Wrap Up: Book Reviews April 2020

Hello dear readers, another month down. I read 9 novels this month, hit over 700 followers, thank you everyone. I read two graphic novels, three science fiction, one fantasy, one historical fiction, one young adult, and one middle grade fiction. I only read two books that were not in a series. One book was an advanced reader copy from Netgalley. My most anticipated read turned out to just be okay. My breakdown for this month is two 5 star reads, four 4 star reads, and three 3 star reads.

5 Star Reviews:

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 a 30 year drug war, in the USA, Mexico and Columbia. This story 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. The pace is break neck and so addicting. This is book one in the Power of the Dog series.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Two Volume 2 By Tom Taylor – is action packed with a lot of surprises and turns. This volume was a return to form it added the comedy back, some heartbreak, epic fights and happy reunions. Harley Quinn is a very bright spot in this volume, adding humor and heart, with her own twisted sense of humor. Batman is still in the shadows still recovering from what Superman did in year one. Superman goes from protector to dictator as he starts losing foot holds on his turf.

4 Star Reviews:

The Book Of Koli by M.R. Carey – 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. This book is all heart, you can’t help but fall for Koli as he wants something more in this world, ad he manages to get a piece in the most unlikeliest of ways. The novel has a couple of good twists and turns and went in a direction I didn’t see it going. He is the unlikeliest of hero with a weapon to match. I read and reviewed this book thanks to Orbit and Netgalley for the Advanced Reader Copy.

Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind – is a fantasy that goes from juvenile light fantasy to brutal high fantasy full of sex and torture. Wizard’s First Rule is book one in the 15 book Sword of Truth series. The first 200 pages are the corner stone of fantasy mediocrity, A hero orphaned finds out he is really the savior all along, he meets the woman of his dreams that’s the key to the danger and his prophecy. The old healer in the village is really a powerful wizard that has been watching over him. The first 200 read like a Star Wars plot set in a fantasy world. Thank goodness this book is over 800 pages because those pages are original and go in directions I couldn’t have predicted, and I couldn’t put it down.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Two Volume 1 by Tom Taylor – it gets away from the Batman and Superman strife of who is wrong by adding the Green Lantern Corps. The epicness died down a little in this volume but the potential is still really high for a huge payoff. Out of all the members of the Justice League I’m least familiar with Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps, this graphic novel is heavy on those characters.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow 1 is a love story at its heart, that I found very beautiful, it dips into the science fiction by way of magic, and the time period of early 19oo’s makes it historical fiction as well. I liked the idea of doorways to another world, where some people want to explore them, while other’s want them destroyed. The story is told as a book with in a book, which took a little getting used to, once I got used to it I liked the storytelling more, and there’s a few surprises in this way of storytelling that really work for the narrative.

3 Star Reviews:

This Is How You Lose The Time War By Amal El-Mothar and Max Gladstone – is a science fiction love story featuring a spy vs. spy storyline with time travel agents. What happens when one time traveler writes a note to her rival? They start a letter writing correspondence through time. The novel flows like a poem as the time travelers try to one up each other with diction, prose, and literature. There where times when I was head scratching some of the words and what they mean.

The Girl Who Cried Monster by R. L. Stine – is Goosebumps book number 8 in the original series. The Girl Who Cried Monster is an updated take on the classic fable The Boy who Cried Wolf. The premiss is the same a girl is obsessed with monsters, always acting like they’re real, discovers a real monster, and no one will believe her. The tale runs pretty typical until the bonkers ending, which is so out there it ruins it a little.

The Toll By Neal Shusterman – is book three of the Arc of a Scythe trilogy. The Toll Ends the series in a fitting way exposes truths hinted at in Scythe and Thunderhead. This book expands the number of characters introducing a few new ones and expanding upon characters we have grown with. This book was my least favorite in this excellent series. I wanted to love this book as much as the others, but from chapter two, I knew this book was going in a different direction than I wanted it to. The novel eventually corrects course and delivers a satisfying ending to the series. My main problem is Citra and Rowan have been the main characters, and this book changes it to an ensemble story.


