crowe was a teenager he watched a plane go down in the Florida Everglades. The plane was filled full of weed from Columbia, he thought everyone was dead but he was wrong. Reed Crowe took drugs and sold a lot, he sold enough to buy and build a seedy motel, an run down zoo and amusement park on the remote Emerald Island. He’s a beach bum that hired his friends to help him run the place, all who would rather do drugs and get laid. His world is turned upside down when a Cuban that goes by the name of Catface because of his scars, recognizes Reed when he gets his friend and employee out of jail. Catface was there in the 60’s when reed found the drugs, and blames reed for not noticing and leaving him stuck with the scars. This vicious gangster will stop at nothing to kill Reed.

What I Liked: The humor is constant through out, it sometimes guys doing horrible things but for the most part it is funny. Catface is scary and relentless, almost a pincushion literately, they character takes a licking and keeps on ticking. This novel is not known for it’s descriptions but I felt it described this character perfectly. Wayne Wade is another crazy character that would make so many bad choices but it was a train wreck that was entertaining to watch. I enjoyed the ending, it did something very unexpected, where I was super iffy if tis was the right choice but I was satisfied with the ending, that was very true to one character’s character.

What I Disliked: The descriptions are really lacking, it will name this exotic Florida animal and not describe it at all. The book has an over 10 year jump and doesn’t catch the reader up with anything that has happened in the last 20 years, which I found really frustrating. I did wonder the point of this novel about midway through, and it’s more of a character study than a narrative story.

Recommendation: This novel is not going to be for everybody, the beginning is a little bit of a mess with it’s weird time jump. I often wondered the point and where it was going. That being said, the novel is funny if you like show like swamp people, and shows about redneck culture then this book may be right up your alley. There is a trigger warning on violence and a character liking girls too young. I would slightly recommend this one on humor alone. I rated Florida Man by Tom Copper 3.5 out of 5 stars . This one is the most torn I’ve been on a review in a while, I will read another novel by Tom Cooper.

Wrap Up: July 2020 Book Reviews

Hello dear readers, July has come and gone.  This month I was able to read 10 books. 2 books were advanced reader copy thanks to Netgalley, 5 were from one of my favorite Graphic Novel book series Locke and Key, books that have made my favorites list off books read in 2020 with The Sun Down Motel and Home Before Dark.  I read one of the weirdest books ever called Antkind written by Charlie Kaufman.  I can’t wait to share some of these mini reviews with you.

 Five Star Reviews:

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is a nonstop thriller that mixes elements of a ghost story with a mystery. The pace was nonstop from the beginning, and did not let up as it reached the climax. The story is really fun, I enjoyed finding out more about the ghosts and why they haunted the Sun Down Motel. The twists are plausible and well thought out to fool the audience. This book has been hyped recently, and I have to say I really enjoyed it, it doesn’t reinvent the genre, just tells a good story in a way that is easy to read and picture. I recently put this book as number 2 in my favorite of the year so far.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager is a top-notch thriller wrapped in a ghost story. Home Before Dark reminded me of why I love Riley Sager so much, good writing that for the most part keeps me guessing while adding that level of believability, that it could happen that way. I felt like this book was a good return to form after I was let down by Lock Every Door which was released last year. Home After Dark offers two accounts one of a book written 25 years ago that is a nonfictional ghost story called House of Horrors that written by Ewan Holt that tells of the Baneberry House haunting of him and his family; the other is Maggie Holt that was five at the time of House of Horrors returning after 25 years to see what was real as her family won’t speak of the book.

Locke and Key Volume 5: Clockworks by Joe Hill and Art by Gabriel Rodriguez is the book that I have been waiting for finally getting a flashback to the past, one to colonial times where we get the origins of Keyhouse and the keys. There’s another flashback that will change everything you thought you knew about the villain, Zach/Dodge, and his origin. This book is easily my second favorite since the beginning. There’s a really good opening that had me hooked from the start. It wrapped up a lot of story lines and made complete sense. Stuff that was hinted at in the beginning got to become full circle. Almost every question I had was answered with great explanations.

