Book Review: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott the unabridged version is a classic that remains relevant even today. A perfect coming of age story that highlights adolescence to adulthood.  The girls reveal their souls in text, along with hopes and dreams for the future. I have seen the excellent Little Women: the Musical about seven years ago, and have wanted to read the text since. With the new movie coming out starring Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, Eliza Scanlen, Chris Copper, and Meryl Streep directed by Greta Gerwig, getting all kinds of reviews, and my sisters gushed over it, I thought now was the time to finally read this classic. I enjoyed it, it was almost 150 years ago and the characterizations of the March sisters hold up today. I know those girls, I see them in my sisters and my larger family, making the story easily relatable me. The novel is told almost as vignettes, or more accurately “slices of life” involving the girls and occasionally Laurie the neighbor who becomes a part of the family.  The mother’s advice to her girls I still found current today and still very profound. This novel has the best portrayal of the dreaded friend-zone relationship ever, so heartbreaking! If I were still in college I would do a paper on Jo and her younger sister Amy’s relationship, and how Amy is conditioned early to take things that are Jo’s away. I do wish this was explored a bit more. I need to read more classic’s I always feel like a know the story but reading the text gives all of these nuances that I would not have learned and known.

The Plot: This novel takes place during the Civil War and after it. Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth are getting raised by Marmee their mother, while there father is serving in the war. He father gives advise through letters and refers to the girls as his little women. Jo is the Tomboy who writes and seeks adventure, Meg is the oldest and serious on that despises being poor and plans to marry rich, Beth is the sweet one that you just want to take care of, and Amy the youngest is incredibly selfish and rebellious. There world is made more fun as Laurie the grandson of their neighbor come to like next door, his adventurous sprit and love for pranks soon makes him part of the March family. They live their lives learning life lessons and grow up in the process.

What I Liked: The characters are amazing, this novel is not crazy plot heavy but I really enjoyed hanging and growing old with these characters. Jo and Laurie are my absolute favorites, I like almost everyone though they were perfect for each other. Marmee’s advice and the way she feels about God were really powerful and pure, I loved hearing about how she dealt with her anger over the years and had to work to develop patience. The advice she gave Meg about family was really great as well, and still really relevant today. I enjoyed the poetry and the writing with in the book, but the poetry really stuck out, especially the last poem in the book In the Garret, with the way the poem describes Beth.

What I Disliked: We didn’t get Jo’s thoughts on the Civil War, Jo was such a progressive character when it came to a women’s place I would have wanted to hear how she thought about slavery. I’m sure there were many reason’s during the time that this was published not to say anything, but it would have been nice. I did not like the Jo and Professor’s relationship at all, as a pair they just did not work for me. The characters are strong but the book does have some lag due to it not bing too plot heavy.

Recommendations: I think this novel is perfect for the YA audience, it read way more current than I thought. If you have just started a new family and need raising children advice there are some gems of information in this book. If you want to tell a friend he is in the friend zone, give them this book and say we are just like Jo and Laurie. I enjoyed Little women by Louisa May Alcott and rated this story 4 out of 5 stars. I the past year I have been reading more classic’s I have read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Rebecca, We have Always lived in the Castle, and now this. My next classic will be Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling.

Wrap Up: December 2019 Book Reviews

Hello Readers, December is done and gone as well as the decade. I have already written my best of 2010 -2019 check it out! I have had a fair amount of comments about my number 2 pick of Stephen King’s 11/22/63 which is really fantastic and King’s best work in years it was nice to see the reading community behind that one because I did not see it on too many Best of the decade list. I read 5 books this month one five star book that made it on to my best of the year post at number six. I read one advanced copy thanks to Netgalley and Flatiron Books.

5 Star Book Review:

The Wanders  by Chuck Wendig – a novel that is an epic tale that manages to balance the worship of both technology and religion, while throwing in the end of the world as we know it type scenario. An epidemic has started in America that make people start sleepwalking but can’t be woken, their family members at as shepherds guiding them to their final destination, when and where ever that will be. People don’t know if they’re angels or devils. This Novel is written in the vein as Stephen King’s The Stand.

