Book Review: Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is a the sequel to the excellent Gideon the Ninth. Harrow the Ninth is book 2 the The Locked Tomb trilogy. Harrow was the necromancer and Gideon was her cavalier (swordswoman). The best part of Gideon was the love hate relationship between Gideon and Harrowhawk that have to work together or they could die. Harrowhawk takes the leads in this one, which was good, but her character is no Gideon, and I missed her raunchy smart snappy dialogue. Harrowhawk learns some cool tricks with necromancy that are the highlights of this book. This book is is one of the most confusing that I have read in a while. The main story is really good, but it’s really difficult to know where you are, the bounce around space and time. There’s a reason for the confusion but it did not have to take almost 65% of the book. I will give Tamsyn Muir credit, she made some bold choices in this book, that challenge and frustrate the reader for a decent payoff at the 65% mark. This book reminded me of the Twilight book New Moon where the most interesting character Edward (sorry team Edward) is gone for over half the book. This book was a challenge for me, I really enjoyed about 75% of the story, rest I was really confused.

The Plot: Harrowhawk passed the deadly challenges in the last book making some ultimate sacrifices. She has reach Lectorhood and has joined the emperor, being one of his necromatic ninjas. Harrowhark is now able to raise and animate the dead with ease and turn her own bones into a variety of weapons. Harrowhawk is now a student and has to learn a lot of hard lessons fast because someone is trying to kill her. She has to pass into the River of Souls who want to keep her and detach her soul from her body, she is also training to fight and kill the resurrecting Beast who wants to kill the emperor. This book is filled with so many twist and turns, that have deadly consequences.

What I Liked: The difficult choices Muir made, is greatly appreciated, I’ve read two authors where there second novel felt like a cookie cutter version of the first, and this book is definitely not like that. The twists keep coming and changing everything you know. Harrowhawk’s necromancer skills turning her bones to spears and turning her bone marrow into a weapon. The orgy that comes out of nowhere. Ianthe and Harrowhawk’s relationship. The huge spoiler reveal at the 75% I almost cried I was so happy. More backstory on Harrowhawk’s family and the locked tomb. Ortus’ character was a standout for me.

What I Disliked: The novel was confusing enough with figuring out where people are in space and time, could have really gone without having multiple characters with the same name, that was just cruel. The big twist was too long, it could have been teased a little more. I had a hard time with sometimes I would no people’s names and actions but get no description. The settings needed bette descriptions as well, I could not visualize the spaceship for my life.

Recommendations: This is a good sequel that expands the story and world building. This is a book where you must read the first book to read this one, you are just thrown into the story, and expected to remember character from the last book and there importance in that story. If Harrowhawk was your favorite character in Gideon the Ninth then you will love this book. The book is LGTBQ friendly with having multiple lesbian, and bisexual characters. I rated Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir 3 out of 5 stars. I was really split on this one 3.5 would be the accurate for this book.

Wrap Up: September 2020 Book Reviews

Hello fellow readers. September was a good month for reading.  I read 8 books in September.  I read 1 graphic novel, 6 books in a series, 2 advanced readers copies (thanks to Netgalley).  I was able to complete two series this month The Stalking Jack the Ripper series with contained four books and DC’s Injustice: Gods Among Us that contained 11 graphic novels.  My goal this year was to finish up some series this year, I have wrapped up 5 series so far. I made a TBR for this month and read every book on it giving me more confidence for the month of October.

Five Stars Reviews:

Goosebumps: Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine – This is Goosebumps 13 in the original series order. s pretty scary for a Goosebumps book; ghosts, dismemberment, and creepy teachers make this one scary. The story is pretty creepy from the start a family buys a new home, and finds a fairly new piano in the attic, but it is very haunted and only plays a sad melody that their young son Jerry can hear. This story is focused, and narrative driven. The ending is crazy!

