Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse is a groundbreaking new fantasy that is inspired by the history from Pre- Columbian Americas. The story is rapid paced, with so much conflict, it is hard telling who exactly is on what side of the good or bad coin, but the story was a fun read. The look at politics and religion is the best thing, do you believe in the prophesy? do you believe so much in the prophesy you will do anything to stop it? Will you set up your own candidate for murder but look like it is suicide to take over? will you make a suicide look like murder to stop a war? These are all questions asked in this deeply engrossing novel. The novel features the first pansexual character that I’ve read it is a very friendly LGTBQ story. There are four revolving narrative each with its own agenda and unique backstory. A really great climax, I wanted more story closure at the but it is clear that Black Sun is the first book in Between Earth and Sky trilogy so it ends on a cliffhanger. I have known about Rebecca Roanhorse for a while, I have seen great reviews for Trial of Lightning, and bought it on a kindle deal, after Black sun that book will be jumping up my TBR. I thanks to Netgalley and Gallery books for an advanced reader copy. Black Sun was published on October 13 2020.
Plot: Serapio is blinded and carved when he is a teenager during the Black Sun, in twenty years when the next Black Sun comes he will be a God. Serapio has started gaining the ability to see and talk with crows, and he can also release a deadly shadow. Xiala, is jailed former captain, and also a Teek, whose song can calm the waters and people around her. She gets the deal of a lifetime, a ship, bailed out of jail, and a mission taking the mysterious Serapio to Tove to become Crow God. We meet the Sun Priest Nara a good leader that has an assassination attempt foiled, but she won’t retaliate, to most people displeasure, that want war and the priest to rule by war. It is prophesied that for Serapio to become Crow God he must kill the Sun Priest. Okoa has recently lost his mother, he is lead to believe at the hands of the Sun Priest, after meeting her he is convinced she was not responsible, but he is inadvertently involved with the assassination plot on Nara. There’s a lot and this is just the start of this twisty novel.
What I Liked: The backstories on everyone are really well done and reveal so much. This novel has 3 scenes of action that are super intense. The character’s are great it took me a little while to get on Nara’s side but I liked the others pretty instantly. The powers of Serapio and Xiala are really cool and keep evolving. The world building was done really well, it reminded me a lot of Scythe by Neal Shusterman, where it starts small and expands so naturally, also it reminds me of Scythe of how politics and religion work together. The visuals the words paint were easy to picture. The ship mutiny scene was so great, and everything leading up to it. I think pansexuals will be happy with Xiala’s portrayal. Serapio is like a blind Bran from Game of Thrones that actually does cool things with his power.
What I Disliked: I do wish that the ending had the closure of the story and not leave it so open ended. The Xe and Xir was really confusing to figure out. sometime it was capitalized sometimes not (I did receive an uncorrected proof, so hopefully this is made a bit clearer in the final version).
Recommendations: Black Sun is a very good piece of writing that I can’t wait to read the next book. The world building is new and fresh. If you liked Scythe like I liked that story I think they are very similar in the way the stories are told, but very different stories. This is a good little fantasy that is fun with a great story, that has a lot more to tell. I rated Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse 5 out of 5 stars.
If It Bleeds by Stephen King is four novellas in one book, which he has done previously in Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight. As King has grown older his main focus has not been primarily horror, and this collection reflects his growth. If It Bleeds is my favorite story and the most horrific, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone reminded me a lot of his Hard Case Crime book Joyland, and how it was set up the first part was all history, but the supernatural comes at the end and well worth the wait, Rat is a story I thought was going to be a little like Secret Window just gone a different way, but it end up being a just okay modern day fable, and Like of Chuck was a story told in reverse and is more whimsical like his novella Elevation, which would have fit well in this collection. If It Bleeds takes 2/5ths of the book, it adds character’s from the Bill Hodges trilogy and The Outsider. The story is really good and the clear stand out in this collection, It is the one I see having the best chance of getting adapted into something. After having read Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight I would say this is the weaker of the three but, there is still enough moments for King’s fans to enjoy.