4 Star Book Reviews:

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix – a fun horror read, with the best cover ever, resembling an 80’s VHS cover, that dips into eighties nostalgia and at it’s core is about real friendship. This novel knows what it is and has fun with the tropes it sets. Think of this novel as a an adult version of Christopher Pike and R. L. Stine’s Fear Street both of the novelist got their start in the 80’s and had a formula for just how far the novels will go. This novel borrows off of it but where those books won’t cross a line, this novel does it with glee.

Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean – a bleak tale of survival involving eight kids and three adults stuck on an island made of black rock in the Wales. The story is based on a true story, with a lot of fictional license taken. The novel can’t help but remind me of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, as young boy’s are thrust in to adulthood but still have the pressures of fitting in. Thanks to Netgalley and Flatiron Books for the advanced copy.

3 Star Book Reviews:

Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole is the Top Gun of the Star Wars novels. The novel is about X-Wing missions after the Empire has fallen. The space battles are well crafted and even if this wasn’t Star Wars the war games are strategically sound and well thought out. This is the first of the X-Wing novels that follows Wedge Antilles and the Rogue Squadron who in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi defeated both the Deathstars. This one was really more of a three and a half star review, the ending was just okay, but there’s some good character work.

Rocket Raccoon and Groot is a marvel comics graphic novel, featuring the unlikely pair from Guardians of the Galaxy. This novel features Free Comic Book Day 2014 (Rocket Raccoon) #1, Rocket Raccoon #5, Marvel Universe Guardians of the Galaxy#1-2 and #5, and Groot #2. This collection is best when it is just Rocket Raccoon and Groot. They very cleverly use the only phrase Groot uses which of course is “I am Groot”. I bought this for my nephew for Christmas, and just wanted to do a content check, if it was appropriate for a 7 almost 8 year old. Which I felt it was it’s fun and has good artwork which is all he cares about.

My Top Ten Books: of this Decade 2010-2019

Wow is this Decade over already it moved way to fast.  While making this list I kept thing of the amazing books that I have read, that were published this decade.  There was a lot too choose from.  I hope you enjoy my list, and i can’t wait for what the next decade holds for us, readers.

  1. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – This is a book I’ve recommend time after time,   it deals with Ursula Todd and her many lives, it is not reincarnation, but a woman who lives the same life over and over in 1910 usually to World War II , It is like the film Groundhogs Day, but over an entire lifetime, and she can’t remember the choices exactly but she has intuition to save herself from traumatic events in her life and family.  It really analyzes why we make the choices we do, and it made me immediately think of my own life and choices.

 

  1. 11/22/63 by Stephen King – this novel was an instant classic for me. It has one of the better endings for a King novel. It is so much more than the Kennedy assassination. This is a story of choices and the repercussions of those choices; it has romance, adventure, spying, conspiracy, and a whole lot of heart. This was a novel that I thought I knew where it was going, but boy was I wrong and couldn’t be happier. This book is an incredible journey, with so much vivid detail; you’ll feel like you lived this adventure.

 

  1. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – This book is EPIC!!! The first book in the Stormlight Archive series. Too much plot to give a brief summary. Incredible world building, great organic magic system, excellent characters both heroes and villains. This is 1253 page book that you will be sad is over thankfully the book is a ten book series with the forth book coming out in 2020.

 

  1. Vicious by V. E. Schwab – This wasn’t your standard good Vs. evil it was kind of evil thinking he was good Vs. evil that still has some good in him. I love what this book does for the super hero genre.  It could be compared to Professor X and Magento, with different powers, and instead of one bad guy there is two each with his own ideas, thinking they were doing good. This novel has one sequel, Vengeful that was nearly as good and expanded the series in really different ways.

 

  1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – This is the first book that I remember being floored by the twist. This book is already a classic as it gets compared to every novel with a good twist. This novel is dark revels in it. I remember reading this in an afternoon I could not stop.

 

  1. Red Rising by Pierce Brown – This novel started a series that is now five books and a six forthcoming. The first book was Hunger Games meets Game of Thrones. The novel plays out like a Greek tragedy. I loved this book so much, I recommended it a lot! Where a lowly red race who works in the mines ruled over by the gold race on Mars. When Darrow’s wife is murdered for defiance by a Gold he wants to go the same way, he is recused and made to look like a gold so he can infiltrate them, and change things on the inside, he soon finds out the Gold’s will murder there own to get a head as well.