Four Star Reviews:

The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk is released to the public on September 8th 2020 Thanks Netgalley for the early read.  The story is a crazy one that connects a serial killer, a Foley artist, con men, and a grieving father of a lost daughter. The Invention of Sound is written by the writer of Fight Club, check it out.  The writing is very good, Palahniuk makes some of the craziest observations; also he knows his history when it comes to sound editing, you will come away from this book knowing a lot about the interesting world of foley sound; which is the creation of fake sounds in movies. The cover features a watermelon getting split open which is the sound used for a skull cracking in movies. This book is mind bending, as it will make you the reader ask is this real, is this a drugged out fantasy, is this mental break, or is this a dream.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – The main character was described as MTV’s Daria in an action packed Science Fiction involving necromancy. I felt like it was kind of the Tri-wizards tournament from Harry Potter with a lot more death and necromancy. Nine houses are all assembled with the best necromancer and the best sword fighter, it looks like the necromancers and sword fighters duke it out in a tournament, but when keys are found and murder committed, the game becomes a fight for survival. There’s a lot of creative world building and puts a fresh spin to necromancy and dark magic. Currently reading the sequel Harrow the Ninth

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – I have seen this book blow up the blogosphere and was the top five of a lot of mid-year list in July.  Stephen King and Gillian Flynn have both wrote blurbs about it. My Dark Vanessa is a hard look at abuse and the psychology of the victim that comes with it. This novel is powerful, because you can feel the truth in the words and actions. The story is fiction but yet feels so real. The novel is challenging in it’s descriptions of abuse. I found the denial of Vanessa challenging as well, you want to hug her and at the same time shaker out of her feelings to wake her up; despite all the challenging I found the psychology of it beautiful, as we see the breakdowns of each moment.

The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey – This is the second book in the Rampart Trilogy.  I was blown away by the heart and the originality of the first book ,The Book of Koli, that I had to read the second one.  The premise is in future trees have taken over, they can walk and kill, society lives in shelter and relies on old technology to protect.  Koli dreams of being a technology user, but not knowing about technology he doesn’t know the system is rigged, with voice commands and fingerprint analysis.  He finds out and steals what ever he can find to make work he want’s a weapon, but what he gets is … a device that know one would think to use as a weapon, but in Koli’s hands he turns it into one. The second book picks up a second narrator Spinner, who is the woman he wanted to impress that lead him to stealing the tech that got him banished, that fills in all that went on in the village of Mythren Rood since Koli was vanished This book was ARC thanks to netgalley  and came out on 9-15-20.

InJustice: Gods Among Us Year Five Volume 3 by Brian Buccellato – This series is based on the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us.  In the series it ask what would the world turn into if superman lost everything and started killing his enemies and anyone who did not see the world his way.  Batman with his no kill code, is against this and friends become foes as the Justice league is broken up and heroes take sides.  This is Graphic Novel 11 in the series.   This volume takes us right up to when the Injustice: Gods Among Us Video game starts. Knowing that there was an Injustice 2 on the horizon, there was no way this series could end cleanly, the superman hate fest does not end with a hug and a hand shake but with a solution to even the score.

Three Star Reviews:

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco – This is book four of the Stalking Jack the Ripper Series is a gothic young adult novel about romance and capturing the serial killers known as the White City Devil in the late 1800’s. This is the fourth book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. The series starts with Stalking Jack the Ripper 1, Hunting Prince Dracula 2, Escaping from Houdini 3, Becoming the Dark Prince 3.5 and Capturing the Devil. This book like other books in the series uses true events and famous people of the time to fit the narrative. In Capturing the Devil she use Chicago’s World’s Fair as a backdrop and features Nikola Tesla and H.H.Holmes. The novel also displays old photos of places, objects, and people to help you imagination. The story is heavy on the relationship of Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell taking up the first half of the book. I really like their relationship and how it has evolved over the 4 books, but I wanted at least a couple more scenes of forensic science which drew me to the series at the start.

Goosebumps: Be Careful What You Wish For… by R. L. Stine this book is number 12 in the original series order.  The ending is the only redeemable part of this book. This story is tied with Monster Blood for lack of scares. This story takes too long to get started. This is my latest review.