Locke and Key Volume 6: Alpha and Omega by Joe Hill art by Gabriel Rodriguez. It’s the series finally, the Omega Key has been found and we know what opening that door will bring, creatures from another world that possess what they touch, but if the door is somehow closed, every creature has magic metal that can be used for more keys. I liked this one, a fitting ending; one of my favorite characters’ bit the dust. I do like that there’s a twist in Dodge’s end result, his plan wasn’t as obvious as an army; it’s more than that.

Four Star Reviews:

Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A. Stackpole takes the X-wing pilots out of the X-wing and has them go undercover on Coruscant. Wedge’s Gamble is book two in the X-wing Saga series that is a part of the Star Wars Legends series ( Star Wars Legends is a division that was considered cannon, but with The Force Awakens not following the trajectory of The established novels they were called Star Wars Legends). The last X-wing novel Rogue Squadron review, I used a Tom Cruise movie to describe it as Top Gun, this novel I would describe as Mission Impossible. Wedge’s Gamble refers to two things a plan to bring criminals from Black Sun to give the Imperials trouble on Coruscant and the undercover operation to take down the twin shields.

Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 by Joe Hill with Art done by Gabriel Rodríguez is a graphic novel that will open minds literally. This is my second time through the series, now that I know the ending, it fun piecing it together knowing all the character’s pasts and knowing all the keys and where they are hidden.

Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill art done by Gabriel Rodríguez This is a smaller story filled with a really long action piece and the rest is filled with long conversations. There are three keys discovered in this one, the giant key which makes you turn into a giant, the crown of shadows key, which has a key go into a crown which lets you control shadows, and the fix it key which can fix broken items in a cupboard, but can not fix the dead. 

Locke and Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Jill and art by Gabriel Rodriguez was the best story since the first volume, but the art was one of the weakest. This volume has guest artist Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbs do an issue, which is great at first I felt it lost the seriousness the previous books had set. I will say this has one of the most fulfilling climaxes I read in a long time, where everything goes to hell all at once and things are not the same

Three Star Reviews:

Antkind by Charlie Kaufman is a truly out of this world adventure about a film critic experiencing and trying to remember a film that last 30 days. It consumes him and his dreams as he figures out what was the film and what was his life. The book relies heavily on how film affects the watcher, and that the film can become a part of you. This book is deeply funny mind trip that only the writer of such films as Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind could write. This is Charlie Kaufman’s first novel and it is a doozy. This is the kind of novel that I think could be heavily discussed in college literature classes, because there’s a lot to explore and debate about, what is part of the film and what is a dream?

Two Star Reviews:

Mayhem by Estelle Laure is a send up to the 80’s with a story about feminism and powerful versus powerless. This story is a mash up of plots from 80’s and 90’s movie plots Lost Boys, Sleeping with the Enemy, and The Craft. The results should be amazing but instead a lot of formulaic plot with ideas on feminism throughout that only take root at the end.

Book Review: Mayhem By Estelle Laure

Mayhem by Estelle Laure is a send up to the 80’s with a story about feminism and powerful versus powerless. This story is a mash up of plots from 80’s and 90’s movie plots Lost Boys, Sleeping with the Enemy, and The Craft. The results should be amazing but instead a lot of formulaic plot with with ideas on feminism throughout that only take root at the end. The powers are all over the place with some history to back it up but not enough. I was really thrown off about the author having two fictional characters of the Frog Brothers from the movie the Lost Boys inserted in the plot to do nothing other than make you think the plot was going to be about vampires, which it is not. I feel I would have liked this story more if it wasn’t about gaining special powers and it was about a girl finding her internal strength to stand up to abuse. Thanks to St. Martin Publishing for sending me a copy for review through Netgalley.

The Plot: Mayhem, a 16 year old girl, also referred to as May, is traveling with her mom, Roxy, to Santa Maria looking for a fresh start, after taking years of abuse from her husband, Lyle. Lyle turned his abuse from Roxy to Mayhem, which was the final straw. They end up moving into the Brayburn home with Roxy’s sister Elle who has three adopted kids of her own, Neve and Jason are Mayhem’s age and Kidd is 9. Roxy fears something but May can’t pull it out of her, May thinks this is for the best and wants her mom safe and to detox the drugs she has been taking to cope with the abuse out of her system. Mayhem loves the small costal town of Santa Maria, the beach the ongoing carnival, but there is a dark side, women have been banishing on the beach night after night. Mayhem feels sorry for them and feels something more a feeling she has never felt before she has to swim to get rid of it, and feels herself drawn to something in the water. The adopted kids take her to a cave with a deep history rooted to the Brayburn’s Mayhem drinks the sacred water and develops powers.

