Wrap Up: December 2019 Book Reviews

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

5 Star Book Review:

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

4 Star Book Reviews:

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

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

3 Star Book Reviews:

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

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

Wrap Up: Best Books Read in 2019

Hello readers, what a great year of reading this year. I ended up reading 77 books this year with 30 being published in 2019, I’m going to do a top ten of books published in 2019 and a top five of books read this year but not published in 2019. I look forward to reading and comparing every one’s list while expanding my TBR.

Top 10 of books published in 2019: (one through five were so hard to place)

  1. Recursion by Blake Crouch – This book was so mind minding and trippy, A cop is exposed to FMS (False Memory Syndrome), a new epidemic plaguing the world, where people start to remember a different lifetime of memories other then their own which is driving people insane and doubting if the life there living is real. The book really stuck with me and made me think long after it was over. It won the Goodreads choice award in Science Fiction.

 

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

 

  1. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – This is the follow up to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo another 5 star review from me.  This novel had sex , drugs, and rock and roll, a great character piece that examines the good and bad of people living the rock and roll dream. 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 of The Six 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.

 

  1. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – on my half of the year review for books, I had this book at number 1.  This is a well-plotted thriller with no big twist but a lot of really clever small twist and turns that kept adding tension.  This follows a girl who lives in New York desperate for money to help her and her family just get by, ended up sneaking into a college study, and becomes the main test study for a manipulative doctor who desires their own result in a study that becomes very personal for both parties.

 

  1. Dark Age by Pierce Brown – is epic on every level; this is a novel of loss, sacrifice, redemption, heartbreak, political moves, and tyranny. This is book five of the Red Rising Saga. This book was so welcomed by me, because I thought that book four Iron Gold was the weakest in the series. So this was a much-needed return to form. The Red Rising series was one of my favorites of the decade. The plot is too big for a quick summary to do any justice.

 

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

 

  1. Little Darlings by Melanie Golding – a modern day Grimm’s Fairy tale a new mom has her twins go missing and when they are brought back she’s convinced that the twins are not her’s and have been replaced with evil ones.  The writing make your skin crawl with it’s descriptions and the pace is a fast read.

 

  1. Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh – a really good thriller with an amazing tag line, The Serial Killer is not on trial, he’s on the jury, that made me have to read it. This novel reminded me of the early James Patterson novel.. The twists and plot is very clever, there’s a couple twist at the end that I didn’t see coming, but was pleasantly surprised.

 

  1. Violet by Scott Thomas a creepy, dark, horror, about an imaginary friend that’s all too real. This one was trippy but also had a lot of heart. The story is a slow burn with an exciting climax, and a meaningful epilogue that puts a nice bow on the story.

 

  1. On the Come Up By Angie Thomas – The follow up to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. In this story we follow a young up incoming female rapper, as she tries to make it in the rap game and still keep her voice.  It is both coming of age and thought provoking. Not as good as The Hate U Give but another fantastic story that has it’s own unique voice.

My Top 5 Books Read, but Not Published in 2019:

  1. The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – This one was an instant favorite for me.  What sets this mystery apart from all the others is the way that it is told.  The mystery gives you 8 days to solve the crime of who murdered Evelyn Hardcastle, the catch is everyday you are a different person full of their own personality and faults.  You can work together with your future selves, but beware two others are playing the same game. This mystery was really fun and sucked me in completely. You have no idea where this story is going at the end, it is such a fantastic ride.

 

  1. 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 enjoyed this one over this year’s release of Daisy Jones and the Six.  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 interview style really works in this story.

 

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

 

  1. LoveCraft Country by Matt Ruff – A fantastic novel that’s told in anthology of short stories that all connect and blends the real life struggles of an African – Americans living in 1950 Chicago and traveling south, with supernatural and horror elements.  I was shocked how perfectly it balanced real life struggles of the time, supernatural elements, and humor. Jordan Peele the director of Get Out is adapting this for an HBO series in 2020 with J. J. Abrams.