Book Review: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell a hard look at abuse and the psychology of the victim that comes with it. This novel is powerful, because you can feel the truth in the words and actions. The story is fiction but yet feels so real. The novel is challenging in it’s descriptions of abuse. I found the denial of Vanessa challenging as well, you want to hug her and at the same time shaker out of her feelings to wake her up. despite all the challenging I found the psychology of it beautiful, as we see the breakdowns of each moment. My Dark Vanessa could be a good outlet for those who need it, but there are a lot of triggers, that will be too much for some. This is one of those books that I acknowledge that it is good but never want the reread and be in that head space again.

The Plot: Vanessa is a bright young student, with big dreams. She begs her parents to go to a prestigious boarding school. We meet Vanessa at 15 in her second year of boarding school in 2000, her roommate Jenny and used to be best friend, has a boyfriend and no time for Vanessa. She finds a kinship in a middle aged literature teacher Jacob Strane. Vanessa’s adoration for Strane soon turns to lust. He makes a passing gesture of layered with innuendos, his knee touches hers, and his hand rest on her lap. He gives her the infamous book Lolita. Vanessa young and naive thinks this is a love story. The novel move to 2017 at the height of the Me Too movement, where a journalist has tracked Vanessa at 34 down as a former students and students have came forward with abuse charges against Strane. Vanessa must answer hard truths about herself and her past.

What I Liked: How raw the emotions are throughout the novel. The flipping back and forth in time worked, with the me too movement going on in present day and the abuse happening in order in the past. I liked the ending, It doesn’t ended in a big revelation, it ends with a slight acknowledgement, and more work to do. I liked all the literature and poetry references. I liked how the me too movement was worked in too the story and how it never felt forced. Me TOO wasn’t mentioned but hinted at. I liked the coping mechanism was telling herself it was a great love story.

What I Disliked: I found the dialogue to be stale. I felt Strane with his love of great works and education would have a bigger vocabulary than what was for his dialogue.

Recommendation: I think people should read this book for the psychology of abuse alone. The story is not the easiest to handle at times, and those with past traumas should tread lightly. There’s a truth to the story that is undeniable. I rated My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is bloody and dark. I felt like it was kind of the Tri-wizards tournament from Harry Potter with a lot more death, horror, and necromancy. Nine houses are all assembled with the best necromancer and the best sword fighter, it looks like the necromancers and sword fighters duke it out in a tournament, but when keys are found and murder committed, the game becomes a fight for survival. There’s a lot of creative world building and puts a fresh spin to necromancy and dark magic. This is a novel I found really frustrating at the beginning, because we are thrown into this book, with no backstory, no since of how worlds and magic are set up, but then we get the backstory and I was blown away by how clearly all the strife between the two main characters of Gideon and Harrow was explained and made sense for all the hatred. The one thing in my TBR that really got me to check out this book was the lesbian necromancy. The book delivers very solidly on the necromancy, but the lesbianism is really lacking thee’s looks, there’s hand holding, and maybe barely a thought, and that’s it. So is there a lesbian necromancer? yes there’s more questioning and slight longing, and representation does matter but be warned you could be disappointed.

The Plot: Gideon is on her 87th escape from the ninth world, she has secrets that will not stop her from getting out. She faces challenges from some, but she is determined. Gideon is almost at the ship that will take her off world when she is met by the world’s ruler Harrowhawk or just Harrow. She makes her a deal she can leave or she can and hear a proposal. Harrow sweetens the deal if she lays a blade on her she will give her coin and send her on the way, but if she loses then she has to hear the proposal. Gideon agrees and Harrow unleashes hundreds of skeletons from the ground, Gideon gets close and manages to take a glove off to reveal a dirty hand. Gideon can’t believe she lost when it is revealed that Harrow spent all night burying one to set up this trap. Harrow and Gideon hate each other to the core, but a proposal has them working together, with Gideon getting her wish to go off world as Harrow’s caviler and Harrow get’s a her world to get recognized and a chance to save the dying world by becoming the emperor’s hand. Gideon agrees and leaves with Harrow her first order is don’t talk to a soul, Gideon saves a girl from the seventh house only to have her caviler put a sword to her throat. This is a lesson to Gideon that she is playing a dangerous game. A tournament is set up amongst caviler’s and necromancers. Gideon does okay but soon learns she is out of her element. Harrow goes missing as a pair of bodies from one house show up and a set of hidden keys. It is quickly realized that the hidden keys are the goal and the secrets they unlock. Gideon and Harrow who are mortal enemies must work together to win and for their lives.

