TBR: April 2022

April 2022 TBR list: last month I read 6 books on my TBR list, I shot for seven but am going to keep it at 6 this month.  I had a lot of library holds come in so I will be focused on that this month.  I have one advanced reader copy book from netgalley this month.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir from the novelist of The Martian the was adapted to a movie starring Matt Damon.  I have not read the Martian, but I will now as I’m already half way through Project Hail Mary.  This book is really great it puts the Science in Science Fiction.  You get a science lesson and a compelling story.  This is a book that got heavily recommended to me and I’m glad I listened.

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles is a historical fiction taking place in the 1950’s America.  This book is supposed to be a sweeping epic about American life in the 1950’s. It filled with multiple viewpoints. I’ve heard this book is great but slow.  This is a library book, if I had to drop one book this would be it, due to page count and been told it is slow but I hope life gives me time.

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow this novella is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty and a series of Fractured Fables.  I’m a big fan of Fairy Tale retellings and I was a big fan of The Ten Thousand Doors of January.   

Harley Quinn: Reckoning: By Rachael Allen is a young adult novel featuring the queen of crime Harley Quinn. This is a teenage version of Harley, when she was known as Harleen. His novel takes a feminist approach to her character rebelling at the way she is a school, and joins a gang of females called the Reckoning.  I love the character of Harley can’t wait to read this one. Harley Quinn: Reckoning will be published on April 26 2022

Life Flight by Lynette Eason sound pretty wild and the start of a series called Extreme Measures. The Plot is an EMS helicopter pilot is forced to land on a mountain with a critical patient and a serial killer on the loose. This story sounds crazy and I have to read it.

Goosebumps: My Hairiest Adventure by R. L. Stine is Goosebumps book 26.  This story had my favorite twist from the Goosebumps TV series all I remember is the twist.  I hope the story is great on this one.

Book Review: The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is a fun domestic thriller. This is my third read of the four books Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen have published. They really know how to twist a relationship and man are there some twist. I’m always captivated by the the relationships and how they are portrayed. The Golden Couple is super fast paced, and makes for a very fast read. Te novel tells the story from two view points, one the radical marriage councilor and the other the woman who cheated and who wants to save her marriage. The character of Avery and her radical on the fringe marriage councilor was great, even if their was no mystery her approach to marriage counseling was so interesting. This book was my least favorite from these authors, which is that bad since I loved the last ones. My biggest issue was them trying to tie the story in a nice bow, which was just a stretch, it was a side story that did not need to blend into the main story. It ruined the ending they have a character acting very out of character and make a threat that this reader didn’t believe for a second. Thanks to Netgally and St. Martin’s Press for letting me read this book for review. The Golden Couple is published on March 8 2022.

The Plot Summary: Avery is a rebel marriage councilor, that makes her living being on the fringe and literally stalking her clients. Marissa is a want to be client who has just cheated on her husband, and brought here husband along to tell him. Avery is taken a back and not ready for the reveal, the way her husband answers is a sign Avery can work with them. But as she follows them she finds more secrets than she bargained for and clients that might be playing her. Avery has her own stalker in a firm trying to get information on a whistle blower that was a client of hers and Avery who blew the whistle. Who watcher the watcher?!

What I Liked: Avery and her radical marriage councilor ideas, I was just interested in the ideas, and thought they were super interesting even without the mystery aspect. I wouldn’t mind seeing this character again. The two person narrative was really effective in keeping up the pace. I enjoyed most of the twist leading up to the finale. I did like what happened with two side character’s Polly and Natalie. I liked how easy this story was to picture, and how fast a read it was.

What I Disliked: there’s two twist in the wrap up that i just didn’t care for I didn’t need for Avery and Marissa story to wrap up together, and Avery final line was so fake, and the person she said it to I feel would see through it with their line of work. I would have liked to see more of the wild card character that was an ex that threatens Avery and her daughter but never comes back, I though she should have been a bigger part, but is gone after that scary threatening scene.

Recommendation: If your looking for a good domestic thriller then this book will give you a couple. I’m a fan of these authors. I wanted this story to be stronger and have a better ending, but the book is pretty fun and well paced. I will barely recommend this one I feel the ending really hurt this one and it takes a little while to get the full stakes of the story. I rated The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen 3 out of 5 stars, This reviews was really close to a 4 star review like 3.4 but ultimately a 3 star.