 

  1. The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – An excellent sequel to The Five People you Meet in the Heaven, 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. This book will not leave you with dry eyes.

Book Review: Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

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

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

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

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

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

Wrap Up: November 2019 Book Reviews

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

Five Star Reviews:

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

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

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

Four Star Reviews:

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

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

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

Three Star Reviews:

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

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

 

 

Book Review: Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand

Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand is an atmospheric Historical Fiction surrounded in a world mystery by a deadly serial killer of young girls. The story takes place in 1915 fair grounds in Chicago about twenty years after the World’s Fire fire and the serial killer H.H. Holmes, with it’s own serial killer to deal with. The history is a big part I was constantly reminded of the nonfiction work The Devil in the White City which covered the 1893 Chicago’s World’s Fair. The history and the rides at the time were really neat, The book only covers one in detail Hellsgate ride I could almost imagine it. The book is LGTBG friendly with it’s lead character Pin who is a girl who lives as a boy and struggles with her feelings about girls and one girl in particular Glory. I have not read a great amount of LGTBQ books but I found this one really nailed the questioning of ones self. A special thanks to Netgalley and Mulholland Books for giving me a copy, Curious Toys was published on October 15 2019.

The Plot: Pin is a 14 year old girl who lives as a boy, it started for safety but she likes it and prefers it, her mother is a fortune teller at the fair. The both live on a shack on the fair grounds. Two years’s ago Pin’s sister was lost, she had a form of down syndrome, and has never been found. Pin runs drugs for Max, a he/she act where one side is a man and the other a woman. Pin is always curious and noticing things adults don’t she is sensitive to young girls and strangers. She watches a young girl in a yellow dress get into a ride with a man and never get out, the man she doesn’t get a good look but is sure what she’s seen. She sneaks into ride and discovers a body. Pin is the only one who cares as the body brings even more people to check out the ride and the fair, Pin is willing to risk her life but she might have to risk something more important to her identity.

What I Liked: Pin as a character was fascinating, wish we spent more time with her, and her crisis. I liked the little twist with Glory and who she turned out to be. I liked the Charlie Chaplin bit especially the bit about the cops questioning him being ashamed at the way they are portrayed in his movies. I liked the climax it was pretty exciting. The killer was good the reader was left to fill in a lot of their reasons for the crimes. I did like the flashback of the killer, even at the time reading it you didn’t know who’s flashback it was. I did like the Fatty Bacon cop character and the date scene he had. I love, loved, the part about Pin wanting to expose the killer put to do it in a way she could keep her identity as being a boy, I found that really powerful. I liked the language and found it fitting of the time period. This was one of the coolest covers with all the images about the book is has, it was one of the reasons I selected to request this novel form Netgalley.

What I Disliked: The character of Henry Darger I didn’t care for a hospital janitor that isn’t all there, slightly crazy, that looks out for young girls and has a club protecting them. His character was not needed and it kept the reader away from Pin. I would have liked his character a little more if his slight bio was at the beginning instead of at the end. I didn’t like that the story jumped around having 7 different character’s narratives. Pin, the killer and maybe one more character was all you needed, though I did like being in Charlie Chaplin’s head briefly it didn’t serve a narrative purpose and could been in the newspaper. I figured out who the killer was early, I saw where the novel was pulling me and saw through the misdirection. There was not that many possible suspects, so I found it easy to make the leap. I wanted better descriptions of all the people and things it keeps talking about boater hats, which I had to look up to know what they looked look then see it in the words on the page.

Recommendation: I would mildly recommend this to a reader searching for a LGTBQ character in the early 1900’s and the questioning of one’s self and identity was really good. If you like historical fiction of the early 1900’s, I love Charlie Chaplin and found that part fascinating, as the description of the Hellsgate amusement park ride. I rated this novel 3 out of 3 stars. I found there were some really great moment and some not so great moments that it balanced out.