What I Liked: Necromancy in the form of Dark magic is really well thought out, and I liked that each house had a different speciality. The big reveal on why Gideon and Harrow hate each other was so well thought out, it worked for the plot and it made sense emotionally how those actions can lead to hate. The forty page climax is intense, I will complain that is was sometime hard to follow, but what I could picture was excellent. The scene where skeletons are created using the necromancer’s own bones was really cool and terrifying. The Gideon and Harrow relationship was special, and the highlight of the book about trusting someone you hate. My favorite side character was Sextus his morality and trust were great to see in such a warrior. Gideon’s one liners, didn’t always land but the couple times they did I laughed. I loved the Sex Pal line the best. Such a haunting cover that demands the reader to check it out.

What I Disliked: The first part of the book takes a little bit to get going because you are so in the dark to how their world and magic work. I did have a little trouble always picturing the action. The guy waited a little too long to show their full power. Keeping up with all the characters was really hard, the main ones are easy but some of the houses blend together.

Recommendations: Read this truly original dark book. Gideon the Ninth is book one in a proposed trilogy called The Locked Tomb Series. I think this is one of those good hybrid of Science Fiction and Fantasy with a little bit of Horror. This book say the F-word a fair amont, but I would recommend this to a mature young adult. I rated Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir 4 out of 5 stars. Gideon the Ninth was pretty close to a five star for me, I already put a hold on Harrow the Ninth, and am looking forward to where this series goes.

TBR: September 2020

September 2020 TBR list: I haven’t made a TBR list in some time, the last time I did it for dual months, now I ‘m confident in my reading and my work schedule.  Here is what I will be reading this month.

The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk, this is a novel that I have already finished and placed my review it is released to the public on September 8th 2020.  The story is a crazy one that connects a serial killer, a Foley artist, con men, and a grieving father of a lost daughter. The Invention of Sound is written by the writer of Fight Club, check it out.

Goosebumps Be Careful What You Wish For… by R. L. Stine this book is number 12 in the original series order.  I have already read this book as well, I t was clever writing but with no real scares. This is my latest review.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – The cover drove me to this book, probably one of the most haunting yet beautiful covers.  After the cover awed me I started reading the reviews and book descriptions.  Lesbian Necromancer is how a character in the book was described, which is pretty much all I needed to pick up the book. The main character was described as MTV’s Daria in a action packed Science Fiction involving necromancy.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – I have seen this book blow up the blogosphere and was the top five of a lot of mid-year list in July.  Stephen King and Gillian Flynn have both wrote blurbs about it.  Friends have told me, it is best to know as little as possible going in.

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco – This is book four of the Stalking Jack the Ripper Series.  I have reviews for all three novels and a in-between short story bridging the gap into Capturing the Devil.  The covers are gorgeous for all these books.  The story follows Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell two apprentices in early forensic science in the late 1880’s- 1890’s.  There’s romance, danger, and murder all through out this book series.    I was drawn to the cover and the staff reviews at Barnes and Noble for the second in the series.  This is the final book in the Stalking Jack The Ripper Series.

The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey – This is the second book in the Rampart Trilogy.  I was blown away by the heart and the originality of the first book ,The Book of Koli, that I had to read the second one.  The premise is in future trees have taken over, they can walk and kill, society lives in shelter and relies on old technology to protect.  Koli dreams of being a technology user, but not knowing about technology he doesn’t know the system is rigged, with voice commands and fingerprint analysis.  He finds out and steals what ever he can find to make work he want’s a weapon, but what he gets is … a device that know one would think to use as a weapon, but in Koli’s hands he turns it into one.  This book is an ARC and comes out on 9-15-20.