Plots and Ratings:
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone is a coming age ghost story. where Craig known for his readings in church is hired my Mr. Harrigan to read to him. Mr. Harrigan is a rich, old and very set in his ways. He and Craig develop a friendship. Craig wins money thanks to Mr. Harrigan and decides to by him one of the first I-phones. At first he rejects it, then shown what he can do it never leaves his side, even in death. I got some chills with this one. Phone calls after death are instantly creepy. Mr. Harrigan’s Phone has stuck with me since it was the first and I changed my initial rating of 4 out of 5 to 5 out of 5 because I kept thinking about it, after the story was done. There’s a little hokeyness but the story and the history really work.
The Life of Chuck is an okay story, the most interesting thing is it is told backwards. I was liking it at first, with the theme we are the center to our own universe. After having recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers I did like some of the discussion the book did bring up, not one of King’s best just okay. I rate The Life of Chuck 2 out of 5. I like the afterward where he talks about how he came up with the story, better than the story.
If It Bleeds is a great story that features Holly Gibney, from the Bill Hodges trilogy and The Outsider, a woman on the hunt for the same changeling creature from the Outsider. This time she finds a news reporter that has changed through out the years and keeps reporting on tragedy that he feeds off. This time he’s not just going to report it but make it happen. This is great story that has some real nail biting tension, and an exciting climax. Also if you want more history on Holly and why she turned to private eye King adds a nice history. I rated If It Bleeds 5 out of 5 stars. My favorite story out of the bunch.
Rat is horror story about writers block and the length writers will go to break it. Will you make a Faustian deal for your success if it meant some one you know would die. This story is a modern day fable that is pretty interesting in the way it describes the madness of writer’s block. The story is very relatable in that aspect, but the story goes i a direction that was just okay. I rated Rat 3 out of 5
What I Liked: I liked that we got a mix of genres, and some combined. I have been a fan of Stephen kings for some time it has been fun to grow with him. I liked how the supernatural element in Mr. Harrigan’s Phone stuck with me, days after I read it. I loved that If It Bleeds gave a big glimpse of Holly’s home life, and added on the legacy of the Outsiders of Changeling. Rat is only a story Stephen King can write a horror story about writer’s block, I do which it would have explored this more, I was heavily invested when it stuck with this element.
What I Disliked: The Life of Chuck had potential I liked the first act, I wish it would have went more supernatural. For Rat I really liked the writer’s block horror, when it got to the rat, the story took I left turn that was just okay.
Recommendations: Two out of four of the stories over delivered, If It Bleeds and Mr. Harrigan’s Phone will make you feel tension and creepiness of the stories. Rat is probably King’s most personal you can feel the desperation in an author can’t get past his own writing. I rated the novel If It Bleeds 4 out of 5 stars.
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton is a historical nautical mystery that takes an Agatha Christie plot and adds the devil. The plot has so many twist and turns that all make sense. The novel is a fun who done it, with so many suspects all with murder that will make you head spin. The standouts for me is the plot, however crazy it gets there’s always a plausible reason and character work is so good giving all 20 supporting characters their unique voices who all have their own motives and actions. A quick plot for The Devil and the Dark Water is what if a Sherlock like character was in chains and locked away and his Watson like compatriot who is a sympathetic giant that is more of a bodyguard than a problem solver had to solve a supernatural the crime. This is Stuart Turton’s second novel after the excellent 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle that was best described as Agatha Christie on crack! I rarely buy new books when they first come out, but based on his strong debut I did and I was rewarded with a well thought out who done it. The story did not blow me away like The 7 1/2 deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle did, which was my the number one book I read last year, but this is a great book that is easily in my top ten of this year.
The Plot: Samuel Pipps is the world’s greatest detective in 1634, who has been imprisoned and taken to a ship setting sail for Amsterdam to serve time for his crimes, what ever thy are. Arent Hayes is Samuel’s loyal bodyguard determined to protect him and prove his innocence, but before he can do that he has to stop a devil that boarded the transport ship. A leper warns the people boarding the Saaradam that Old Tom/ The Devil is a board this ship as he burns himself alive. When the leper is seen to they find his tongue had been severed and could not talk. Arent finds people willing to help but never knows who to trust as ghost and phantom boats lead to murder plot.