Movie Review: Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Directed By Kevin Smith

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Directed by Kevin Smith – The movie was everything I hoped it could be as a fan of Kevin Smith and his View Askew Universe. I also saw this movie as part of a Road show stop in Chattanooga, Tennessee where Kevin Smith and Jayson Mewes introduced the film and did a 45 minute Q and A after the film. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is like his Avengers: Endgame marvel movie, where he wraps up films and storylines that he started 25 years ago. Chasing Amy was my favorite movie and it gives us closure after 22 to the story of Holden and Alyssa. It’s something I didn’t know I needed until I saw the scene with Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams. This movie has jokes on jokes, it reverses some of the scenes from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Matt Damon and Chris Hemsworth make fun of themselves in hilarious Cameos. Kevin Smith plays dual roles as a version of Kevin Smith the director persona, and as Silent Bob. I saw the film as part of the road show some scenes couldn’t be heard over the laughter of the audience. I would recommend it if you were a fan. The jokes are full of puns and movie references like cultish hits like Don’t tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and How High, as well as references to Glen Gary, Glen Ross and Up in Smoke. Celebs have fun poking fun poking fun of themselves like Ben Affleck forgetting the name of his mother and winking at the camera, and Jason Lee making fun of Alvin and the Chipmunks. The movie is a good time all around and there’s plenty of references that are hit and miss, it helps if you’ve seen the movies that Jay and Silent Bob are in, but they are humorously summed up in a scene.

The Plot: Years after the world had scene the last Bluntman and Chronic movie, Hollywood has declared it is time for a reboot. The movie company has tricked Jay and Silent Bob to give their life rights away as Bluntman and Chronic alterego’s are Jay and Silent Bob, since that’s who it was based on. So Jay and Silent Bob set off once again to shut the new movie down. Along the way Jay runs into a blast from the past Justice, Jay’s ex, also lovingly known as Boo Boo Kitty f#ck. Justice reveals Jay has a daughter, and it just so happens she wants to make it to the Bluntman and Chronic movie as well, for other reasons.

What I Liked: The jokes and references, I’m a huge movie geek and there’s jokes, upon jokes about cult classic, to comic book movies, courtroom TV dramas, and plenty jokes about Jay and Silent Bob’s own films. There’s plenty of weed references layer through out. This movie has so much self depreciating humor and most of it leveled at Kevin Smith the director himself. Jayson Mewes can handle the juvenile comedy but he has some moments of drama that for the most part he pulls off. The movie doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and constantly winking at the audience.  Tommy Chong’s steals the scene, it reminded me of every time he was on that 70’s show and nailed it, he is so hard not too watch. The Chasing Amy scene was beautiful, Kevin Smith has said the scene came at the last minute, but man was it needed and executed to perfection.

What I Disliked: No Mark Hamill Disney told him he could not do it so he was greatly missed as Cock Knocker the villain. The Climax is a big mess that makes no sense and a character turn from out of nowhere.   The beginning takes a little second to get into it, it’s extremely cartoony, but soon begins to balance out.

Recommendations: if you’ve seen all the other Jay and Silent Bob movies, then this one is can’t miss. It you’re a casual fan I think you’ll enjoy. If you’re a fan of movies there so many references the one mentioned in this review are just scratching the surface. This movie delivers on the laughs in a big way I was crying a couple times out of laughter. I saw this movie as part of the road show tour, where you get a film introduction where we watched all of Jay and Silent Bob’s Audible spots, then the film plays and a 45 minute Q and A where I found out the plot of Clerks 3 got personal stories of Stan Lee, Found out the Mallrats 2 is happening at Universal, and we are getting Moose Jaws a movie of a Jaws version with a moose. Kevin Smith can Jab and I found it entertain and riveting. Seeing a movie with fan of Kevin Smith that get the same references from his earlier films was really special and worth the 60 dollar tickets in my opinion. I rated the movie 4 out of 5 stars. It ranks in my top third spot according to Jay and Silent Bob movies. The magic is still there with Jay and Silent Bob