Wrap Up: March 2020 Book Reviews

Hello dear readers, March has been quite a month. I managed to read 6 novels this month. I read two rereads, one, Ender’s game, is a personal favorite from my childhood. I read two new releases, one was from Netgalley. I read two second books in a series. On a personal note in these hard times I wish everyone safety, and good mental and physical health. When the pandemic went down I had a hard time separating fact from fiction and had to keep reminding myself that characters can be in large groups. Reading has and always will be my escape, I hope everybody is able to escape as well.

Five Star Reviews:

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. In world where people can live forever, there are scythes, whose job is to kill at random and be unbiased. Rowan a failed scythe has declared himself Scythe Lucifer and is set on killing scythes that are unbiased.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year One, Volume One by Tom Taylor This graphic novel is based on the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us, which would usually put it on the list of , yeah I’m gonna pass, but thanks to a friend’s praise I gave this a try. And man am I glad I did, because this comic book series is excellent. In an alternative world where The Joker tired of losing to Batman, “tries easy mode” with the target of Superman. Superman loses love ones and never want the world to lose another life, and turns the world into a police state where super heroes rule.   Batman and Superman become enemies that will make you the reader decide which side you are on. Superman thinks he’s saving the world while Batman thinks he’s putting more fear into it. Superman creates Batman’s dream but also his nightmare; A world at peaceful fear.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is one of my favorite Science Fiction novels of all time. This book is deep Science Fiction with one of the best endings that will floor you; it will make you both happy and sad at the same time. This Book is number 3 on NPR’s 100 best science fiction and fantasy novels it won the Hugo award for best novel and plenty of other awards. The plot is the world cannot wait for the next leader he has to be made. Graff the general in charge has found his leader in 6-year-old Ender Wiggin. Ender will be put to the test playing war games for an upcoming war with Earth’s greatest threat the Buggers.

Four Star Reviews:

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. The plot is Shay is a witness to a suicide, she doesn’t know the woman, but is interested in the why. She digs into her old life meeting her friends, coworkers, and family. She soon realizes this maybe wasn’t suicide after all but murder, and she just might be next. You Are Not Alone was published on March 3 2020

Injustice: Gods Among Us, Year One Volume 2 by Tom Taylor was a little bit slower but seemed to be saving everything for the finale, and man was it pretty epic. This book had a lot of cool action and scenes, with me as a comic book fan have been dying to see. Some of the lines between Batman and Superman gave me chills.

Three Star Reviews:

Midnight At the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan is a mystery/general fiction with a really good hook. A homeless man Joey commits suicide at a bookstore the clerk that he would interact with him finds him, along with his body he has a picture of the clerk, Lydia when she was a teenager. This book has great insight on the homelessness situation, but not much about actual books. I was hoping for a lot more book talk since there’s a code using books, this book is more about personal tragedy and connections.

Two Star Reviews:

Are Snakes Necessary? by Brian De Palma and Susan Lehman is a thriller filled with interesting characters but forgot the thrills. This novel spends too much time establishing the characters when they finally meet stuff starts to finally happen, but too little too late. The plot is a man running for Senate, has affairs. When one of those affairs is a member of his staff, that has decide to runaway. Must be found or it looks like he was involved with the plot. This is part of the Hard Case Crime series that specializes in pulp novels. Are Snake Necessary? was published on March 17 2020

Book Review: Midnight At the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

Midnight At the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan is a mystery/general fiction with a really good hook. A homeless man Joey commits suicide at a bookstore the clerk that he would interact with him finds him, along with his body he has a picture of the clerk, Lydia when she was a teenager. This book has great insight on the homelessness situation, but not much about actual books. I was hoping for a lot more book talk since there’s a code using books, this book is more about personal tragedy and connections. The pace of the book is uneven at times, the mystery wraps in a nice little bow, and it didn’t need, it makes the connections that I feel didn’t need to be connected. Midnight At the Bright Ideas Bookstore is Matthew Sullivan’s debut novel.