Book Review: Soul of the Fire by Terry Goodkind

Soul of the Fire by Terry Goodkind is the 5th book in the Sword of Truth Series. Soul of Fire is a high fantasy epic adventure. This book is 50% more political than the other book so far, which the others have more of a mix of politics, adventure, romance and religion. This book toys with the reader, for the first time since the beginning of the series the three main characters are all together, Zedd, Kahlan, and Richard, and this moment last 20 -30 pages and their separated. I wanted this moment to last a lot longer. In Soul of the Fire the main characters of the series are side characters as Goodkind introduces three character we’ve never met before, and follow more than are main characters. These new character eventually grew on me but the needed to be broken up the with the characters we know especially when they get introduced, for the first 300 pages of the book we spent 90 pages with our heroes Kahlan, Zedd, and Richard, and spend the other 210 pages with completely new characters Beata, Fitch and Dalton. It wasn’t as bad as the Matrix following Kid, but it’s not great Beata and Fitch are pretty annoying. Dalton has one heck of an arc and my favorite of the new characters, his action in the finale are wild and really good writing. I liked the overall plots that we got with Richard and Kahlan. The plot will have some rolling of the eye’s I’m talking about you possessed chicken that’s not really a chicken. This was my least favorite book so far in the series, I hope it goes to concentrating on the central characters. Where the end of the book left off it seems like it will.

Below are the plots for the Sword of Truth series so far it could spoil plots of the whole series, be warned, but if you have read the series this mini – plots will remind you.

The Plot of Wizard’s First Rule: Richard Cypher is a wood guide that that has recently lost his father to a brutal murder with no suspects. His father and him had a code where one would leave an item in a jar my the door, the item is a rare vine that should not grow in his land. Richard is on a mission to find the vine and it takes him on the outskirts of the boundary of Westland. While investigating he finds a beautiful woman, Kahlan being chased by four big men. Richard knowing the trails can get to the woman first. He gets to the woman first and ends up defending her and defeating the men. they become fast friends as the woman in mystified by Richard and the way he treats her, it is revealed she is from the other side of the boundary, the Midlands, the boundary is protected by miles of border wall of the underworld, and not used to the kindness from men. Richard takes her to an old healer/ cloud reader friend, Zedd. Quickly Richard finds out that his old friend is not what he seems but a powerful wizard, one of the last of his kind. Kahlan is very important to the cause and Richard is special and anointed the Seeker of Truth, which comes with a powerful weapon the Sword of Truth that is a powerful magical item that focuses emotion into the blade. Richard finds out the true nature of the world that there is a Threat in Darken Rahl that involves tearing down the boundaries and ruling the world. It is up to Kahlan, Zedd and Richard to stop him.

The Plot of Stone of Tears: The Plot: Two days after Richard defeated Darken Rahl. A creature from the underworld has escaped and it wants to mark Richard so he can open the underworld for the Keeper. Zedd deals with these creatures first and must find Richard and seek side in closing the veil to the underworld. Richard and Kahlan are returning a boy back to the mud people when a creature from the underworld comes for them. They defeat the creature but Richard gets migraines that make it feel like his head will explode they keep getting worse and worse. He meets 3 Sisters of Light that day they can help him but they must collar him and own him to teach him to control his new magic. He refuses and the sister creates suicide right then and there, saying that was chance one you will have two more chances to get help of you do note, you will die.

The Plot for Blood of the Fold: A funeral is held at the Palace of the Prophets for the Prelate and the Prophet. They were burned by Sisters of the Dark who have infiltrated the Sisters of the Light. Sister Verna who is the a good Sister of the Light and a friend to Richard Rahl the Seeker of Truth, is set up to be the new Prelate she doesn’t know if this is for real or a trick of the Sisters of the Dark, the prophesies foretold that the false Prelate will destroy the Palace of the Prophets. She believes this to be free when she unravels a conspiracy that makes the prophesy come to pass. Richard having just came from seeing Kahlan and confirming she is alive when the world thinks she is dead. Richard waits at the Mother Confesser’s temple and fights the Mriswith a deadly snake like creatures that he saw and killed in the old world but has never seen one in this world. The Mriswith have now started to plague the land, they are being lead by something Richard must find out. Richard has started to embrace the Rahl part of his name he believes that the only way to unite the Midlands is be the supreme ruler, with all of Midland under his rule. He tries for peace by strong arming The Blood the Fold leader, the very same man who thinks he murdered Kahlan, but the Mriswith help him as their ruler wants him to live, and has a purpose for him. The ruler is known as the Dreamwalker and quickly takes over the Sister of the Dark and the Blood of the Fold, he wants Richard defeated and the Palace of the Prophets to be his especially the slow aging spell attached to it. Richard and Verna must fight the Dreamwalker on to different fronts.