What I Liked: Really well written characters, both main and side. I was never confused with characters and there is an awful lot of them. The plot is really captivating and dealing with all the elements on a boat which is. character in it’s self. The twist are very layered, I did not guess who the killer or killers was, and was guessing back and forth until it was revealed. That for me is a true sign of a great mystery. Women are written very well and hold there own being very clever at a time when they did not have power. Arent’s character really grew on me and you can’t help but root for him solving the mystery. It’s great to see a big character not dumb who is still a gentle giant but a smart one. The going to the bathroom and what they wiped with on a ship at the time is pretty horrifying. The way the sailors are described – They’re only on this ship because they’d be hanged anywhere else.
What I Disliked: The story was always interesting, but it took a little bit for it to really get going. The after the climax ending felt unfinished, I felt the characters would definitively decide what was going to happen next, it left it mostly closed but there was still a crack that was left unclosed.
Recommendations: Check out the work of Stuart Turton great characters, really clever plot twist, that will have you guessing who done it until the end. The Devil and Dark Water is less confusing than the 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle which was the main criticism for people who did not like it. This book is a lot more accessible and told in a more traditional mystery way than Hardcastle. I rated The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton 5 out of 5 stars. It is a little too soon to call Turton the king of new mystery, but he’s off to a great start I eagerly anticipate his next work. I have rated all his works 5 out of 5 stars.
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.
The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey is an aptly titled books as that is what Koli and his group face, as they try to make it to London. The Trials of Koli is book the second book in the Rampart trilogy. The first book, The Book of Koli, was brimming with heart and the second one is too. Koli is trying to figure out a world he was sheltered and lied against by the village of Mythren Rood. 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 filled in one gap that the first book did not, they’re locked in this village because trees can now kill, but the first book doesn’t show us, then comes the introduction to the choker trees and their seeds. Choker trees are trees that shed and drop seeds every couple of years, if the seeds touch body in flesh they will immediately take root in a person’s body. I think the people at Netgalley and Orbit books for giving me ARC for The Trials of Koli that is published on 9-15-20. The Book of Koli made it into my top ten of best books last year.
The plot of The Book of Koli – the world we know has long been dead nature is what most are afraid of as a type of tree can walk and kill. Most stay protected in their little village, Mythren Rood and are forbidden from leaving the protection. Koli is a woodsmith in a family of woodsmiths that works at the lumber mill. When he is older he plans to take a test to be a rampart. A rampart is special class of citizen that rules the others, they use tech of yester-years to protect the village. To become a rampart you have make the old tech work on first touch. The tech is a flame thrower, a laser, bolt gun, and some other devices. Koli and his best friend Haijon dream of being ramparts, Haijon’s mother, aunt, grandfather, and cousin are all ramparts. Koli is tested with four other young adults with Haijon being the only one who can make the tech work, becomes a rampart, and gets Spinner the girl he wanted to wed. Koli is devastated, thrown into wood work, this all changes when Ursula a visiting healer, who is charge of pregnancy and other abrasions, uses and knows tech she scavenges is saved by Koli holding back a rampart from accidentally hurting Ursula. She tells him how tech really works through access codes and fingerprint analysis and that the ramparts are rigged. Koli knowing this is determined to be a rampart, breaks in to the hold and steals a piece of tech that is not exactly a weapon, that he gets to work. Under the rampart rules he is a rampart, but if the ramparts are rigged what will they do when they find out what Koli has done? They vanish him one of the Rampart that wanted more power grabs the tech that Koli stole and demands he make it work or will kill him. Koli figures he’s dead anyway and uses the tech to over power the rampart killing him and Koli is reunited with the tech. The noise draws in a group of shunned that capture him and want him join their cult. Koli finds that Ursula has been kidnapped as well. they escape and end up taking a prisoner in Cup and decide to go to London.
The Plot of The Trials of Koli this books take right off where the last one ended, with Ursula, Koli, and a still bound Cup heading for London and a beacon that is still up and running. They don’t make it very far until they run into Half-Ax who scour for new tech and claim this land as theirs, as they escape Koli cuts Cup’s bonds which lets her flee and Koli get caught. with Ursula and Cup escaping Cup and Ursula hate each other so he has no chance in them working together to save him.