Book Review:The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a fantastic debut with a twist that changes everything. This book is a little Hitchcockian with the added bonus of a greek tragedy, it will keep you on the edge of your seat until you know the truth, but once you know the big twist there’s another one coming and it is great one two. This novel makes you not trust anyone as everyone has flaws, some own those flaws and and others hide them dark and deep. One of the better twist I’ve read in a novel since Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, my top book of last year. The Silent Patient just took the top spot in mystery away from the also excellent An Anonymous Girl By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. This novel is more than the twist is intrigued me from the start and did not let go. What I consider a great mystery is when, twist makes since and also you gave the audience enough clues to figure it out, for me that’s what this book did, and it deserves a slow clap, because it fooled me and I could not be happier, I hate when I figure out an ending, but I didn’t know where this was going an the unreliable people that could have done it were plenty. The ending will stick with me for a while like Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins where I got the mystery all wrong.

The Plot: Alicia Berenson is a semi famous painter who adores her husband Gabriel also an artist deals in photography. They were happily married for 7 years, but 6 years ago Alicia is found covered in blood with her husband shot multiple times. Alicia went it to a catatonic and stopped speaking, and has been that way for the past 6 years. Theo Faber is a psychotherapist that can feel the empathy of those he works with, he has grown obsessed with Alicia’s case over the years, and when an opportunity come to take a position at the Grove where Alicia is held comes up he must take it. He thinks he’s can get her to speak and tell what really happened that night.

What I Liked: The pace and flow make this 336 page book so easy to read. The way the novel is set up got me hooked form the start and made have to know what happened. The twists will make you mouth drop. It made the theme of stage tragedies work really well. The suspects all have motive but as you get to know them they also show in some cases multiple sides, so all remain questionable. I did not guess any of the mystery correctly, but when all revealed it made since. Having Theo tell the story has a potential book really works as he get to play detective to unlock Alicia’s mind.

What I Disliked: When all is revealed I wanted a bit more the wrap up was good, but I wanted a better explanation about some parts. I had to keep reminding myself this was England than America. But that’s it really solid debut.

Recommendation: I liked this book a lot it was my kind of mystery, a quick read with amazing twist that change everything, even though they were right in front of your face the whole time. If you like big twist books like Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn, Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins then you will love this book. I rated The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides a big 5 out of 5 stars. I look forward to a lot more work from this author. I love when the hype for a book is real.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Review: Flight or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales edited by Stephen King and Ben Vincent

Flight of Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales edited by Stephen King and Ben Vincent, Has tales of the supernatural, tales of death, tales of suspense, and tales of the dangers of the innovation called flight. The authors of stories in this anthology include Steven King, Roald Dahl, Joe Hill, James Dickey, Ray Bradbury, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Richard Matheson, and others. This book is about fear, now sometimes it is physical fear, but in a couple stories it is the idea of fear. I read everything so my review can have a little more patience than someone just going for horror stories. This book has some true horror stories but it does have a few reaching for straws it it exactly categorizes or not. I enjoyed this book and some of the stories more than others, my favorites are Nightmare at 2o,ooo Feet my Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury’s The Flying Machine, You Are Released by Joe Hill, and Lucifer! by E. C. Tubbs. I ranks all the stories but one that is a page long and more a statement then a story.

5 Star Short Stories:

Nightmare at 20,000 feet by Richard Matheson is a tale I’ve known about for a while it has been adapted 3 times for The Twilight Zone with William Shatner, John Lithgow, and Adam Scott playing the main role. For a story that I know by heart from the episodes, it still managed to surprise, it is still as terrifying today as it was in the 1960’s.

“Lucifer! by E.C. Tubb, is a great little short story about an unscrupulous man stealing a ring that can turn back time for a minute, but what happens when the man is involved in a plane crash is a minute enough time to stop it? I was blown away by this story, very dark.

You Are Released by Joe Hill A story about what happens in the passenger plane when nuclear war starts. A great story that jumps back and forth between passengers and the cabin, each dealing with their fates the way they know how. The best is we see through the eyes of a young girl that doesn’t know the world is changing and the adults our acting so strangely.