 

  1. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – Ove is a wonderful book it reminded me of the Pixar movie “Up”, only instead of Carl wanting to have a balloon filled adventure, he wants to commit suicide. This book is a dramaedy it’s 30 percent drama and 70 percent comedy. It still manages to be heart breaking, tears welled up in my eyes as I finished this book, because the characterization is that good. It is rumored that Tom Hanks will play Ove for an American remake.

 

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – We follow Starr who is in a car that’s stopped by the police with broken taillight, the driver is an old friend of the neighborhood who has fallen on rough times and starts selling drugs. The white police officer shoot the friend at the stop who the officer thought was going for a weapon as he checked on Starr. Starr is the loan witness and has to decide if she wants to stick up and say the truth about the incident. This book is pretty amazing with it’s approach about talking about important issues like, like black lives matter movement, interracial couples, gang violence, whether or not to talk to the police, why some people sell drugs, death of a loved one and prison life.

 

  1. NOS4AU by Joe Hill – A great horror story that shuck me to my core. Vic can travel anywhere she wishes by a magical bridge. She crosses paths with Charles Manx who has the same gift uses it for evil. If he wants to go somewhere it is to take children so they cannot get back. This novel will ruin Christmas for every one.

 

  1. The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager –   “What none of them understand is that the point isn’t to fool others with a lie. The goal is to trick them by telling the truth.” The twist are incredible, there was two gut punches of twist, I haven’t been hit this hard since the Gone Girl twist. This novel takes you back to the sleepaway camp days, it will give you nostalgia and chills. I have read ever Rilely Sager book he is one of my top authors of this decade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Top Ten Books: of the Last Decade 2000 -2009

Hey all my fellow readers, in anticipation of this decade soon ending and me painstakingly lowering the over 400 books I have read in this decade, down to the ten best. I thought it would be fun for me to post my list of the ten best of the last decade that I originally posted to Facebook ten years ago.  I can not wait to check and compare everyones list and discover new reads.  The one thing I noticed the most is the little variety in genres that I  have now made up for. I t is a little crazy that 7 out of ten have gotten turned into either a movie of a series, with one that is currently available  Happy reading!
Best Books from 2000 up to the end of 2009

10. Timeline by Micheal Crichton – is one of the smart’s book about time travel, made into the stupidest movie, I was so disappointed. Crichton does so much research to have it all flushed away in the film.

9. Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst-  this is a thought provoking novel about a husband who can’t deal with his wife’s death that he tries to teach the only witness to see the death, the family dog, to communicate with what he’s seen, if the death was an accident or something more.

8. Cell by Stephen King – the first fifty pages of this book are utterly terrifying, a new zombie novel about zombies created from technology, no one writes an apocalypse like King.

7. Choke by Chuck Palahnuik – this is a novel about a sex addict who works at a Middle Ages park and that chokes on food so people will feel like heroes and want to take care of him, he and other are lead to believe through a series of event that he is the second coming of christ. This kind of a crazy feel good novel, where the character learns to grow up. this was turned into a movie starring Sam Rockwell and Clark Gregg, and was actually directed by Clark Gregg who is agent Coulson in the Avengers and Agents of Shield.

6. American Gods by Neil Gaiman – This book is about the mythological Gods of America, there’s the god of TV, and Radio, all preparing for a huge battle with all the other Gods, and on man who’s the son of a god and a Woman. The book sounds simple enough but this plot is only a subplot for a smart mystery of a serial killer.

5 Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill – who’s really Stephen King’s Son, His Debut novel reminds you of his Dad’s early stuff this is a really smart ghost story that will really scare you. The ghost doesn’t let daylight or crowded restaurant stop him this ghost story that doesn’t let up till the very end.

4.Life of Pi – by Yann Martel this book is so good, even though there are some slow part and at some points I really wondered where the story was going. Where it takes you I would never have imagined. I never would have thought that a book about an Indian boy, a Zebra, and a Tiger would have been so entertaining and have such a great ending. Turned into a movie that one best director for Ang Lee at the Oscars.

3. Water For Elephants – another book marketed as being chick lit, even though the main character is a man and there is masterbating dwarf, that probably won’t make it into the movie (it did not make it into the movie). This book reminds me of the way Stephen King’s The Green Mile was told. It’s about an old man in a nursing home that reflects on his life as he worked on a traveling circus in the 30’s. This is a love story, but it’s also about death and about how you want to leave this earth, waiting for it or doing something you love as your welcoming it.