The Plot for Temple of the Winds: Richard and Kahlan are finally reunited and talking wedding. They get three very special visitors One is a man claiming to be Richard’s brother an illegitimate son of Richard’s father Darken Rahl. The second visitor is Nadine a girl from Richard’s village who was sent by the witch woman Shota to marry Richard. The final visitor is an assassin who’s job it is to kill Richard. Through interrogation of the assassin they find that he was not alone, and with a sister of the dark that work for the Dreamwalker. The Sister has started a plague which starts a prophesy for Richard if he does nothing millions will die, if he wants to fight Kahlan will betray him . and Ricard will be no more. When the first victim of the plague dies his spirt takes over his body and talks about the winds This leads them to find out of a spiritual place called the Temple of the Winds that could hold the key to the cure and stop the plague. The price to enter the Temple of the Winds might be too high?

The Plot for this book Soul of the Fire: Richard and Kahlan are finally married by the Mud People and has reunited with Zedd. The wedding bliss does not last long as Richard feels something not right…with a chicken. This isn’t the only thing two of the Mud People children has died by mysterious circumstances, and everyone with magic has started to lose it. Zedd ask Richard and Kahlan about the Chimes, the beings from the underworld that saved the world from the dark magical plague, the Chimes manifest in water, air, and fire . Zedd fraked out that Kahlan said them out loud, but in his research the Chimes can only stay in this world if called by the third wife, Kahlan is Richard’s second since he was married to Nadine in the last book and did not last. Zedd with prelate Ann knows that somehow the Chimes are here but he knows Ricard will be safe in the Wizards Keep, so he makes up a creature the Lurk and fakes an illness so Richard and Kahlan will race off to the Keep while Zedd can defeat it. On Richard’s way to the keep he runs into Du Chaillu a slave girl he was chained to and saved, she comes to Richard pregnant and calls him her husband, with her rules they are married. The Chimes are in this world.

What I Liked: There’s is one heck of an epically brutal battle that the reader is not expecting, and it is great. I liked the arc of Dalton’s character and what he does in the finale, I like how the reader finds out about it later and has to put it together. I liked what happened with Zedd’s character, I figured out the one twist but I liked it anyway. I liked the some of the politics over all I felt it was too much, but I liked what the politics were about. I did like the history between the Harkens and the Anders. I did like the humorous scenarios with the third wife revealed.

What I Disliked: The chicken that is not really a chicken is just dumb and the jump the shark moment for this series. Focusing on characters that we’ve never been introduced to before, and giving them what felt like more time than the heroes of the series. Too many politics, some was good but too much dedicated to the towns politics. The new character scenes were too long a lot of plot points ended up not mattering where the characters ended up.

Recommendation: This is the first book that has disappointed me, it is the second lowest rated in the series on Goodreads so hopefully this is a fluke and not a trend. I recommend the series but this book is not good but it is important to the story so or that reason I will recommend it. I rated Soul of the Fire by Terry Goodkind 3 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow

Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow is a slow burn social horror. It looks at the social issues that arise when a Caucasian couple adopt an African American, it makes fear of how there own race will perceive the child and the couples own ideas on race manifested as real horrors. The book waits until the very end to make it’s point on race, and it’s powerful but it takes it to the last pages to get there, which frustrated me because I was in serious doubt this book would have a point at all. The book delivers on the tension, which is layered through out. There are twist which all play out at the end of the book. This book will get compared to the film Get Out which might hurt it as the plot of this book was good but not great like Get Out. The writing by Bethany C. Morrow is good in creating and keeping the tension through out small gestures layered in subtext conversations. Cherish Farrah horror is more cerebral with thinking people are out to get you then, people physically trying to get you. I had a love hate relationship with Farrah who is the stories narrator, she thinks the’s winning like Charlie Sheen, but is losing so hard. I was ask by the publisher, Dutton, through Netgalley to read Cherish Farrah early. Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow is Published on February 8th 2022.