Spinner is a girl that Koli once mated with and is the main reason he wanted to be a Rampart to begin with so they can wed and not his former best friend Haijon. We see through Spinner’s eyes as Koli displays the tech he got to work at her wedding, to all the rumors surrounding him. We get to see the fall out after the Rampart that Koli killed and their tech destroyed, effects Haijon since the tech was going to go to him and Spinner. Spinner finds out the deadly secret that Ramparts aren’t called upon to use the tech, but chosen by the Ramparts already. A plaque has effected the village of Mythren Rood they’re looking to Rampart Remember who uses a tablet for information, he is suffering from dementia, and with the help from Spinner uses the technology in secret, as more people die. Rampart Remember decides to give her the tech as he has an old non-working one to fool the other Ramparts. She solves it but as she does she is busted with the stolen tech, will she suffer the same fate as Koli?
What I Liked: The heart of these book sticks out more and more, we all want to see the world as Koli. The book dealing with Cup who is transgendered during the Apocalypse, and what that is like. The villages acceptance of Cup and how they explain it is beautiful. The rescue attempt at the Half Ax and the plotting leading up to that. Spinner and her story development was exciting to see. The sea bear fight was a highlight. I liked seeing the traditional healer’s jealousy at Ursula and her tech healing and the trial she makes for Ursula. The big show down with Half Ax was great. I liked the dual storytelling at first I was on the fence, then I started enjoying Spinner’s story more than Koli’s.
What I Disliked: The pacing was not always great, the middle stalls for a bit with the Koli storyline. I wanted to see more of Koli and his thoughts, I felt Cup kind of took over at the back half of the book.
Recommendations: This is turning out to be a pretty good trilogy with the unlikeliest of heroes and weapons. Spinner storyline was a breath of fresh air. The story ends with a pretty good cliffhanger that can change everything. I rated The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey 4 out of 5 stars.
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.
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.
Hello dear readers, Last month was a great month for reading for me, I read 12 books this month. I read 4 advance reader copies all from Netgalley. My reading was all over the place this month, I read 4 horror (Yes I’m counting Goosebumps as horror), 1 nonfiction, 2 mysteries, 1 young adult, 1 general fiction, and 2 graphic novels. I read some books of quality 3 five stars, 5 four stars, and 4 three stars I would like to thank everyone who visits, views, and interacts with my readingwithmyeyes site. Happy reading to all.
Five Star Reviews:
The Living Dead by George A Romero and Daniel Krause is a great zombie epic! It’s scary as hell, in its graphic descriptions that make you see, smell, hear, and even taste the gore. Please take my advice, and don’t read while eating for the first 200 pages. This novel is so much more than just a gore fest, it there is heartbreak, love and betrayal. The Living Dead is a morale tale that asks, what is living really? Is it a person going through the motions more glued to their phone than the real world? Or is it a Zombie that longs for a connection. This book is a huge 600 hundred pages, and I was entertained the whole time. From the Master of Zombies who started a craving for the undead in the 1960’s when he wrote and directed The Night of the Living Dead. The Living Dead comes from an unfinished screenplay. Thanks to netgalley and Tor books for the advance copy that was published in August.
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 eyesight 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.
The Haunted Mask by R. L. Stine is Goosebumps books number 11 in the original series order. This book was good sort a revenge plot gone bad. Carley Beth is scaredy cat, tired of everyone picking on her because she gets scared buys a mask that scares people but the mask is haunted and can’t be removed. This one is actually pretty scary for a Goosebumps book. The monster mask’s voice that the mask puts out and the personality attached is kind of terrifying. ” I’ll eat you up!” was one of the lines, too scared kids.
Four Star Reviews:
The Guest List By Lucy Foley is slow build thriller filled with lies and secrets bursting at the seems. A wedding party on a remote island, what can go wrong. A scream to the sight of murder is what starts off The Guest List. By the end you will know who is murdered and who the murder or murders are. The book is told through 6 perspective wedding guest each with his or her own secret and motive. It’s a fun who done it? Where “you” the reader get to play the detective.