The Plot: Joey is known as a “bookfrog” a drifter that comes in all the time to the bookstore and good to different sections and reads, with occasionally buying something. Lydia is a clerk that treats the bookfrogs nice and has a nice relationship with them. She and another associate find Joey hanging from the rafters with a pile of books nearby. While searching for a suicide note Lydia finds a picture of herself as a teenager right before a tragic event that changes her life. She gets in the paper and a people from her past start reaching out. She is given Joey’s things by his landlord which are books from her store with words cut out. She discovers this is a code book that uses other books to fill in the blanks and could lead to answers to why he committed suicide and answers to her own past.

What I Liked: The codes are really clever, I had a fun time trying decipher the words before the text told me. I liked Joey’s past I thought it was very heartbreaking and effective. Everything about the Hammerman was interesting and set up a pretty compelling mystery in its self on who the killer was in the end. I liked the character of Raj and Plath the best, good secondary characters very loyal to Lydia and added some much needed comic relief. The hook of the book got me to pick this one up, and it was a highlight of the book. I appreciated that this book starts with a bang, the first chapter really free me in.

What I Disliked: The pacing in this novel dragged a lot in the middle, the beginning and end are really good and well paced, but not the middle. I didn’t understand why Lydia checked out on her dad Tomas, I felt he was doing a lot to make sure she had a life. The book got away from the codes that part was interesting, but the codes didn’t reveal much of anything.

Recommendation: I wanted to like this story a bit more not great but good. I did not like it enough to recommend. I think people will enjoy it more than me if you are in to word codes. This book is being marketed more as a mystery but it is more of a standard fiction than mystery. I rated Midnight At the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan 3 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is one of the my favorite Science Fiction novels of all time. This book is deep Science Fiction with one of the best endings, that will floor you, it will make you both happy and sad at the same time. Ender’s Game was written in 1985 it speaks of internet like it is today along with nailing household devices like tablets, personal computers, and body cameras. The war games and psychology in this novel are very advanced, this can be enjoyed by older readers and young adult there is something in this novel for every one. This book has some language and graphic images, but I know there are middle grade versions of Ender’s Game for a younger audience with those scenes excluded. I would say a 13 or 14 year old can handle the material as is. This Book is number 3 on NPR’s 100 best science fiction and fantasy novels it won the Hugo award for best novel and plenty of other awards. Ender’s Game is the first book of the Ender’s Saga, I have read the original four and would only recommend Speaker for the Dead the second novel in the saga, the other novels have some interesting things but the pacing is really slow. This is the second time I have read Ender’s Game, I got this book for my girlfriend and the more she talked about it the more I wanted to reread it. It has been over 15 years since I read the book the first time and my experience did not change at all, I even had a deeper understanding of political aspects of the book. I remembered the important parts and forgot a few of the side character’s impact on the shaping of Ender’s character. I have seen the movie with Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, and Abigail Breslin. I also have a personal connection to the film having worked on a couple of production with Stevie Ray Dallimore who played Ender’s dad. The movie could have been better as a fan of the book, I felt they did not make it as intense as it should have been, so it lacked the emotional connection for me.

The Plot: Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is born as the third child which his sister Valentine calls Ender. In this world the government grants permission for you to have a third child but any child can be used by the military. Years ago there was a threat called Buggers that attacked Earth and the military is looking for young minds to destroy the Buggers for good at their home planet. Kids are watched and monitored usually until the government makes up their mind. Ender is 6 and has just had his monitor taken off or so he believes Commander Graff looking for the next general watches, how other will react. Ender gets into a fight and has to figure out the best way to stop the situation from ever happening again. Graff likes the way ender handled the situation and ask him to give up all he knows and join him in Battle School a place where you are trained to be a commander. Ender agrees but quickly finds out Graff is not his friend as he gets other’s to turn on him pointing out how much smarter he is than everyone else. With a target on his back he keeps finding ways to persevere. Will ender be the savior they are looking for or is this all a game?