The Plot Summary: Farrah’s best friend is Cherish. Cherish is the only Black girl who lives in their rich suburbs and school. But Farrah is not like Cherish she was raised by her biological parents where Cherish was raised by her two white adoptive parents. Farrah and Cherish’s boyfriends were also adopted by a white couple. Farrah’s parents are struggling to stay in the class structure and Farrah’s dad has been looking for work elsewhere. Farrah convinces her parents to stay with Cherish and her folks, what looks like a long sleep over turns her best friend against her as they become frenemies almost competing for parental approval. Farrah wants the class life that Cherish has and he control her influence can buy, with Farrah’s life spiraling out of control she will do anything to gain control.

What I Liked: The tension through out this book and the little snipes and the subtext behind Cherish’s and Farrah’s conversations. The ending pulled everything together, I was doubting that it would. I liked the choices and conversations in the conclusion. The intense scene between Farrah and Jerry that was scary while he he was helping her a great scene and my favorite in the book. I like Cherish’s character most of all, how she’s getting manipulated by everyone and still trying to maintain innocence. I liked the part about the Whipping Boy book but wanted more about it maybe a quick refresher on that story.

What I Disliked: That it took overly long to get to the point of the narrative. It took to 50% of the book for anything to happen. Farrah was a hard character to like she dissed Cherish for being white but seemed to want the white family way more than her Black one. She thought she was the manipulator but anyone could see she was the one getting manipulated.

Recommendation: This one is a hard one I loved the tension, but was frustrated when it took forever for anything to happen. I will barely recommend this one but be warned it is a slow burn with a worthwhile conclusion at the very end. I think the point that the book finally makes about racism is an interesting one, that could enlighten people on casual racism. I rated Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow 3 out of 5 stars. The rating of this book was hard one for me to place, I think the pace brought it to the 3 despite some of the good content, that you have to finish the book to get too and this book made me think about not finishing a couple of times.

TBR: February 2022

February 2022 TBR list: last month I read all 6 books on my TBR list and added two; I decided to keep it at 6 books If I add more I add more, this is an overtime month for me at my day and don’t know how time consuming that will be.  

Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow is a horror dealing with social issues.  The pitch from Dutton is: in the vein of Get Out meets My Sister, the Serial Killer, about Farrah, a young, calculating Black girl who manipulates her way into the lives of her Black best friend’s white, wealthy, adoptive family but soon suspects she may not be the only one with ulterior motives. Which has me excited, Dutton publishing reached out to me to invite me to read it. Cherish Farrah is Published on February 8.

Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James is the sequel to Black Leopard, Red Wolf and the second book in the Dark Star Trilogy.  Reading Black Leopard, Red Wolf was one of the most challenging reads of 2019, but I found the story really rewarding once I figured out the writing style which was beautiful but heavy in metaphors.  The story is based on African Fairy Tales. Moon Witch, Spider King is published on February 15.

The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart is a trippy new science fiction by the author of The Warehouse that Ron Howard is looking to adapt.  The tag line is An impossible crime. A detective on the edge of madness. The future of time travel at stake. I’m sold don’t need to know any more. I have not read The Warehouse, Ballentine books reached out to me to read this one.  The Paradox Hotel is published on February 22

Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland is the first novel in the  High Republic Middle Grade Series,  I got approved by Disney for the ARC for the  3rd novel in this series, I want to read all rest first. I have read so far 2 adult novels, 2 young adult novels and 2 graphic novels. So I’m kind of all in on the High Republic series. With reading so many I want to see how they are connected and tied in the greater story.

Soul of the Fire by Terry Goodkind  is book 5 in the Sword of Truth Series.  This is one I’ve been reading steadily, I have my future Mother and Father in Law hooked and we’ve been reading it together.  It a fantastic High Fantasy with lot’s blood, guts and sex, but with a heart to it.  I like the way it explains things so that all actions are explained, even the brutal soul crushing ones.

Green Arrow by Kevin Smith collects Kevin Smith’s 15 issue run on the comic that brought the character of Oliver Queen back from the dead and his 8 year absence from DC comics.  I’m not a big Green Arrow fan I enjoyed Arrow on the CW but I’m a fan of Kevin Smith and his writing, that is why I wanted to read this book. 