What I Liked: I loved the character of Kidd how she balances sweet with ferocious. I liked reading about the Brayburn history, I felt this section could have been expanded. The cave and the water and the origin surrounding it were really interesting. Marcy and the video store called VHYes. I liked the majority of 80’s references. Mayhem as a character before the water I liked a lot, after the water I was a little lost more on the power than emotional aspect. I liked the thirst for the sacred water making them vampire light. I like where Neve’s character ended up, I would’ve liked to see her character progress this way the whole book, and not at the final moment.

What I Disliked: Having the Frog Brothers not do anything, if you bring iconic characters into your world have them do something. The powers were not explained well at all.

Recommendations: I will not recommend this one, I feel there are plenty of original Young Adult that take this story and make it original. There are some bright spots in the ways of speaking about a woman’s power, but they were few and far between. I wanted to like this one a whole lot more, just didn’t work for me. I Rated Mayhem by Estelle Laure 2 out of 5 stars.

Second Year Anniversary And Best of the First Half of 2020 in Books

Hello, to all my fellow readers it is past the half of the year and my 2 year anniversary of starting my WordPress blog. I’m very grateful for all my followers and shared connections and correspondence or comments. I love to do my best of book read this year so far and compare it to my final list of the year, which book stayed and occupied my thoughts? I have two categories books published this year and books not published this year.  I have read a total of 50 books so far with 13 being books published this year. Cannot wait to read all of your’s and see what I missed. There is still a lot of books on my upcoming list the new Riley Sager book Home Before Dark, Martha Wells new Murderbot novel Network Effect, The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry, The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk and The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton.

Top Five Books Published this year:

1. What Lies Between Us By John Marrs this one of the craziest books I’ve read period. You cannot predict what will happen or put this book down! Characters flip from being good to bad so fast, as the reader learns more secrets. There is some of the most cringe worthy scenes, not because of gore or anything horrid, but because you are reading about a character that keeps digging themselves into holes. This is family dysfunction at its finest. What would it take for you to chain your mother in her room? The answers come quickly but the reasons behind them stay buried in lies. This is the second novel that I have read from John Marrs, last years The Passengers was also very good.

2. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is a nonstop thriller that mixes elements of a ghost story with a mystery. The pace was nonstop from the beginning, and did not let up as it reached the climax. The story is really fun, I enjoyed finding out more about the ghost and why they haunted the Sun Down Motel. I was not expecting this book to be so good.  I’ve seen it gaining hype but the level of fun is through the roof.  Riley Sager does the blurb on the cover, which fits because the writing style is so similar.

3. The Holdout By Graham Moore is as good as a legal thriller can get, it is one very entertaining and will keep you guessing, and two makes a statement about how our current legal system is broken and can be manipulated. The Holdout is two mysteries in one, as we get two different mysteries one is a did they or didn’t they murder? And the other is a who done it? The book is separated by a ten year span having a jury trial and then ten years later doing a retrospective documentary of what happened during the trial. This book was part 12 Angry Men combined with an Agatha Christie murder mystery (there’s one I’m thinking about but the plot could be a hint to where it goes, and would hate to spoil anything) with a dash of John Grisham. This book makes me want to check out other works by Graham Moore.

4. The Book Of Koli by M.R. Carey this book is all heart, you can’t help but fall for Koli as he wants something more in this world, and he manages to get a piece in the most unlikeliest of ways. He is the unlikeliest of hero with a weapon to match. The Book of Koli is science fiction book after an apocalyptic battle where we tried to fix the environment but the world created trees that can walk and kill for nourishment. This book is the first book in the proposed Rampart Trilogy. The novel has a couple of good twists and turns and went in a direction I didn’t see it going. I have been approved for the second book and cannot wait to see the direction the Rampart Trilogy heads in.

5. You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is a great thriller about power and manipulation of a young woman who doesn’t want to fell so alone. This novel did not let down, it had the twist I was looking for, great main characters, compelling reason behind the crimes, and it was a fun unpredictable ride. You Are Not Alone is the third book collaboration between Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. Anonymous Girl was in my top five of new novels from last year.