InJustice: Gods Among Us Year Five Volume 3 by Brian Buccellato – This series is based on the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us.  In the series it ask what would the world turn into if superman lost everything and started killing his enemies and anyone who did not see the world his way.  Batman with his no kill code, is against this and friends become foes as the Justice league is broken up and heroes take sides.  This is Graphic Novel 11 in the series so far and the last Volume before InJustice 2 starts. I have reviewed all ten before it on my site.

Goosebumps Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine – This is Goosebumps 13 in the original series order.  I  have enjoyed reading these, and have a gotten a great response from my followers that have enjoyed reminiscing with me.  This book I can barely remember the episode from the Goosebumps TV show, so I will be mostly blind going into to this book, which is preferred.   

Book Review: Goosebumps Be Careful What You Wish For… by R. L. Stine

Be Careful What You Wish For… by R. L. Stine is book 12 in the original Goosebumps series. This is an episode of the classic Goosebumps TV Show that I remember little bits and pieces of the name of the main character Samantha Byrd, the cruelty of kids (it’s even worse in the book), and the ending. The ending is the only redeemable part of this book. This story is tied with Monster Blood for lack of scares. This story takes too long to get started. The story is like that of the Monkey Paw where wishes go bad what makes this story worse, is Samantha does a good deed and still has two out of her three wishes go bad without her fault.

The Plot: Samantha Byrd is a tall awkward 12 year-old, who gets made fun of constantly by mean girl Judith. Judith is the ring leader who likes to torment Samantha. She calls her “Stork”, spills stuff on here accidentally on purpose, and trips her at every occasion. Samantha is on the basketball team for her height alone, she can’t shoot or catch a pass. Judith the star of the team, torments her again tripping her further, telling her to, “fly away Byrd and don’t come back.” Judith in all her rudeness ask Samantha not to show up to the game so they can win. On her way home she meets an old lady wondering the streets clearly lost. Samantha talks to her finds the right direction, the woman thanks her and says, for your help I will give you three wishes. Samantha tries to say that’s okay, but the old woman persists until Samantha says, I wish I was the strongest player on the basketball team. The woman holding a little crystal ball grows bright red. She doesn’t think any thing of it, she plays her brother and gets beat pretty bad. At the basketball game the next day, Samantha doesn’t feel any different, noting she shoots goes in, but the rest of her team can’t either. The rest of her team starts getting drowsy and felling weak making Samantha the strongest player on the team, at first she has fun with this, but the next day when her entire team doe not come to school for being to weak, she fears that her wish could kill them eventually, that’s not what she wanted. She visits Judith to see how bad it has gotten, Judith calls her a witch, and says she cast a spell on the team. since she’s the only one who didn’t get sick, Samantha admits to the wish which makes Judith only taunt her more calling her witch. She leaves in a huff and wishes out of anger only to have the old lady right around the corner, say as you wish.

What I Liked: The wish to be the strongest player on the basketball team is pretty funny, how it plays out on the basketball court, I liked R. L. Stine’s clever trickery there. The third wish is pretty good just how extreme it gets and backfires. The ending is good and is telegraphed well, and was pretty perfect. I do like the message, which is literally, be careful what you wish for. Judith as a mean girl is very effective, she was a nightmare that is instantly disliked.

What I Disliked: The story takes way too long to get to the wishes, and it takes a long time to see the effect of the first wish. I felt that the wish should be a punishment for a mean girl, not for a good deed, and the wish maker is just horrible at doing her job, saying, I’m doing my best.

Recommendations: This one is a pass for me, it does a couple clever things and does have a god ending, but really lite on the actual fright. The Goosebumps TV episodes was a lot better than the book. I rated Be Careful What You Wish For… by R.L. Stine 3 out of 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 12 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite Stay Out of the Basement, The Haunted Mask, Night of the Living Dummy, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, Say Cheese and Die, Let’s Get Invisible, Welcome to Dead House, The Girl who Cried Monster, The Ghost Next Door, Be Careful What You Wish For… , and Monster Blood.