Wrap Up: January 2022 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, January was a good month for reading and catching up on my TBR,  I read 8 books this month. I read all the books on my TBR and added 2.  My ratings for this month are 1 five star, 6 fours star and 1 three star. I read 2 graphic novels this month, 4 books in a series, 1 horror, 3 advance reader copies (thanks to Netgalley). I only started 1 new series All of Us Villians.

Five Star Reviews:

Misery by Stephen King is King at his best. Misery is a deeply psychological horror that you cannot put down. White knuckle thrill ride is not a term I use often, but the finale is so tense, that could not help being delighted and terrified of what was on the next page. Misery is a character but also cleverly the tone of this book and what Annie puts Paul through. I have seen the movie Misery, where the excellent Kathy Bates won her Oscar, and thought I knew the story, where some things were similar and right from the page, others were not which made it still terrifying, and had no idea what would happen next. The book is way more brutal and gorier than the movie for one thing. The weakest thing is the story within a story about Misery that the author is forced to write, I needed more about her character and the messy love triangle, that made me very confused, thankfully that is about a 5 percent of the novel and the other 95 percent is amazing

Four Star Reviews:

The Maid by Nita Prose is a warm-hearted mystery that is all about character in a really strong debut novel. What makes this novel so unique is that you have a main character that can not read emotion. We see everything through that person’s eyes so a conversation can feel innocent but can be sinister, some things will be instant red flags, but most will have you guessing the intent of the character. The mystery is good and filled with lots of layers that kept my interest. Molly the Maid has so much charm that so just can’t help but root for against all the odds she’s up against. The Maid reminded me a lot of The Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime, which is good company. The beginning took a little while to get going, I thought the chapter lengths at the beginning were too long. The final twist takes a little too long after the main stories conclusion; it was a good twist not for the narrative but for the character of Molly. People have described this as a cozy mystery, which I think fits, there is a murder but not a violent one, Molly is a very likable character full of empathy.

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman is a Young Adult Fantasy with magical elements and death. This is book one in the All of Us Villains Series. The story is The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter’s Triwizard Tournament. A player must kill everyone else to win, and all the players are teenager of magicians, the playing field is full of enchanted items and enchanted locations. What makes this novel is the four angsty teenagers who deal with society, death, media, and hormones. Their are seven champions but only four are followed, I almost feel like we could have followed all but that makes some characters wild cards. The relationships are strong, when alliance’s are broken you know the reason why, even if you’re a little sad it did not work out. I enjoyed the pace of the novel even though it takes a really long time for the champions to start doing what they were put into the tournament to do, which is try to kill each other.

Yours Cheerfully by A. J. Pearce is a feel good historical fiction filled to the brim with charm. Yours Cheerfully is the sequel to the charming Dear Mrs. Bird. This novel is predictable from the very start but the characters are delightful and the scenarios do evoke an emotion from me. Yours Cheerfully picks up 6 days after the events that happened in Dear Mrs. Bird. You do not have to read Dear Mrs. Bird to understand Yours Cheerfully, but there’s a lot of events that keep getting referenced that happed in Dear Mrs. Bird. Yours Cheerfully is a well paced book that adds humor, romance, and good moments of female empowerment to move the story along. The Climax is predictable but with one really sweet surprise that just melted my heart

Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 2: The Heart of Drengir by Cavan Scott is an action packed adventure that is brutal at times with really great imagery. This volume has 2 main storylines the war with the Drengir race and going undercover to stop the Nihil’s next attack. I was really pleased with how the Drengir storyline ended, and how it could affect the Star Wars Universe. The undercover to join the Nihil plot will take the reader into the next volume Be warned this storyline ends in a cliffhanger. We get introduced to a new Jedi Orla Jareni who is a Wayseeker who follows her own path and not just the one the Jedi Temple says she can.

Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium by R. L Stine is book 24 in the Goosebumps original order. This book is an obvious reimagine of The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux with a Goosebumps twist. This book has some scary moments Going down into a trap door and getting stuck, being haunted by a mysterious phantom and getting stuck in the dark with out light. The book moves at a fast pace and stays focused on the phantom plot from the beginning. The twist was okay even though a casual Goosebumps reader will guess it. The plot relies heavily on misdirection but it is easy enough to see through and the subplot is full of jump scares.