Top Five books not Published this year:

1. The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow is Scarface and the Godfather rolled into one. You live as the good guys the bad guys and the people in between that are casualties of the drug war. This looks at both sides like I have never read before, it shows the good guys having to cross lines they never thought they could cross and the bad guys crossing those lines to keep what they have. There’s a scene that will leave you floored as a bad guy does the unthinkable to take down a rival, think Red Wedding from Game of Thrones. This book goes through 3 decades of drug traffic starting in the 1970’s to the 2000’s, from Mexico, Columbia and the United States. The Cartel the second book is just as good and gets a little but more fan fare, but the book I like The Power of the Dog more.

2. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman is the second book in the Arc of the Scythe series. Thunderhead ramps up the action, expands on the already great world building, it has one hell of a climax, and maintains the high quality writing, that will make you think long after the book is finished. I love this series so much; it is going places I could not imagine. This book has a lot of callbacks to the first novel that are really big payoffs with a couple of characters that end up coming back.  The first book is Scythe, and is 5 stars as well, but this book expands on the first book and ideas.

3. Speaks the Nightbird by Robert R. McCammon is one of my favorite stories by one of my favorites authors. This is my second reading of this epic tail that combines Historical Fiction with Murder Mystery, and adding a dash of Horror. We get a tale about witchcraft only 7 years after the Salem Witch Trials in 1699. Where witchcraft was in murky waters of being real or not.

4. The Shining by Stephen King is a truly horrific book. Alcohol and ghosts do not mix! King gets into true fear, having someone you love, a father and husband, say, “I’m going to bash your brains”, then attempt to do it. The Shining is a ghost story but the scariest monster in the book is addictions and how it changes your rational choices, to choices that jeopardize your family. 

5. Full Throttle by Joe Hill is comprised of 13 short stories, two are written with his dad Stephen King. Some stories are bone chilling tales of fright, while others give whimsical insight of the the unknown. All tales draw you in in some way, some let you go easily, while other try to hold you in a death grip and not let go. A couple of the the short stories are odes to his favorite authors like Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Lawerence Block, David Mitchell, and Stephen King. Over half of the stories have a five star rating.

Book Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is a nonstop thriller that mixes elements of a ghost story with a mystery. The pace was nonstop from the beginning, and did not let up as it reached the climax. The story is really fun, I enjoyed finding out more about the ghost and why they haunted the Sun Down Motel. The twists are plausible and well thought out to fool the audience. This book has been hyped recently, and I have to say I really enjoyed it, it doesn’t reinvent the genre, just tells a good story in a way that is easy to read and picture. This is a fast read that was a breeze to consume one afternoon.

The Plot: In 1982 Vivian starts working the nightshift at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, NY. The town is quiet but it has a string of missing and murdered young women, and Vivian is the next victim. She has been missing for 37 years when Carly her niece travels to Fell to investigate. She always knew her aunt was missing, but upon her mother’s death, she finds old news clipping about the crime that her mom would never get a straight answer. Carley’s investigation cause her to live in the same apartment as her aunt and take a job working the night shift at the Sun Down Motel. Carley discovers secrets of ghosts old and new. Carley wants the truth, but she may risk her life to get it.

What I Liked: I loved the ghost and their personalities. I love how focused this novel was, I felt no scene was wasted. I like the flipping back from 1982 to present day. I liked how the personalities of Vivian and Carley complimented each other. I liked the roommate Heather, how she still powered on after her panic attacks upon investigation. I loved the investigative photographer and the role they play in everything. This novel was about female power and I loved it!

What I Disliked: After the climax the wrap up took a little too long, but It didn’t effect my review too much, since I was so entertained by 90% of the story.