The Flying Machine by Ray Bradbury – Man could he write. The flying Machine is a fable about the danger of innovation of flight. The story takes place in 400 A.D. China with the emperor seeing a villager create a flying machine while standing on the Great Wall. This story is expertly told in a perfect 1500 word story. This really makes me want to read some Bradbury short stories.

Diablitos by Cody Goodfellow – Ryan Rayburn III is a smuggler of rare art, and he has got a mask of a lost tribe, this mask has a curse, one you won’t believe. I really liked this story it is one of the more modern in the book so far, the description make your skin crawl and the horror is real, it is ends with the perfect saying and has a nice little twist.

4 Star Short Stories:

The Horror of the Heights By Arthur Conan Doyle the ending saves this one and I do have to take into the account of when it was written, ten years after the wright brother’s first flight, where for most people Plane travel was just a myth, this would be terrifying that it’s style is a lost journal. I rated this story 4 out of 5, if not for the ending it would have been three.

Murder in the Air by Peter Tremayne The kind of Story Agatha Christie would have written if flight would have been recreational during her time. This is a fun mystery where a corpse is found in a locked bathroom by an apparent gunshot in mid-flight and a doctor and a criminologist are passengers who solve the crime.

The Turbulence Expert and Intro by Stephen King The intro to this short story collection is better than the actual story in the book, but it let’s the reader get a good glimpse into the story as King relates his real bout with turbulence ten we get his story soon after seeing the bits of real life that went with it.

Cargo by E. Michael Lewis is a story that was written in 1978 and very topical at the time dealing with a Loadmaster that has to load cargo in bodies of children after the Jonestown mass suicide, and starts hearing playing mid-flight.

Three Star Short Stories:

The Fifth Category by Tom Bissell is about John former member of the CIA that helped write the memo on what qualifies as torture during times of war. He has been exposed and tried for war crimes in Germany and others. He gets invited to Estonia to give a lecture, he agrees getting tired of not defending himself. On the way home things don’t go as plan as he wakes up to an empty plane, or so he thinks. The story is good just really didn’t like the way it was written, by jumping around.

Two Minutes Forty-Five Seconds By Dan Simmons is a tale about Roger Colvin a plane Safety Engineer who happens to have a fear of flying, He knows if something goes wrong on the plane it will take two minutes forty-five seconds to reach the ground. I liked the ending saw what Simmons was trying to do with the story, but too much engineer jargon ruined the story for me.

Warbirds by David J. Schow – This story has a lot of heart, I liked the ending but for a short story there is way too many characters, and no descriptions, it’s war so there’s some distinction but not much in war jargon. It’s about a war hero Sargent still haunted by shades of war that left him broken.

Zombies on the Plane by Ben Vincent is about a group of survivors trying to escape a zombie apocalypse by plane. The story is told okay but I was more interested in the further adventures of group dealing with someone turning on a plane. but the story is about the escape to the plane, which I found just okay.

They Shall Not Grow Old by Roald Dahl is about a World War II pilot goes missing on a scouting mission, he returns 3 days later think it was only 2 hours later, he remembers what he saw when in battle. The overall story is great but it drags and ends up explaining different clouds for two pages. I liked the ending but the middle took too long to get there.

Two Star Short Stories:

Air Raid by John Varley too much was going on in this short story to truly enjoy. I think it was about people from the future saving people who died from known plane disasters, to populate the new world, I think? The descriptions aren’t clear enough, and throw time travel into it and it was just a mess.

Falling by James Dickey this is a poem based on a real flight attendant getting sucked out of an airplane. A few mad me think about the real incident. I’m not really a poem person, there was no rhyme it was more a free verse poem.

Recommendations: If you are like me and appreciate all stories not just scary then this well rounded collection of short stories is for you. There are a couple of classics in here that I would recommend. I rated 5 out of 17, 5 stars and 4 out of 17, 4 stars. the book will take some out of there comfort zone and I think that is a great thing. I rated Flight of Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales edited by Stephen King and Ben Vincent 4 out of 5 stars.

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.