2 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Micheal Chambon – a book about World War I and II, 1930’s comic book writer’s starting a company creating heroes to deal with what they think of the war, this book also is about being jewish, about being gay, about going to war a supporting your country, the early movies in the thirty’s, and life in early New York City. It deals with even more then that and it all makes total sense, to where the characters wind up.

1. Shutter Island by Denis Lehane – this book is a page turner, that you can’t put down the ending will have you talking for days arguing with your friends about the ending. Hopefully the movie keeps that part alive.  is an illusion or isn’t it is it a hallucination or will the end answer that question, but then ask you even more allowing you to question the answers you’ve just learned. A great read that’s just fun to talk about.

Book Review: Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig is a novel that is an epic tale that manages to balance the worship of both technology and religion, while throwing in the end of the world as we know it type scenario. Wanderers has easily made it into my top five list of books in 2019. This novel is in good company as a pre and post apocalyptic novel. The novel acknowledges such novels as Stephen King’s The Stand, Robert McCammon’s Swan Song, Margret Atwood’s Handmaiden’s Tale, and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. This novel is going to get compared more to Stephen King’s Stand than any other’s, here’s the similarities in it’s cast it has an aging rock star, Las Vegas is described the same way in both, Colorado is a home base for some of the travelers, and A plot line involves a pregnant walker. Despite the those similarities this novel is an epic ride with huge twist and with a very, very satisfying ending. The ending deserves a slow clap, it had action and heart all rolled into one. This novel is almost 800 pages and I could have read more, for a novel it’s size the pacing had a couple of dips but is pretty steady throughout. The humor and social commentary on movies, music, and social media are great. I could have done with out the political commentary, (Creel was Donald Trump and Hunt was Hillary Clinton) it was on the nose maybe too much it’s hard for escapist reading if you’re reminded of our sometimes dangerous political climate.

The Plot: One day Nessie, a brilliant high school student gets a glazed look in her eye and goes into a sleepwalking state. Shana her older sister notices and followers her out the door and down the street, she ties an she can do to make her stop, Nessie starts getting hot and her skin turns red, and she powers through her sister. Nessie is then joined by more walkers as they are called. The police are called and one overly ambitious officer tries tasers but they have no effect. The officer manages to use his brute strength to move one into his cop car where the body then explodes killing and burning the officer to death. More start to join what is known as the flock, which are followed by their family who act as shepherds. The military and the CDC join the parade as they look for a cure and for protection. Some people see the flock as heaven sent and the start off revelations. But others see them as Devil’s Pilgrimage. Those that fear the flock take measures into their own hands to stop them by force. Benji a disgraced agent of the CDC is given a second chance as a powerful A.I. known as Black Swan believes he’s the key to solving this whole thing, but this isn’t the only epidemic breaking out, in this world gone mad.

What I Liked: This huge novel is a character piece and I enjoyed a majority of the character, Like Arav, Sadie, Pete, Marcy, and Benji who was my favorite a man that convictions are so strong he will sabotage everything to do what’s right. The character arc’s were really good two character change a lot and it was interesting to go on that journey with them. The downfall of society from social media perspective was really effective and at times powerful. The walkers were cool the way they were described and what they can do made them unique. The explanation of the walkers was well explained and a really clever idea in itself. The ending is great very satisfying, when compared to The Stand this ending was way more plausible. it had exciting action, and great finish. I liked that every character didn’t get a happy ending, there’s one ending that I’m sure is going to upset people that, I kind of enjoyed because it felt real and raw ultimately more heartbreaking that the character didn’t get the closure they wanted. I really like Black Swan the A. I. as a character really worked for me, it’s motivation for survival rivaled the human’s. The epidemic of White Mask was described really well.

What I Disliked: Shana as the main character, was sometimes so whiny, and she had a lot of secrets which made her character tough to get to know and connect. I think the political stuff was at times too heavy handed, from a story standpoint it wasn’t necessary, it could have been all about a religious debate instead of throwing politics into them. That being said the author made the choice because he wanted to make a social commentary about today’s political climate and how easily it could be radicalized and maybe it already has. The cover is so boring and this novel is so exciting, so please don’t judge this book by it’s cover.