Recommendations: This is a really fun thriller that delivers. The narrative is easy to follow and the pace doesn’t let up. I wanted a decent mystery and I got a ghost story that is surrounded by a mystery, which was more than I expected. I rated The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Antkind by Charlie Kaufman

Antkind by Charlie Kaufman is a truly out of this world adventure about a film critic experiencing and trying to remember a film that last 30 days. It consumes him and his dreams as he figures out what was the film and what was his life. The book relies heavily on how film affects the watcher, and that the film can become a part of you. This book is deeply funny mind trip that only the writer of such films as Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind could write. This is Charlie Kaufman’s first novel and it is a doozy. This is the kind of novel that I think could be heavily discussed in college literature classes, because there’s a lot to explore and debate about, what is part of the film and what is a dream? The book is 720 pages and should have been well over a hundred pages shorter, it has as many endings as Return of the King, I slapped my forehead once of reading more. This is a book that I see being really divided over, some loving while others put it as do not finish. Antkind is a cross between a Kurt Vonnegut novel and A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Thanks to netgalley and Random House for the copy. Antkind was published on 7-7-20.

The Plot: B. Rosenburger Rosenburg is a film critic that dives deep into the avant garde film. He goes to Florida to dive deep into the a 1908 film that is the first portrayal of a transgender on screen. Upon this trip he meets his neighbor that claims he was in the film, because he is a time traveler. As B. gets to know his neighbor he learns he is a filmmaker and has an animated film featuring puppets that know one has seen before. B. indulges himself and agrees to watch the film, the film that is untitled is 30 days long, it is about the past, present, and future. The filmmaker dies midway through the first watch, but B. is so committed now thinking this the greatest film that he has ever seen continues to watch (as a film critic his rule is to watch a movie 7 times). He doesn’t make it through the second viewing as the film burns up and B. is in a coma. He makes it his life’s work to remember everything, but he soon can’t tell his life from the film as it consumes him and his dreams.

What I Liked: There’s an on going joke about the character of B. being mistaken for jewish because of his name and appearance, that I never grew tired about. There a scene about Donald Tump (or Trunk) as he becomes to enamored with his animatronic robot from Disney’s Hall of Presidents that he orders one and it becomes his best friend. There’s a couple of scenes about Vaudeville duo Mudd and Moroony where a stage accident send one into a coma and changes his outlook on life and wants to play the straight man in the comedy act instead of the foyle. The compromise is two straight men, which is funny because how bad it is. I like the common debate does life imitate art or does art imitate life? B. is a film critic that loathes the films of Charlie Kaufman, and destroys everyone of his films. I like his nicknames for favorite directors. Theirs a lot of praise for filmmakers Judd Apatow and Wes Anderson. I liked a lot of the humor, especially the self analysis humor about his idiosyncrasy.

What I Disliked: Like all first time writers the novel is long and over bloated. I could trim 150 pages easily and have almost the same book. I don’t like the title, at the end of the novel it gets to the meaning of Antkind. The ending was all over the place I saw five times where it could have ended, and kept going and going.

Recommendations: I’m going to barely recommend this, the story is all over the place, it has strong metaphors about life and dreams, with bits of laugh out loud moments. The story is overly long, but there some diamond in the rough moments that really save it. I think literature majors are going to get a lot more out of it than I did; there is a lot to debate and discuss. I rated Antkind by Charlie Kaufman 3 out of 5 stars. This review rating tore me up I kept bouncing back and forth between 3 and 4 stars, but I thought the endings and overly long put it in the barely 3 stars category.

Wrap Up: June Book Reviews 2020

Hello dear readers, June has been quite a month. I cannot believe we have hit the mid point of the year.  Look forward to my best of books I have read so far this year, coming out soon. I managed to read 6 novels this month.  I read zero rereads  this month. I read one graphic novel, one book that has been on my TBR for years now The Shining by Stephen King. I read one new release, thanks to Netgalley. I read a couple books in a series, and was able to finish the Power of the Dog series, this year it has been my goal to finish more series, I had a bad habit of starting a series and not finishing it. So far I have finished 2 trilogies, and have made gins in on-going series.   Thank you, to all followers I just hit 2 years running this blog yesterday, and it has both inspired me and uplifted my passion for reading thanks to you.

Five Star Reviews:

The Shining by Stephen King is a truly horrific book. Alcohol and ghosts do not mix! King gets into true fear, having someone you love, a father and husband, say, “I’m going to bash your brains”, then attempt to do it. The Shining is a ghost story but the scariest monster in the book is addictions and how it changes your rational choices, to choices that jeopardize your family. This Novel has been on my TBR for 15-20 years always meaning to read it but had not, until now.  I was shocked how different the book and the movie were, liking some and loathing some choices, but all in all a scary read, with truly horrific images, that only King can deliver.