Book Review: The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk

The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk is one crazy story that connects a serial killer, a foley artist, con men, and a grieving father of a lost daughter. If you have ever read anything by Palahniuk who is most famous for writing the mind bending Fight Club, you know you will experience something totally unique and that is what is delivered here, a story I cannot imagine anyone else producing other than Palahniuk. The writing is very good, Palahniuk makes some of the craziest observations; also he knows his history when it comes to sound editing, you will come away from this book knowing a lot about the interesting world of foley sound; which is the creation of fake sounds in movies. The cover features a watermelon getting split open which is the sound used for a skull cracking in movies. This book is mind bending, as it will make you the reader ask is this real, is this a drugged out fantasy, is this mental break, or is this a dream. I would read something in this this story and ask that question and read a little further to find out if it was real or not. There is some readers who will driven mad by this, I for one enjoyed it because you who always get the answer on what was real. This wasn’t my favorite Palahniuk which is Choke and Lullaby but it is up there for me. Thanks to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for giving me an Advanced Reader Copy. The Invention of Sound is Published on 9-8-20.

The Plot: Gates Foster lost his daughter 17 years ago, when she was only 7, he has spent that lifetime wonder if she is alive or dead. Lately he has been obsessed with child predators and working on tracking them down like a vigilante. On a plane he has a breakdown, swearing he heard his little girl call for him. he then accuses a fellow passenger of being a kidnapper because the girl looks so much like his daughter. A friend of a local support group for kids that have died early bail him out. Mitzi is a foley artist known for creating a realistic scream, she learned the technique from her dad and has since taken over the business. Gates Foster is on the brink of madness when he realizes where he heard the his daughter from a movie, is he paranoid, crazy, or is he on the right track to discovering the truth about his daughter.

What I Liked: the twist, there’s so many, and it keeps changing you perception of people. The history of Sound design I found really interesting, me, having worked on a couple of independent short films doing foley sound, loved the history, and how it was told. The flipping back and forth from Mitzi to Gates works great while they’re stories don’t intertwine. The uniqueness of the story is so refreshing for some one who reads so much, I had no way of knowing where this story was going, and just enjoyed the ride. The wild subplot about the conmen, I don’t know if it is was really necessary to the overall story but man was that plot crazy.

What I Disliked: Flipping back and forth between Gates and Mitzi while they are in the same place, listening to different things was super confusing for no reason. Why wouldn’t you just listen together.

Recommendations: I recommend this crazy, crazy, story. If you enjoy stories that are wild ride that you can’t predict, then this is the story for you. The story is mainly mystery, which too my knowledge is Palahniuk’s first, even though all his stories have an aspect of mystery. I rated The Invention of Sound by Chick Palahniuk 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird Box by Josh Malerman is a nail-biting horror story full of suspense. The horror isn’t in the monster but what the sight of the monster will do to the human. Malerman to his credit never describes the monster, and leaves it totally to the imagination of the reader. The monster’s sight will make the watcher full of rage and for most be driven to commit suicide, by any means necessary. We spend most of this story in the dark, literally, as the only way the creature is effective is through sight, so character’s cover their site through blind folds. The only way they use their eye sight is it every window is covered and know exactly who is in the house. This novel makes a simple task of going to the well to get water a suspense filled ride where every bump or trip hazard could mean doom. This novel was adapted to a Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock, which enhanced the tensions, strengthened some of the relationships, and add a diverse cast of characters. The novel was did a better job of making the small moments suspense filled, while the movie enhanced the bigger moments, and let some relationships blossom more than get cut short like in the novel. I recommend experiencing both, I would have rather read the book first, but the book was so hot at the time, I couldn’t wait. This is my second Josh Malerman novel I read the underrated and excellent novella A House at the Bottom of the Lake.

The Plot: We meet Malorie with two kids both four years old, that all are blindfolded as they make there way to the river, for a nice easy blindfolded river ride to a destination unknown; but a promise of safety. We flashback to when Malorie has just discovered she is pregnant. She currently lives with her sister and got pregnant off a one night stand. Her sister and her watch the news as Alaska as been struck with a rash of people going crazy and commit suicide. They go to a drugstore to get a pregnancy test and see people starting to panic. They stockpile food and cover all the windows in the house, it goes great for three months when a piece of the covering falls and results in the sisters death. Malorie three months pregnant and getting desperate saw an add for shelter not too long ago before everything stopped, just a couple blocks away. She risks safety and security to chance it all to live in shelter with a group of strangers. This decision will change her life is it for the good or the bad?