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11 by Stan Lee is the book that introduces Morbius the Living Vampire the antihero that will get it’s own movie in the Spiderverse soon and will be played by Oscar winner Jared Leto and cameo Michael Keaton as the Vulture. This book bring back Allister Smythe and a new version of the Spider Slayer. This book feature the first time that Stan Lee did not write all the issues of The Amazing Spider-Man as he went to write a screenplay, he was still the story editor, but not the sole writer. The change was not glaring until he came back, I love his little quips in the editorial. The villains in these issues are Morbius, Kraven the Hunter, The Lizard, And Allister Smythe. This volume does have a couple of guest stars namely Kazar and Dr. Strange.

Three Star Reviews:

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead is a historical fiction of hustling in the late 50’s early 60’s Harlem, New York. The scenery and atmosphere of the times feels so genuine and accurate. The novel is broken down into 3 interconnected novellas that are years apart, the stories keep the same characters and we see those characters change and evolve over time. Even though Harlem Shuffle takes place 70 years ago there are stark similarities to present day, protest over police / race relations, riots, and corruption of politicians. The language feels authentic and real, and was one of the best parts, I was bummed there weren’t more scenes of it.

Book Review: Yours Cheerfully by A. J. Pearce

Yours Cheerfully by A. J. Pearce is a feel good historical fiction filled to the brim with charm. Yours Cheerfully is the sequel to the charming Dear Mrs. Bird. This novel is predictable from the very start but the character’s are delightful and the scenarios do evoke an emotion from me. Yours Cheerfully picks up 6 days after the events that happened in Dear Mrs. Bird. You do not have to read Dear Mrs. Bird to understand Yours Cheerfully, but there’s a lot of events that keep getting referenced like how Bunty lost Bill and got her limp, but being vague abut how they happened and other nuances, which is the reason I would recommend you read Dear Mrs. Bird first. Yours Cheerfully is a well paced book that adds humor, romance, and good moments of female empowerment to move the story along. The Climax is predictable but with one really sweet surprise that just melted my heart. I liked Dear Mrs. Bird more than Yours Cheerfully but all the elements that I liked from Dear Mrs. Bird are in Yours Cheerfully, the biggest difference is predictability in storytelling. I read Yours Cheerfully thanks to Netgalley and Scribner publishing. Yours Cheerfully by A. J. Pearse was published on 10-29 21.

Plot Summary: Emmyline has just been busted by answering unpublished pretending to be advice columnist Mrs. Bird. Emmyline felt compelled to answer since Mrs. Bird did not want messy question about the impending war she only wanted domestic questions. Mrs Bird quits leaving the paper in the lurch and starts a Yours Cheerfully section with Emmyline answering those difficult questions. The War Ministry reaches out to Woman’s Friend magazine to create articles to promote women joining the war effort. On a chance occurrence she meets Anne a mother with 2 kids who has joined a new factory for the military, and wants to do a piece on a real person working in the factory. Trouble arises when the factory isn’t benefitting it’s single and widowed mother. Emmyline wants to help but will she risk her career and her newspapers integrity to help.

What I Liked: Just how charming this little story is. I feel this is a Hallmark movie in the making or very well could be one. Bunty was my favorite character from Dear Mrs. Bird and remains so in this book as well, she is so fun and happy even though she could be bitter at life and everything it has taken from her. I love the reveal for Bunty’s character toward the end that put a tear to my eye. The little moment of humor were great and for the most part all worked to give me a chuckle. I loved some of the moments of confrontation and how it was dealt with at the time in polite society.

What I Disliked: Just how predictable the story was, and I get that some might not see this as a negative, but I want to be surprised at where the narrative was going. This book does have one or two nice reveals that I did not see coming, so it was not without any surprises, but I knew every beat of this story 30 pages in.

Recommendations: Yours Cheerfully despite it predictable storyline will win you over in pleasantness and charm. Those who enjoy predictable plot lines will enjoy it more. If you were a fan of Dear Mrs. Bird then you have to read it’s charming sequel. I rated Yours Cheerfully by A. J. Pearce 4 out of 5 stars. If there is a third Emmyline Lake book I will gladly take another trip.