What I Liked: This book is deep the way it looks at psychology of the mind of a child growing to adulthood. It has a highly intelligent character using words like “fartface”. The politics is something I didn’t care for in my first reading but do now, after having read books like the Graphic Novel Watchmen that analyze the measures to stop war. The character of ender is great, you feel like you get to live all 6 years with him. I liked how the pacing slows up to let the span of time pass. I love the conversation with Graff and Anderson at the beginning of most of the chapters, it gives a lot of insight into the mind games and the reason behind them. I love the character growth depicted in this novel you see how Ender learns from every battle. The secondary characters are some of my favorites, Dink, Bean and Petra.

What I Disliked: The whole third child could have been explained better. I would have wanted to see Peter’s progression a little more to the person he became. That’s really it there’s some slow period but it is at a time change so you feel like felt the time change, so it helped me amerce more to the material.

Recommendations: Check this book out, it seems to be one of those books that sit’s on peoples TBR’s, but do your self a favor and read this book. This book is a series I can only recommend Speaker for the Dead in the Ender Saga, but this book opens up a new saga as well with Ender’s Shadow that follows the side character of Bean and what was going on behind the scenes that I highly recommend. This book really has something for everything, strong male and female characters, god science fiction that is not too sciencee. I rated Ender’s Game the same score I did 15 year’s ago, 5 out of 5 stars.

Wrap Up: February 2020 Book Reviews

Hello dear readers, February is over, despite it being one of the shortest months I have had one of my best reading months so far. I read 9 books in February. I read all kinds of genres science fiction, mystery, general fiction, horror, historical fiction and young adult. I read 2 rereads, 2 advanced readers copies thanks to netgalley, 4 books in a series, a short story collection and a novella. I had three five star reviews, which is rare for me. So please let me share my mini reviews with you for these 9 titles.

Five Star Reviews:

Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill, is a graphic novel I have read 3 times and my rating of 5 star still stands. This book is incredible! I’m reading the series and this book in particular because of the new Locke & Key series started on February 7 2020 on Netflix. This graphic novel combines gothic horror with suspense and added fantastical elements, all of which I love. This novel starts off with a bang having two murders show up asking about keys that no one knows what they’re talking about. Then the family moves to key house a house none of the kids have been to before. A place where the keys only open doors and powers for kids.

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. One is a mystery that took ten years ago, where one jurist was a lone holdout for a not guilty verdict and swung the jury to all vote not guilty, is was the alleged killer guilty. The new mystery is who killed a member of the jury when they come together for a documentary about the case ten years ago. This book was part 12 Angry Men combined with an Agatha Christie murder mystery. I really enjoyed The Holdout thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for giving me an advanced readers copy. The Holdout was published on February 18 2020.

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.

Four Star Reviews:

The Queen of Bedlam by Robert R. McCammon. This was a reread for me, book two the Matthew Corbett series. A haunting historical fiction/mystery set in 1702. There’s a serial killer called The Masker that cuts the victim’s face like a mask, a woman in an insane asylum, that they refer to The Queen, and the starting of the first detective agency in America.

The Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine is the 7th book in the original Goosebumps Series. I read this 20 years ago and forgot a good deal, there are still a lot of surprises and twist. This book messes with your brain a little bit, by asking what is real because of some clever pranks it make the reader second guess if this is really happening or a nightmare. I will say personally wooden dummies freak me out, so my fear factor might be higher than others.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson is very original plot, involving a woman looking after two twins that can spontaneously combust, bursting into flames at any second. How do you take care of kids like that? This novel is original in its approach taking the concept of kids that can burst in to flames seriously.

Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson is a Science Fiction Novella that tells a futuristic Neo Noir detective story. I was reminded a lot of a Phillip K. Dick meets George Orwell, especially The Eye, the story Minority report is based on, and 1984. In the near future a computer program can simulate an entire day of the past for every person , police step into this world to gain to find evidence in the real time, but every interaction with someone from the real time causes deviations in the day.