The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi is about murder stories taken place before World War II. The Eighth Detective is a story within stories, it works as both a short story anthology and an over-arching narrative. The novel is very clever in the way twist are laid out, the end is filled with so many twists they actually where’s out their welcome. There are 7 short stories in this novel all involving murder and a mathematic formula to make a murder mystery work. The short stories are borrowed from mainly Agatha Christie stories. Thanks to Netgalley and Henry and Holt Company for granting me a copy. The Eighth Detective was published on 8-4-2020.
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell is a great book that made me think after I finished about my own outliers. An outlier is described as a scientific term to describe things or a phenomena that lies outside normal experience as described by Gladwell. The book is smart but written really well, that it is easy to follow. I was blown away how easy Gladwell will break down a person’s history so easily.
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.
Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 2 by Brain Buccellato is action packed has improved it’s writing since last volume. This is the second to last Graphic novel in the series, and it’s starting to take direction for a pretty epic Batman and Superman fight. iI’s great to see this series, which I have stuck with for 10 volumes so far get better under him and go into the epic ending I wanted for the series.
Three Star Reviews:
The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry is a modern day fairy tale set in the 80’s. A town is cursed by a monster that lives in the woods is it a serial killer or something more. This book is creepy it is a combo of the original Pied-Piper tale, that lead children away with his tune, and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in a totally 80’s world. I’ve read a lot of books about the 80’s recently, and I feel this book nailed the grime and dirt of the 80’s; the rampant smoking underage, the cool cars, the mischief of parents letting kids run wild through the neighborhood, and the torn/ripped jeans. The Ghost tree had a great opening scene that carries the book, there’s clever writing about the curse on the town and the towns people. I wanted a little bit more from this novel than I got. I would like to thank Berkley Publishing and Netgalley for the advanced copy. The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry is published on 9-8-20.
Florida Man by Tom Cooper takes a look the mythos of the crazy stories surrounding the various news story dubbed “Florida man.” This novel is awfully hilarious in it’s character studies of Floridian rednecks, Cuban refugees, and American Indians. Most of the stories involve sex, drugs, violence, theft, and sometimes all four. The novel spans for the 1960’s to present spending most of the time in the 1980’s. The novel has its problems, but it is filled with so much charm, it’s hard not to fill somewhat satisfied when I finished it. Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for giving me a copy for review. Florida Man by Tom Copper is published on 7-28-20.
The Ghost Next Door by R. L. Stine is book ten of the original Goosebumps series. This one is rarely scary, I predicted the twist very early on, but I ended up liking the ending that saved this from being the worst Goosebumps. The scariest thing is to see the elevation of peer pressure and dares. There is a shadow creature that’s a little scary, is it real or imagined? There are no lame jump scares that are usually littered through out Goosebumps books. This one is more tied to the first Goosebumps movie with Jack Black than anything else; I liked how they used the character of Hannah better than this book.
Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 1 by Brian Buccellato the action gets to a quick start, thanks to guest writer Tom Taylor’s short story in the the last volume, where all the prisoners that Superman had captured were released on a prison break. Superman and team works on recapturing them, but in some of those criminals he sees an opportunity. How do you break the Bat, with the only man that has done it before, Bane. Lex Luthor’s secret clone with superman’s DNA rises, and we witness the birth of Bizarro who is being manipulated by the Trickster. This volume is filled by great ideas, but the execution is really lacking.
The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry is a modern day fairy tale set in the 80’s. A town is cursed by a monster that lives in the woods is it a serial killer or something more? This book is creepy it is a combo of the original Pied-Piper tale, that lead children away with his tune, and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in a totally 80’s world. I’ve read a lot of books about the 80’s recently, and I feel this book nailed the grime and dirt of the 80’s; the rampant smoking underage, the cool cars, the mischief of parents letting kids run wild through the neighborhood, and the torn/ripped jeans. The Ghost tree had a great opening scene that carries the book, there’s clever writing about the curse on the town and the towns people. I wanted a little bit more from this novel than I got, I thought the present day body count was too low for this type of story. I would like to thank Berkley Publishing and Netgalley for the advanced copy. The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry is published on 9-8-20.