Recommendations: If you like big epic novels like The Stand And Swan Song then you will like this. This novel does have some trigger warnings of Rape, violence, addiction, and gore. This novel is a great Science fiction in the vein of Michael Chrichton where the science is well thought out and easily explained. I rated Wanderers by Chuck Wendig despite some flaws 5 out of 5. This was my first Chuck Wendig book and will not be my last, I have a friend that has been recommending his Star Wars Aftermath series for some time now.

Wrap Up: November 2019 Book Reviews

Wow one more month left in the year, 2019 is flying by. With my new work schedule allowing a little more time for reading, I completed 8 books this month. Two books this month have made it on my top five list of the year. I had 3 books that were five stars, 3 books that were four stars, and 2 that were three stars. One of the books was an advanced readers copy thanks to Netgalley. This month I reached over 600 followers, thanks every one for the support. I met and exceeded my reading goal of 65 books this year.

Five Star Reviews:

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – A woman is found in a catatonic state as she is covered in the blood of her husband, who had been shot multiple times, a psychotherapist believes he is the only man to make her talk again. A fantastic debut thriller with a twist ending that changes everything. This book is a little Hitchcockian with the added bonus of a Greek tragedy that will keep you on the edge of your seat until you know the truth.

Recursion by Blake Crouch – A cop is exposed to FMS (False Memory Syndrome) where all the people in their social circle remember a different lifetime of memories other then their own. Recursion mind bending Science Fiction, I would say like no other, but this is the writer of Dark Matter, so mind bending is what he just does. A good science fiction for me makes me ask questions about the potential future and this book will compel you to ask questions. The story is all about memories of the past and how we connect to them, and second-guess the choices we made in those instances.

The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – A book that takes real people and actions during World War II and creates a compelling work of fiction that fells very true. Lilac Girls follows three women Kasia a Polish teenager who works for the underground against the Nazis, Herta a young German doctor that works at women’s German prison camp, and Caroline an American that volunteers at the French Consulate and helps the war effort. These tales are all connected in some way and intermingle at times

Four Star Reviews:

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware – an anxiety filled psychological thriller about a woman invited to a Bachelorette party ten years after having a fall out with the bride to be, twist, turns, and murder are abound.   It makes you fill claustrophobic but yet on display. This is my second Ruth Ware novel I caught the hype train and read The Women in Cabin 10, I have to say I liked this one a whole lot better.

Let’s Get Invisible by R. L. Stine – this is the sixth in the original Goosebumps series. This one is all about invisibility, the ultimate way to play hide and seek. Stine always adds something real and relevant to his horrors and this time it is addiction and peer pressure.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – A book that cast a spell on your knowledge of witches and vampires and one of the best stories of introducing vampires and witches and their to world history, literature, and sciences. Diane accidently breaks a powerful protection spell on a book that is the holy grail of vampires, witches, and daemons, that tells how they were made and can be destroyed, this draws danger as all species want that book for their own purposes.

Three Star Reviews:

Once Upon a Dream: A Disney Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell – A book from Disney’s Twisted Tales Series, where reader are given alternative versions of classic Disney stories by having what if questions. For Once Upon a Dream the what if scenario is, What if Sleeping Beauty never woke up? We get a clever plot, but with a slow start.

Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand – An interesting Historical Fiction mixed with a mystery. The story takes place in 1915 Fair grounds in Chicago about twenty years after the World’s Fair fire and the serial killer H.H. Holmes, with it’s own serial killer to deal with. The history is a big part I was constantly reminded of the nonfiction work The Devil in the White City, which covered the 1893 Chicago’s World’s Fair. This is a decent story with a strong LGTBQ lead character. A special thanks to Netgalley and Mulholland Books for giving me a copy.