Three Star Reviews:

Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin is William Shakespeare’s Macbeth in High school! The story doesn’t hold back in its brutality, while keeping the dialogue foul and razor sharp. The language and camp are the best part of this novel. There are trigger warnings all over this book. Thanks to Netgalley and Wednesday books for the advanced readers copy. Foul is Fair was published on February 18 2020.

Black Hammer Volume 3 Age of Doom Part One by Jeff Lemire is a graphic novel that takes heroes from the bygone era, and stick them in a purgatory on a small farming town, where there is no such thing as superheroes. Some find love, others find betrayal, and some heartbreak in this purgatory, but most just want out. Is there something keeping the team there or someone? In this novel we find out the answer.

Book Haul: February 2020

Hello readers, it has been quite some time since I did a book haul, and thought I would share. This is a pretty good mix four horror, one graphic novel, one classic, one fantasy, one science fiction, one mystery, and two general fiction.

The Shining and Revival by Stephen King, My girlfriend was shocked that I had never read the Shining and got it for me, Revival is one of her favorites as well.

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas, I really enjoyed Violet by Scott Thomas last year about the imaginary friend who comes to life and wants to play forever. I want to read more of his work, I’m a sucker for a haunted house story.

The Deep by Nick Cutter, I own the Troop by Nick Cutter, haven’t got around to it yet but the reviews are amazing and the story of a boy scout troop discovering a plague on a camping trip and have to figure out how to stop it.  But the Deep is a story where a virus breaks out causing people to forget, and the only cure is at the bottom of the ocean.  Can they remember in time to save themselves.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, this book had me at Lesbian Necromancers. The book has got a lot of great reviews that I kept seeing.  This book is book one of a trilogy.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, Wilson visited my local bookstore when he toured, I was not able to go because of work, but I watched the interviews.  This book sounds crazy, a woman is to be a care taker of twins, with the catch being, when the twins are agitated they spontaneous combust into flames.  This will probably be the first book I read with this haul.

Gone With the Wind by Margret Mitchell, this book is a favorite of my girlfriend’s mother, and knows I want to read more classics this year, so she bought it for me as a gift.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: the Omnibus Edition by Alan Moore, I have never read this series all the way through I have picked up a comic book here and there, but the order is a little bit weird.  So now I have the full version in order.  Alan Moore wrote Watchmen which is my favorite graphic novel of all time.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, this book is the one I know least about, but Im a sucker for anything bookstore related.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders, this book has a witch and scientist battling each other as the world stars falling apart and they have to put away there differences to save it. It’s getting great reviews and sounds really interesting.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan, remember I’m a sucker for anything  bookstore related.  This is a bookstore mystery where a loyal customer hangs himself, with a picture of one of the clerks as a little kid.  The clerk finds books defaced that she can’t understand why, until she starts to see a pattern that may lead to something bigger.

Wrap Up: September 2019 Book Reviews

Hello all, only 3 months left in the year, this whole year is flying by.  I read 5 books this month, one book (Dark Age) took me half the month to finish but it was so good.  I had two five star ratings which I haven’t done too often, I read two ARC’s from Netgalley.  I continued my retro read by read book five of the classic Goosebumps Series.  I had a record number of comments this month thank you so much, I do read them all.  Wrap ups are my favorite I can’t wait to check what everyone in the wordpress world is reading.  Happy reading everyone, October is next month I’ve saved so great horror for next month.

5 Star Reviews:

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – This follow up The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo another 5 star review from me.  Daisy Jones and the Six follows two rock groups rise The Six a good rock group that’s not great, and Daisy Jones the solo artist, with a soulful voice, that wants to write her own material but does not have the clout. They come together when Billy the lead singer writes a duet and needs a female singer, he never planned on her joining the band and that’s what happens as we get to read about how the group only put out one record. It’s sex, drugs, and rock and roll as we watch and listen to the rise and fall of Daisy Jones and the Six.

Dark Age by Pierce Brown – This is book five in the Red Rising Series, and manis it good there is so much going on plot wise, it’s filled with old scores and new scores. There’s lots of twist and turns.  This is Pierce Brown’s return to form, I was not a fan of Iron Gold rating it 3 out of 5 stars, but man did this book deliver on action and suspense. I recommend reading the series from the start since Brown does not do recaps.