The Plot: The quiet town of Smiths Hollow has a murder, not an ordinary murder, but bodies of two young girls ripped apart, with only their heads remain. The police investigating the murder go through the motions but seem to soon forget, as well as the woman that discovered the bodies. Not all forget the one’s that remember say it’s not July yet. Alex a police officer who recently moved to the town notices how the town forgets and investigates the crime making a horrific discovery, that a young woman dies every year in July, it is currently June. Alex makes the discovery that a woman didn’t die last year but a man with his heart ripped out. Lauren and David are the children of Joe who died last year of getting his heart ripped out. Lauren and David both have physical reaction when both the girls are murdered like they can feel it, and a trance went over it. Lauren and David are the key to stopping this monster in the woods.
What I Liked: The story is great, Christina Henry is so good at coming up with high concept ideas and this story is no exception. I love the 80’s vibe, this story did it really subtile and not in your face with it like a lot of books. I liked the towns reaction to outsiders and the curse in general. The backstory was cool and really thought out. I did like the power hungry mayor that knows everything but has his own interest at hand. I loved David the best character, with his cool psychic visions and predictions. The supernatural element the book nails. I like the climax a lot, it was action packed.
What I Disliked: the love interest for Lauren, Jake. Jake is in college and has recently turned 18, Lauren is 13 and about to start high school. Jake says lines like I’ve been into you for a long time, which is super creepy. I could not get behind this love interest at all. I was disappointed that only a couple murders happen, when there could have been way more, there’s a pretty good finally that finally has some death but too little too late.
Recommendations: I recommended Alice by Henry with a 3 str rating which I rarely ever do, but it looks like I’m going to do it again. I’m barely going to recommend this one, it’s a great idea, even it I think the execution could have been a lot better. The story had an epic potential but it just didn’t reach that level. If you like stories in the 80’s then you will like this one. If you like stories about small towns with big secrets then this might be the story for you. I rated The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry 3 out of 5 stars. I’m going to keep reading Henry we’re gonna totally connect one day I just know it, I still get excited for her ideals on books she has written like The Girl in Red, apocalyptic Red Riding Hood, I have to check that out!
The Guest List By Lucy Foley is slow build thriller filled with lies and secrets bursting at the seems. A wedding party on a remote island, what can go wrong? A scream to the sight of a murdered body is what starts off The Guest List. By the end you will know who is murdered and who the murder or murders are. The book is told through 6 perspective wedding guest each with his or her own secret and motive. It’s a fun who done it? where you the reader get to play the detective. This was my first Lucy Foley book, she came on my radar after last year’s The Hunting Party, which I want to read now. I have to say I wasn’t blown away I guessed early who the killer or killers would be and were right, there were some details that I did not get right that kept it enjoyable for me. After you know who the murder or murders, there’s still a little bit more like are they going to get away with it and I liked that bit.
The Plot: On the a storming evening there is a black out on the wedding night, when the lights come on there is scream from the island of someone finding a dead body. We meet all the main players of the wedding, the uptight control freak bride Jules, the charming TV star groom Will, the university dropout Jules’ sister and bride’s maid Olivia, the estranged party boy best man Johnno, the stay at home mom and plus one of Charlie her husband and Jules’ best friend, the wedding planner and Chef Aoife and Freddy, and four of Will’s drunk best mates from boarding school, Duncan, Pete, Femi, and Angus. That’s the guest list, list of suspect, and also list of possible murder victims.
What I Liked: The perspectives of the six individuals worked really well, I only got confused once, and it was for a short time. The setting of Cormorant Island comes with its own haunted past and adds to the isolation of being trapped. I enjoyed learning all the secrets and how some strangely connected. The ending was really good how one character ended up getting a comeuppance for their part in a secret that hurt others even though they were not involved with the murder. Good writing keeps this from not being a typical murder mystery.
What I Disliked: I was able to guess the murderer or murderers pretty easily, I t just made the most sense, like I said in my first thoughts it was still interesting, but I kind of wanted to be wrong.
Recommendations: I would recommend others check The Guest List out. If you like a good Murder Mystery and train wreck of secrets all coming out at a secluded island than this is the book for you. I compared this book to Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Woods, which I rated similarly. I rated The Guest List by Lucy Foley 4 out of 5 stars. I will definitely try to read The Hunting Party when I have a chance.