 

 

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is book that cast a spell on your knowledge of witches and vampires. This book is one of the All Souls trilogy, it is one of the best books of introducing vampires and witches and their additions to world history and sciences. The book is really well researched on the history and plausibly inserts the creatures into time. This book reminded me of some of my favorite parts of Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles and The Mayfair Witches, the history and the romance. It creates and explains it’s own rules for each creature, mocking their Hollywood interpretations. Diane the main character is a strong witch that does need any saving my vampire or witch. I like that this book is quest for the holy grail tale reversed, instead of finding out about human life they want a book that explains the creation of vampires, witches, and daemons (not a typo, it is a creature at uses influence to madding effect, the super smart, that could go crazy at any moment) and also how to destroy them. The novel pays out like a chess match making continuous moves and sacrifices along the way. A Discovery of Witches is a show on AMC that is currently in it’s second season starring Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer.

The Plot: Diana Bishop is a professor at Oxford and also a witch. She knows what she is but very reluctant to use any of her powers only for trivial stuff, like not finding her glasses. She knows of Vampires and Daemons can feel their presence. Diana while doing research on alchemy stumbles across a book she needs in the Oxford library. the book is old with a seal preventing it from being opened, she need this book and it reluctantly opens, and Diana can feel a spell being lifted. She does research with it a notices the pages when in light reveal hidden text, she would love to explore this more but her need is done, she shuts the book and the seal reforms making the magic reactivate, and returns it. What she didn’t know is that no one has seen that book in hundreds of years and the book holds secrets of life and death to witches, vampires and daemons. When the magic was released others felt it’s power. Matthew an over 1,000 year old vampire wants the book and starts following Diana and protecting her from others who want the book. The book draws an ancient order that will stop at nothing for the secrets of the book.

What I Liked: The history in this book is so good I felt very real and plausible. The lore changes to Vampires and Witches were really thought full and explained where the movies and book borrowed from. The haunted witch house were my favorite scenes with the grandma witch in ghost form criticizing her ancestor’s choices. The family dynamic of vampires, this is the first book that I have read where the maker is referred to as mother and father while the new vampire is referred to as son of daughter. The aspect of the book and the secrets it holds was really intriguing and held my interest. I enjoyed that Diana’s character was so head strong and wasn’t a damsel in distress. I really liked the bad guys and only wished I could have spent more time with them in this book. I really enjoyed the side characters of Marcus, Miriam, and Hamish. The love aspect took be quite a while to be fully on board but when more was reveled in terms of fate I enjoyed it more and it became less forced. The mystery surrounding the death of Diana’s parents and what they did to protect her. The lead in to the next book is really intriguing, it seems like all the things that I liked in this book will expanded. The magic was really good I especially liked the witchwater scene and witchfire usage.

What I Disliked: All the conversations about wine, too much! There’s people out to kill us, let’s take a while and talk of this Bordeaux. The pacing to me was sometime frustrating, there’s a book that can hold the secret to everything we know of witches, vampires, and daemons, and it takes 200 pages to try to summon the book again, while we had ten wine conversations. What I failed to see was all the information on history was pulling the book in a different direction, which I enjoyed where the book ended up but would have enjoyed a faster pace pulling me there.

Recommendations: If you want a smart new take on the vampire genre, then A Discovery of Witches is the book. If you’re a history buff, you’ll geek out after Matthew is inserted Forest Gump-like into literature, history, and science as well as witches and daemons influences as well. This book captures the imagine because it it so well thought out in terms of history. If you’re a wine connoisseur then you will find all the wine conversation way more fascinating than I did. I rate this book 4out of 5 stars. My girlfriend has read all the books says that I will like the 2nd book a lot better, so I look forward to it and the history.

Book Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion by Blake Crouch is a mind bending Science Fiction, I would say like no other, but this is the writer of Dark Matter, so mind bending is what he just does.  A good science fiction for me makes me ask questions about the potential future and this book will compel you to ask questions. The story is all about memories of the past and how we connect to them, and second guess the choices we made in those instances. I was thrown into my own life and thought about my own memories the happiest and the saddest. This story can be compared to Inception meets Primer with some Edge of Tomorrow thrown in. This novel like Dark Matter is a story that goes off the rails, you will not know where this story is heading, it changes directions at least 3 times, but man is it a good ride. Blake Crouch is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, I was super bummed when I was not selected for the ARC on netgalley for this book. I liked the story as a whole a lot better than Dark Matter, but the twist hit me a little harder in Dark Matter, but Recursion has more of them. Blake Crouch’s work has been turned into series and he has some upcoming like Wayward Pines a 2 season show that aired on Fox staring Matt Dillon, Good Behavior which is based on a novella just finished season 2 on TNT, Dark Matter is to be a film at Sony, and he sold Recursion to be a series on Netflix produced by Shonda Rhimes of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy.