4 Star Reviews:

Violet by Scott Thomas – This was a great slow burn horror, where the setting and descriptions put you on edge early.  This is a story about a forgotten imaginary friend that haunts the woman who was dealing with the loss of her mother at a remote lake house when created to return twenty years later with her daughter after the death of her husband.  Violet has one of the better climax’s for a horror novel. I received a free Advanced readers copy from Inkshares publishing and Netgalley.

Goosebumps: The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb by R. L. Stine – This story had a fun take on the old mummy creature, and a lot of facts how the real mummy’s are made. I fear closed in spaces and this story really got to me once it gets going it doesn’t stop.  I thought the twist was pretty good. This spooky story moved into the second spot on my rankings of the first 5 goosebumps books in order so far.

2 Star Review

Cold Storage by David Koepp – This is Koepp’s first novel he’s known for being a screenwriter of Jurassic Park, Carlito’s Way, and Spiderman.  The novel’s bad guy is a killer fungus, if you read the novel as a B- Movie with gross visuals and bad dialogue you will have more fun with it.  It had some nice moments but the story was told very clunky.



Book Review: The Thirteenth Tale By Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield is a gothic mystery that reminded me of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, which I loved so that’s high praise. This novel has some beautiful prose, I’m not really a prose guy, I don’t need beautiful metaphors on every page, just enough to get be the mind picture, but this book manages to do both beautifully. There’s too many passages that took my breath away for how they were described. The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights both written by sisters which is a theme in the novel. this Novel makes some really cool observations, the two I liked is birth is showing up to a play late, they way we have to catch up to are parents lives and all the history before us; the other I really enjoyed was the twins viewing people by themselves as not whole because they were missing there other half and thus not whole. I really love where the novel went with this observation. I did think this book was going to be more about Vida Winter’s writing which, seems like an after thought at the end, but it is more about her life than writing.

The Plot: Margret Lea is a antique book shop worker at her father’s store, she’s very comfortable reading the classic’s and not the contemporary stuff by Vida Winter said to be the Charles Dickson of our times. It comes as a shock that Vida Winter wants Margret to tell her story. Margret as well a book store clerk has dipped in to writing short biographies on people from literary history, the one that she believes caught her attention was her work on the two twins the Landier brothers. Vida Winter just so happens to be a twin, and wants to tell her story. Margret doing he research has learned that Vida Winter has told a different past with each interview she has ever given, what has changed? The mystery of Vida Winter deals with death, secrets and ghosts, and there is a reason Margret was chosen that will change her life along with Vida Winter’s.

What I Liked: The prose is so good and haunting at times. The mystery once it is revealed is pretty interesting. The twist is really good and will make you want to read the novel again. I loved the character’s of Missus, Hester, John the dig, and Aurelius. Aurelius character arc was told really well and I loved his ending. I loved the gothic aspects story and the ghost moments. The twin theme was really great and how much it is enforced in the novel was very effective, I bet if I reread it I will find even more connections. I also like how the twist is on the surface and if you follow the clues you can solve most of the mystery. Every time it has a piece of Vida Winter’s writing, I loved the small short story that is read and how it fit in with her life.

What I Disliked: There was no dates, I would have liked a little time period to help me visualize. The middle is pretty slow I felt the story was going somewhere but it sure took it’s time getting there, the middle does have a point but you don’t realize the significance of it until the twist, but still the pacing slowed way down. I’m really happy that I read through it but I can understand why other readers might not finish. Margret’s haunting was very confusing for a couple of passages, it makes a little more sense as the novel progresses.

Recommendations: I will recommend this one, too readers that I know can power through a slow paced middle. I have not read Jane Eyre, (I know) but it seems like if you like that story you will like this, this novel really wants to make me check it out. I have read Rebecca and I see a lot of things in common especially the gothic aspects which were my favorite parts, I think that book is better paced but a lot of similarities. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars. I will read another Diane Setterfield novel, Once Upon A River sounds really interesting.