Four Star Reviews:


The Border By Don Winslow takes the epic tale of DEA agent Art Keller and his war on drugs to a worthy conclusion. The Border is book three in the Power of the Dog series. This series starts in 1975 and takes us all the way up to 2019. The Border mirrors events that happened in real life and tweek them to fit the narrative, making it feel very real and current. The previous books in the series have remained in Mexico, but this book looks at the drug war going on in America. This book reminded me of J. R. Tolkien’s Return of the King when they destroyed the ring, they go back the shire is under siege (that happens in the book not the movie). Art Keller spent so many years trying to destroy drug kingpins in Mexico, that he returns to see that drugs are all around and didn’t stop anything. I did not like The Border as much as The Power of the Dog and The Cartel which were both 5 stars, but this delivered a pretty could conclusion wrapping up the series really well.

Welcome to Camp Nightmare by R. L. Stine is book 9 in the original Goosebumps series. Welcome to Camp Nightmare is scarier than most of the Goosebumps I have read before. The ending is a good twist that is set up from the start with little hints along the way, in my last review of The Girl Who Cried Monster Goosebumps 8 this was a big complaint. The Psychological horror of being stranded and having people go missing, that no one remembers being there in the first place works really well.

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells is the third installment of The Murderbot Diaries. This novella like the previous stories in the Murderbot Diaries follows an A.I. SecUnit that is self aware and detached from the mainframe that controls all other SecUnits. He refers to himself as Murderbot because he has murdered hundreds as he was controlled and part of the mainframe. He know tries to discover mysteries of his past. The Murderbot Diaries are part character study and part action adventure. The character study is usually the best part, but I preferred the action a little bit more in this installment.

Three Star Reviews:

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks, is a fiction that is written like a nonfiction having a journal, expert interviews, and family interviews. The Legend of Bigfoot is something that I have always been curious about, this book does the research on past Bigfoot sitings and makes a story out of it. I like Bigfoot but I’m not a fanatic (note: though growing up I did name one of my dog’s Bigfoot), I think fanatics and believers will get a lot more out of this book than I did. I ‘m sad to say I found the first half of this book very boring, with me only connecting with two characters. Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing group Ballentine Del Rey.

 Two Star Reviews:

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four Volume 2 By Brian Buccellato is all about the new Gods (Superman, Wonder Woman, Hal Jordan, and the Flash) v. the old Gods (Zeus, Hera, and Hermes). Superman kills Zeus’ son Hercules, and in retaliation Zeus strips Shazam of his powers and sends him along with Harley Quinn to the underworld. We learn more about Ares, the God of War, plan for more war and who is pulling his strings. This Volume has been my least favorite so far, there was a couple of cool moments, but the dialogue remains stale and uninspired.

Book Review: Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells is the third installment of The Murderbot Diaries. This novella like the previous stories in the Murderbot Diaries follows an A.I. SecUnit that is self aware and detached from the mainframe that controls all other SecUnits. He refers to himself as Murderbot because he has murdered hundreds as he was controlled and part of the mainframe. He know tries to discover mysteries of his past. The Murderbot Diaries are part character study and part action adventure. The character study is usually the best part, but I preferred the action a little bit more in this installment. The thing that drives this series is Murderbot wants to be alone, but situations keep thrusting him into action. I like how he manipulates other robots that are all to ready to conspire with him, without human knowledge.

The Plot: In the first Murderbot novella All Systems Red, Muderbot hired by a team of scientist doing lad surveys on a planet, a shadow company, GrayCris, has been doing it’s own research on the planet, and found aliens have visited it and have left technology, they fear the scientists finding out and send a kill order of the scientist. Murderbot saves them as they find out about the alien visit and learn more about the GrayCris, Murderbot is bought by the scientists and granted freedom. Murderbot runs away. In the second Murderbot book Artificial Condition Murderbot investigates the place where he became a mass murderer and finds out he was hacked and taken over by GrayCris that wanted settlers dead. In Rogue Protocol Murderbot is going to a planet that GrayCris deleted from record. Murderbot wants to grab proof of a coverup and give it to the scientists who released him and still fighting GrayCris. He joined a survey team that doesn’t understand what they are walking into, he lies his way in as security, and reluctantly has to protect the humans and a naive droid he has nicknamed Puppybot.