The Plot: Barry a detective in robbery homicide gets a call about a possible jumper, he’s the first to meet Ann, as she sit on the edge of the roof. Barry thinks of ways to tackle her and drag her away but pauses when it is revealed she has FMS False Memory Syndrome. A new disease that travels in social circles and could be contagious, the disease makes a person have a whole lifetime of other memories from their own. Ann describes how she is all alone but she remember having a loving husband and a son in her memories. She tracked the man down, and he didn’t know her or want to do anything with her. Ten years earlier Helena is a researcher at Stanford in memory she hopes to one day cure the Alzheimer disease that her mother has. She gets an offer she can’t refuse for full funding for a project she’s dreamed about, but never told anyone about. her financier seem to know more about her and her project than meets the eye. This research either leads to the cure or the cause of FMS.

What I Liked: This story goes everywhere, even when writing the plot for this review is only one eighth of the story, you can not predict where this story is going to go. I could compare it to one of my favorite Tv shows American Horror Story, where you never know where the plot line is heading. The twist are layered throughout and keep you guessing. There’s a real heart to the story and a sweet love story about second chances. The action when it there is really good. The bad guy has a good deal of layers and motive for his actions. I did not like Helena’s character at first but grew to really love her. The two character perspective of Helena and Barry really works. I was never confused by the narrative, and this story is one that could easily get confused with in another writer’s hand. I love the questions this story ask about memory. The science isn’t crazy detailed but I felt it was just enough.

What I Disliked: Helena’s character does take a little while to love, at first I was really missing the Barry chapters, but here character does get better. This novel repeats its self a lot, I had a couple friends not like Dark Matter for that reason alone and since it is memory it is more. I really noticed it at the end I think that Crouch tried to make it different, sometime he succeeded sometimes he failed. I thought Barry’s character was sometimes too smart for his background.

Recommendations: If you liked Dark Matter you will like this book, when both of these books ended I collected my thought and thought of the science fiction questions asked and put in my own life. I like science fiction that makes me think and this did. If you like stories about memories then you will love this book. I acknowledge this book has flaws but the story experience is one to beat, so I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars. This is my second five star review fro Blake Crouch and eagerly anticipate his next one, I actually plan to reread Dark Matter and post the review on this site, since I was still so new at reviewing the first time I read it.

Book Review: Once Upon A Dream, a Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell

Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell is a book from Disney’s Twisted Tales Series, where reader are given alternative versions of classic Disney stories by having What if questions. For Once Upon a Dream the what if scenario is, What if Sleeping Beauty never woke up? This scenario really hooked me, to get this book for my girlfriend, which Sleeping Beauty is her favorite story, and she let me read it after her. I was excited that it was actually Disney doing it. This is a YA book and it went over a lot of things I didn’t see the book tackling, like depression, arranged marriage, love at first site, female empowerment and self harm. This novel did throw me at first having a new background for Sleeping Beauty, but there is a reason, and I was satisfied with the reason, it does take a hundred pages to get there, though which I found was a bit too long. I manages to put some ideas about Maleficent, the movie, into the book about her character and explore some of those avenues of good and evil. The title come from the song that is sung in the movie Sleeping Beauty and covered in Maleficent by Lana Del Rey

The Plot: Princess Aurora has always lived in the castle, her parents wanted a boy so they could broker more land in a wedding. The fairies comes to the birth and offer gift of Beauty and song to Aurora and Merriweather offer her parents every wish they desire but they get Aurora when she turns 16. Maleficent prophecy is that when Aurora reaches 16 goodness will be restored on this wicked kingdom. We see Prince Phillip try to kiss Aurora and instead of wake her up he falls asleep thinking why didn’t I check to make sure she was dead. Aurora has been trapped in the castle since she was little Maleficent put thorns up all over the castle protecting them from an ongoing apocalypse going on on the outside, thanks to her parents greed. Maleficent punishes a man or drunkenness and saying he has been outside and survived. Aurora doesn’t believe this until she finds a feather for a bird that is not trapped with them in the castle, and the drunken man has not been seen again. She begins questioning the truth, and she’s horrified when she finds out what Maleficent has been hiding from her all along, is she a savior or something more.