Book Review: Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead is a historical fiction of hustling in the late 50’s early 60’s Harlem, New York. The scenery and atmosphere of the times feels so genuine and accurate. The novel is broken down into 3 interconnected novellas that are years apart, the stories keep the same characters and we see those characters change and evolve over time. Even though Harlem Shuffle takes place 70 years ago there are stark similarities to present day, protest over police / race relations, riots, and corruption of politicians. The language feels authentic and real, and was one of the best parts, I was bummed there weren’t more scenes of it. This is my first Colson Whitehead novel, the Underground Railroad and Nickel Boys have been on my radar and TBR for quite sometime. I have been told that Harlem Shuffle is not his best. I had a love hate with this novel, I loved the scenery, the way landscape was described, I loved the dialogue, how easily it flowed, but I did not care enough about these characters, I felt a lot of the conflict was resolved to easy and not very smart. I liked the first story the best and did not know that the novel was broken up by novellas, I felt there was more to the first story. I wanted more from this novel. Harlem Shuffle was published on 9 – 14 – 21.

Plot Summary: Ray Carney is a legitimate business man in Harlem in the late 1950’s. He learn’s fast and hard lesson’s from the streets. His Father was a tough no nonsense hustler that Ray has tried to distance and remove from his life. But being a business man in Harlem means you have to get your hands dirty, robbing, pay offs to cops and criminals, getting rid of bodies, and murder. He will use the skills that he never wanted to live in success.

What I Liked: I liked that Ray lives in the grey area but always thought he was good, but now his circumstances change and he realizes I’m not so good, but this is now just part of business. I liked how we get backgrounds to almost all characters no matter how small, at first this was a little overwhelming, because I’m not used to it, then I saw what Whitehead was doing, connecting all these characters some from circumstance, others had family connections, and some where connected to the birth of Harlem. I really liked the first story, and wished it continued.

What I Disliked: I felt like the conflict was over to fast, characters were still talking and then someone shoots them before we get any explanation, there was no ratcheting of tension. I t made me not care about the character because I felt no real danger for him, and what is frustrating is there was so much potential for the character and the stories. I liked one of the novellas way more than the other 2. The last one had potential when it was getting interesting it was over quick.

Recommendations: I really wanted to like this book but we just didn’t gel. There’s was really great dialogue but too few of it. I have heard great things about both The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys which I plan to read eventually, but this book I can not recommend, and would try one of those instead. I rated Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead 3 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Misery by Stephen King

Misery by Stephen King is King at his best. Misery is a deeply psychological horror that you can not put down. White knuckle thrill ride is not a term I use often, but the finale is so tense, that could not help being delighted and terrified of what was on the next page. Misery is a character but also cleverly the tone of this book and what Annie puts Paul through. I have seen the movie Misery, where the excellent Kathy Bates won her Oscar, and thought I knew the story, where some things were similar and right from the page, others were not which made it still terrifying, and had no idea what would happen next. The book is way more brutal and gorier than the movie for one thing. The weakest thing is the story within a story about Misery that the author is forced to write, I needed more about her character and the messy love triangle, that made me very confused, thankfully that is about a 5 percent of the novel and the other 95 percent is amazing. I have just read On Writing by Stephen King, which was a big reason I wanted to read this novel, King goes over his original ending which was pretty amazing, but he let the characters guide him to the ending in the book which I also loved. I believe this is King’s most personal novel and shows his relationship with some of his fans which probably scare the crap out of him, and dealt with his drug abuse at the time. King is notorious for not having the best endings in his stories, but I felt this one was one of his best I still think The Long Walk is my favorite but this is a close second.

The Plot Summary: Paul Sheldon has just finished his latest novel in a Colorado hotel called Fast Cars, this is a vastly different novel from his last and most famous romance novels the Misery Chastain series. He had recently closed the series by killing off his main character. Paul is so excited about this book he doesn’t make any copies and decided to drive back to his home, on the way a snow storm over takes him and he gets in a wreck breaking his two legs, Annie who lives in a the small town and claims she’s his number one fan rescues him and sets him up in her second bedroom. What looks like a good intention turns into a nightmare after Annie reads Misery’s latest novel newly released and the character is killed, she burns his new novel and makes him write Misery’s Return. Paul is at Annie’s mercy and makes his life a misery.