Wrap up: March 2019 Book Reviews

This Month I have read 6 books, with two five stars reviews, one four star and three three star reviews to even out my month.

Five Star Review:

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Reid Jenkins – This was a great novel easily one of my favorites, I was drawn in to the story so quickly.  I like how it used the life of Marilyn Monroe combined with Elizabeth Taylor to develop a story of love, betrayal, secrets, and fame set during the Silver Age of Hollywood.

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – An excellent sequel to The Five People you Meet in the Heaven, is a good sequel where it expands on characters from the first book, and catches up new readers that don’t have to read the sequel to know what happened.  This novel will give you the feels, and I think it makes a great case for what happens to pets in heaven.

Four Star Review:

Batman: No Man’s Land by Greg Rucka – This novelization tells the tale of DC comics epic one year Batman storyline the stretched over 80 comics, into a 400 page book and it not only back sense but is good as well. Where after devastating earthquakes Gotham and it’s bridges it is now an island  declared No Man’s Land as the government gives up relief and the gang and bad guys take over.    It has too many great moments to mention, this storyline is is currently the background for the finale season of Gotham.

Three Star Review:

If, Then by Kate Hope Day – This novel is all about the counterfactual statements such as if so and so happen then this happens. A strange phenomenon happens where three neighbors start seeing vision of themselves in a possible future. All the neighbors have to ask if they see this vision, then will they have this future. I felt the ending didn’t answer all the questions I had, but the character’s

Beacon 23 by Hugh Howey – This is a science fiction story that compares a lonely lighthouse keeper to a Beacon keeper in the middle space that keeps a gravity shield to protect starships that pass by.   This book looks at isolation of a wounded soldier, it’s a pretty good character study.

 A Bad Day For VooDoo by Jeff Strand – This is my second Jeff Strand and boy do his books take you on a ride.  When Tyler Churchill learns there’s a Voodoo doll of him he will do anything to take the power that others have over him. This book takes any story you have read with voodoo dolls to a whole new level.



Book Review: Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

Escaping from Houdini is the Third Stalking Jack the Ripper book that follows the adventures of Audrey Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell as the investigate corpses and always find trouble in the late 1800’s. The opening was without a doubt the best one of the series it quickly pulled me in, and moved really for the first half, then it started to slow down and run out of good suspects for the mystery. I stopped caring about the victims who stopped being memorable after the first couple. I wanted to like this one more than I did.

The Plot: After the events in Stalking Prince Dracula, Audrey and Thomas are headed on a journey to America from England. Audrey’s Uncle and mentor in autopsies joins her on this journey. They set sail on a 7 day voyage on the RMS Etruria, a luxury cruiser of the time, this trip is different because of the new dinner entertainment the Moonlight Carnival, Which is a dozen or so acts featuring a young Houdini, the act promises, mayhem, madness, and possibly death, and that’s what the show delivers, a murder takes places right in front of the audience at Audrey and Thomas’s table. This murder leads to other’s and the ship pointing fingers at the mysterious performers. Audrey and Thomas are put to the test to find the killer or killers.

What I Liked: The opening is done so well, easily my favorite part. Character’s from the first book are back in this one, they were deeply missed. The love story aspect still works I liked them a lot more when Audrey and Thomas were in sync. The bits that Houdini were in worked well, but few and far between. I did like that they have one murder that can’t be explained which will fit into the next book but worked really well.

What I Disliked: The pacing was good for the first half then lost me, as character’s keep going back and forth to the same location. The explanation for the killings was good but the build up to it pretty bad and didn’t care towards the end. I needed to care about the victims but half of them I could barely remember them interacting with Audrey, which made they’re death not that impactful.

Recommendations: I think this is the weakest of the trilogy so far, I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars while I rated the other books 4 out of 5. I would give the series 4 out of 5 stars so far the last book in the series Capturing the Devil was just announced for September and I plan on reading it, to complete the series.