What I Liked: The way things are revealed to the reader is really clever. There is one big twist that I really enjoyed. I liked that the book explored real life issues, and did it in a real way not a storybook way. Aurora is a strong character that does not need a man saving her. I loved the character of Hubert, Prince Phillips dad, and the reveals of that character. I liked the action the climax was almost too much but I did enjoy that the fight had real stakes and death at hand. I liked Maleficent’s overall plan for Aurora.

What I Disliked: This book could have been really good but it fell into cliches of people being demons, thank goodness not every person is, but when characters go it’s probably another demon, you have a problem, and it was too frequently. The chapters were way too long there sometimes good length then they will be fifty pages.

Recommendations: I have two teenage cousins that would absolutely love this book, as an adult I read 10 YA books a year, I like what was explored but the over all story had too many repetitions for me to whole heartedly recommend. I was torn by this review Liz Braswell has written two more in the Twisted Tale series and one is about Aladdin my favorite, with what if Aladdin had never found the lamp. I rated this book 3 out of 5 stars but I will give Liz Braswell another shot.

Book Review: A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs

A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs is two books in one, a novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky and a short novel My Heart Struck Sorrow. Both stories challenge idea of death and hell on earth. They both involve the past and choices made, fro the better or worse. Both stories have good wrap ups and ending that will leaving you thinking for a bit after the story has ended. My Heart Struck Sorrow was the new story The Sea Dreams It is the Sky has been published before. I enjoyed My Heart Struck Sorrow quite a bit more. Chuck Wendig author of Wanders does really cool foreword to the book. Thanks to HarperCollins Publishing and Netgalley for letting me read an Advanced Readers copy of A lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs in exchange for an honest review. It was first Published on October 8th 2019 with an expected mass market publication on October 29th 2019.

The Plot for The Sea Dreams it is the Sky:Rafael Avendano, a former poet, has escaped Argentina and now lives in Spain. The Poet now wears an eye patch has now goes by the Eye, it is a mystery to how he lost it. He meets Isabel a Teacher of poetry in Spain, and originally from Argentina knows a little of his work but found it crude and juvenile. She and most of the world thought Avendano was dead, during the takeover of Argentina. She befriends him as he is called back to Argentina in hopes of a reunion. Isabel watches his apartment in it she finds a secret manuscript telling just how he lost his eye, she keeps getting mysterious notes with just a latitude and longitude on them, pointing to a place in Argentina.

The Plot for My Heart Struck Sorrow: Cromwell needs a distraction from the recent deaths of his wife and son, he with his partner Harriet find that distraction as there job being part of the library is to go through a collection bequeathed to it. The Parker estate is one such donation, they are excited to too into the collection since Parker was a member of the Library of Congress in the music division collection folk songs and stories. Cromwell and Harriet discover a secret room that was locked away, of Parkers last assignment. Where Parker went searching for a particular song about a man and hell.

What I Liked: Both stories blend fact and fiction pretty seamlessly. Both stories are about lyrics in a song or in a verse of poetry, and the writing in both are really great, the folk songs especially, I could almost here them. The endings in both stories really work well, and end a in a very full circle way that I always appreciate. I really loved the characters in My Heart Struck Sorrow, they felt very real and grounded I understood their obsessions. I really like the work with the untrustworthy narrator. The flow in My Heart Struck Sorrow is so good such an easy read.

What I Disliked: The story flow of The Sea Dreams it is the Sky is so slow in the middle I loved the first couple chapters but then it slows down so much. My Heart Struck Sorrow is almost double The Sea Dreams it is Sky but it took me much longer to read Sea Dreams, because of the flow. I also had a little thing with The Sea Dreams it is Sky and it’s use of pronouns, sometimes I was confused with it and had to read passages over as a pronoun is switched to a dream person.

Recommendations: I will recommend this collection of two tales for a perfect October read, my favorite by far being My Heart Struck Sorrow. My rating for stories is The Sea Dreams it is Sky 3 out of 5 stars and My Heart Struck Sorrow 5 out of 5 stars. I would highly recommend this to readers who like historical horror, or horror with a great deal of real life with a twist. I rated A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs 4 out 5 stars.