What I Liked: The amazing writing talent of King to make a scene practically in one room with only two characters so compelling. The flashbacks really work especially the caged African bird, which he can easily identify with. The background on Annie and her string of killing. The intensity of the scenes and the horror of the situations. I do like since this Story takes place in Colorado that, there is a link to The Shining, by one of Annie’s other victims that photographed the remains of the Overlook Hotel. I liked the little gems about writing. It is a small book by Stephen King standards and very focused through out.

What I Disliked: I would have liked to take away and understood more of the Misery story that is in the book, the longest passage makes the most sense about her resurrection, but every other piece of writing I was confused by. I also could have gotten what Annie actually loved so much about Misery, maybe she just liked her and there was no explaining of it.

Recommendation: Misery is fantastic and such great psychological horror. A lot of time when I have watched and loved the movie, I think why am I going to read a story I already know. Misery and The Shining have both surprised me in what was added and what was let out from the movie. This is truly on of Stephen Kings best. I think I have read a little over 30 and this is in my top ten maybe top 5. I rated Misery by Stephen King 5 out of 5 stars. 

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11 by Stan Lee

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11 by Stan Lee is the book that introduces Morbius the Living Vampire the antihero that will get it’s own movie in the Spiderverse soon and will be played by Oscar winner Jared Leto and cameo Michael Keaton as the Vulture. This book bring back Allister Smythe and a new version of the Spider Slayer. This book feature the first time that Stan Lee did not write all the issues of The Amazing Spider-Man as he went to write a screenplay, he was still the story editor, but not the sole writer. The change was not glaring until he came back, I love his little quips in the editorial. The villains in these issues are Morbius, Kraven the Hunter, The Lizard, And Allister Smythe. This volume does have a couple of guest stars namely Kazar and Dr. Strange. Volume 11 brings The Amazing Spiderman past issues 100. which is crazy to think since I’m reading in order that I have read over 100 issues of Spiderman. This issue contain 4 stories that are either 2 to 3 issue arcs, I liked two stories a lot, the other stories one was okay and one was pretty horrible. One of the stories featured Flash Thompson as a soldier returning from Vietnamwhich was interesting for it’s time stamp and showed a little PTSD, also commenting on the complexity of war and misunderstanding. I had a love hate relationship with the art, Gil Kane draws a great Spiderman but a horrible Peter Parker, he’s not good with people but adds such intricate details to landscape in panels. I prefer Romita who is more balanced in all things. The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11 collects issues 100-109.

The Plot Summaries:Peter Parker ready for a normal life concocts a formula to reverse his spider powers only it has the opposite effect and makes him more spider like and grows extra limbs. Perker wants to run from the world and can with Dr. Kurt Connors help and his summer home by the beach, but little does Spiderman know another creature is trying to hide from the world named Morbius the Living Vampire. The Daily Bugle is in trouble and Jonah Jamison thinks a picture of a rare monster form the Savage Land will do it, and he knows just the photographer. Jamison is humiliated by Spiderman and wants revenge in walks Allister Smythe and his newest Spider Slayer, but Jamison keeps loosing control of the robot is it him or is it Smythe who is in control, either are not good for Spiderman. Flash Thompson Returns from the jungles of Vietnam much more serious. He is getting followed for what some believe are war crimes, Spiderman saves him and believes his innocence, but a there is a bigger force that Spiderman can’t protect him, enter Dr. Strange.

What I Liked: The Spider Slayer storyline was great and a welcomed return for Stan Lee back in the helm. The Spiderman quips were great and so were the editorial ones. I liked the Morbius backstory and how the Lizard got involved in the story and how he changed. I liked Gwen and Spiderman’s relationship the best, Gwen has a moment where she snaps at Aunt May for babying him and it was great. I liked that they discussed soldiers returning from Vietnam and dipped into the Civil Rights protest again as well. I thought more could be done with the 6 armed Spiderman but it was still pretty fun having him get used to them.

What I Disliked: The Savage Land storyline was a horrible remake of King Kong when he was on Skull Island an excuse to draw Gwen Stacy in a bikini. Te only bright spot was Kraven the Hunter. I laughed in the backstory for Morbius he changes from man to Vampire due to a rare blood disease that he tries to cure when he turns to vampire it changed his regular clothes to a costume.

Recommendation: I liked more than half of the stories, this book had good insight in to social issues at the time. I thought some of the storytelling could have been stronger but it was still interesting and worth your time. I rated Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11 by Stan Lee 4 out of 5 stars.