What I Liked: Miki or Puppybot as Murderbot thinks of him, is a different side of A.I. one that is shown and only knows love. His interaction with the very cynical Murderbot are what make this book so fun. I loved seeing Mili showing the strength that rubbed off of Murderbot near the end. I liked Murderbot, who is an avid consumer of T.V. shows quoting some of the lines that applied to criminal justice, to the would be criminal were really good. Murderbot plot summary of the first two books made me laugh, because of how cynical it was to the human’s and the robot’s that helped him but still not really wanting their help to begin with. The action was really good and easier to follow in the past. The twist was pretty great because it was so plausible and made you think a character’s motivation went one way when it was the other.

What I Disliked: The plot setup is getting formulaic. Murderbot travels somewhere using lies to hide true intention, gets to destination and someone gets double crossed, he has to complete original mission by saving dumb humans. The books are different but I got a little plot Deja Vu.

Recommendation: I totally recommend this series, it’s fun, it is one heck of a character study, and it has amazing Science Fiction action. One of the cover quotes I really agreed with is, “One of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman, I’ve ever read” by Annalee Newitz. I rated Rogue Protocol 4 out of 5 stars. I will continue reading the Murderbot Diaries series that is currently 5 books comprised of 4 novella and one novel. So far every book has been 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks, is a fiction that is written like a nonfiction having a journal, expert interviews, and family interviews. The Legend of Bigfoot is something that I have always been curious about, this book does the research on past Bigfoot sitings and makes a story out of it. I like Bigfoot but I’m not a fanatic (note: though growing up I did name one of my dog’s Bigfoot), I think fanatics and believers will get a lot more out of this book than I did. I ‘m sad to say I found the first half of this book very boring, with me only connecting with two characters. At the end of this novel in the acknowledgements it was said that this was a failed movie script that got novel, the way it was written a movie would have worked better. The second half is a rip roaring action/survival that does not let up. The story turns into a man verse monster book. The action is fierce and unrelenting. In the end, the unbalance and the limited characters to truly root for, made the intense action too late to totally save this story from just more than an okay from me. Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks is Published on 6-16-20. Thanks to Netflix and Random House Publishing group Ballentine Del Rey.


The Plot: We learn early on there is a village up in the Rainer Mountains totally cut off from civilization thanks to an active volcano. The village was an experiment by tech savy artists and environmentalist, to live off nature and still be connected to tech. The village, Greenloop, is found burned down and torn to shreds with bodies of all but two members of the village who are declared missing with only a journal left behind. The journal explains that Greenloop was a attacked by Sasquatch. The journal, the journal writer’s brother, and various experts go over the tale adding insights, and analyze if it is believed to be true or not.

What I Liked: I love the man verse nature verse monster aspect. I wish this was featured through out the novel just not at the back half. The idea for Greenloop society was interesting. I loved the character of Ms. Monstar the tough older lady, artist that has seen war and knows how to survive, teaching the tech people how to go to war was interesting. I also liked the husband of Kate the journal writer that found himself as the village handy man. The brutal action, was a highlight of the book. You have never read about a Sasquatch being so vicious, it was kind of like seeing all the treats that Han gives to people about Chewbacca in Star Wars played out. The first arm rip off is a doozy. I didn’t really identify with Kate, the journal writer, but I do love the speculation of her brother, at what happened to her and the closure that he got through it.

What I Disliked: Too many chapters were dedicated to the research of other villages like Greenloop, at first it was interesting but it went on and on. It took too long for the Sasquatch to show up or even get teased. I did feel the ranger had too much information on the Sasquatch legend and mythical creatures in different countries. This book needed to have a conspiracy theorist who runs a Bigfoot watch to break up the science.

Recommendations: I think Sasquatch fans will like this more than I did, so I recommend this to them. This one is a hard one for me the beginning was hard to get through, then the second half was everything I wanted to ever see a Sasquatch do. I will barely recommend this one. I have not been this torn on a review in quite some time. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the Summer. I rated Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks 3 out of 5 stars. I have not read a Max Brooks all the way through, I have read most of the Zombie Survival guide, and love the satirical tone, World War Z has been in my TBR pile for so long. I liked the action in this and will one day read more Max Brooks.