What I Liked: The descriptions are what make this book suspense filled. We discover what things are as we get a POV of what all the prods. We get details on sound, texture, and of smells that put the reader right in that scenario. The character of Malorie from a meek character to a strong some what cruel mother is a great character transition. All the character’s and how they interact over so much strain adds to the tension. I liked the system they create to survive. The row boat and the wolves scene is pure tension, and one of the best scenes. I loved the ending, I felt is was pretty perfect. The climax is one of the best that I have read, everything happened at once, kind of making it two climaxes at once.

What I Disliked: The bad guy doesn’t get what he deserves, but now there is a sequel, so maybe they return. There’s the aftermath of the climax, that I was still bummed we didn’t get a recreation of what exactly happened as Malorie puts it together with feeling, we did get a brief one, but if we could have been told in a more detailed way of what exactly went down it would have been awesome.

Recommendations: Read this book! Read this book before you see the movie, the movie only adds it takes nothing away. If you want horror that will keep you on the edge then this boo is for you. Where A Quiet Place is horror for sound Bird Box is horror for sight. I rated Bird Box by Josh Malerman 5 out of 5 stars. I can not wait to read the sequel Malorie that was released only a month ago.

Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is a beautifully written Young Adult novel dealing with class struggles, growing up, the sacrifices we make to keep family together, and love. This novel was written 6 years ago I was warned it had a good twist, but was not prepared for what it was, and it makes this beautifully written novel mean so much more. The words used flow like poetry, the stories with in a story are great and act as metaphors for what is going on. This is not a book that was on my radar at all so thanks to the book blog community for the rave reviews that got me to take a chance. I was moved by the story and had some misty eyes when all was said and done. Being a male in my forties I could still relate to this story about teenagers coming together over the summer and bonding as their world was about to turn upside down. We Were Liars won the Goodreads Choice award for Young Adult Fiction in 2014.

The Plot: Cadence or Cady and her mother started spending their summers in Martha’s Vineyard Island , they always meet up with their family, Cadence’s grandparents, her two aunts and plenty of cousins. Cadence fun little trips change when she meets Gat, at age 8, an Indian boy who is the son of a guy dating one of the aunts. Gat is treated like family, but there is an underlying of class that not all the family is happy with. Cadence forms what they call the Liar’s Club with cousin Johnny, the wild one, cousin Mirren , the smart one, and Gat who lives with Johnny, who cares about all things, the family referred to them as the liars. Year 15 was the best one yet for Cadence, she could feel Gat start noticing her. Then we cut to Year 16 where she can barley get out of bed and has crippling migraines. She can’t remember anything about the summer of year 15. She finally visits but the liar’s club was warned not to say anything. What happened that summer?

What I Liked? The writing flows like poetry. I loved the fairy tales with in the story that Cadence writes to express her issues on things. I loved the twist, I was so not prepared for it. I liked the comparisons to Wuthering Heights in Gat and Cadence’s relationship. I bought into the relationship, Lockhart did a good job at showing what made Gat so attractive. I loved the character of Johnny, and how he stood up to his Grandaddy when it came to his inheritance. Cadence’s relationship with her grandad was a great one she saw him for what he was a lonely man pulling his family’s strings for the inheritance so they will stick around. The three sister’s conversation about death and who deserved what in the will was to real.

What I Disliked: at first I knew when everything was happening, but towards the end it got murky. It was hard to tell which summer was which. It lead to that good twist, but I don’t like feeling lost in story time.

Recommendations: I will recommend this great young adult novel, that is highly relatable to all ages. It captures that summer fun time from teen to adult so well. I thank this is a good book to pass on to a person that might need it, sorry for being vague, the twist should not be spoiled. I rated We Were Liars by E. Lockhart 4 out of 5 stars. I will look for more work from E. Lockhart in the future.

Book Review: Mayhem By Estelle Laure

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

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

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

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

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