Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Boneclocks - David Mitchell

This was one weird book.

Holly Sykes has a fight with her mom and runs away from home one day, starting a chain of events that leads us to soul eaters?, soul shifters, journalism, a dystopian Earth, a "psychoteric" fight in another dimension, a murder and lots of other random events.

I really liked where the book was headed in the first half but then it lost me. There was SO much going in, is it an Urban Fantasy? Is it a coming of age story? Is it a family saga? Is it a post apocalyptic novel? It's everything, all jumbled up in one big novel. Which is cool but kind of lost me halfway through. I also found the writing cliche at times, particularly when opposing characters were having an argument. It sounded like the showdown between comic book characters, was a bit odd in the context of the book.

I do want to check out his other works, Mitchell covers interesting themes and definitely has a wild imagination.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Neanderthal Seeks Human - Penny Reid

The cover says " A Smart Romance".....


So what is this "smart" romance about?! Well, from the 200 pages I managed to painfully get through, here's what I gathered:

Jane Morris, your typical clumsy, awkward, insecure, insult to women everywhere, main female character, got fired and dumped her cheating boyfriend all in one day. To get over it, she goes out dancing with her bestie to a hot new club. At the club she runs into Sir McHotPants, a.k.a the "security guard" who works in her old office building and escorted her out of the premises on the day she got fired. Her friend has to leave and against McHotPant's (Quinn) wishes, Jane stays at the club, drinks some dodgy shit and ends up waking up at Quinn's place with absolutely no memory of the night before. Thus begins a post date rape drug romance!

I don't even know where to begin. Shall I list out the plot holes first? Or maybe amaze you with the "smartest" paragraphs ever written in literary history. Let's go for writing first..

Are you guys ready? Here we go..

"I reflected on the resulting debate after the found condom wrapper was smacked to his forehead by my palm"

"Good looking in an adorkable kind of way"

It's not adorkable to use adorkable as an adjective.

"Even after our fight, for it was the closest we'd ever come to a fight, this morning he told me I could stay, that I should stay, that he wanted to work things out."

The Grammar Nazi's called, they want their commas back.

" It didn't matter how certain my head had been that his..."

Oh, those troublesome heads!

"I looked from the hand, now on my elbow, up the strong arm, around the curve of the bulky shoulder, and over the angular jaw and chin, until my eyes met the breath-hijacking sight of Sir Mchotpant's piercing blue eyes. I cringed."


Blekh, as if the atrocious writing wasn't enough, there was also the random ass plot.

Spoiler Alert from here on.. well tiny spoiler alert since I never actually got to the end of the book.

Let's play a little game of what would you do...

1) If you wake up in a stranger's home after clearly having ingested a rape drug, do you:
A) Rush to the hospital to get yourself tested
B) Have a nervous breakdown and attack said stranger
C) Be rational and demand to know what happened last night since the stranger clearly knows something
D) Completely disregard the fact that you were drugged - possibly raped too- and just go get some breakfast with the stranger cause he's oh so hot!

If Jane was a real person, she could potentially do any of the first three. But, since Jane is a clearly unrealistic and unhinged book character, she just went out for breakfast!

2)If a creep manhandles AND threatens you at the park do you:
A) Kick him in the balls and run away
B) Scream for help
C) Freeze from panic until your date saves you, then have a nervous breakdown
D) Apologize to the creep for bumping into him, tell your date that it is totally cool that this guy is manhandling you... you bumped into him after all cause you're, woops, so clumsy! Then forget all about the incident and the fact that this man VERBALLY THREATENED YOU CAUSE HE CLEARLY WANTS TO HARM YOU!!!!

We obviously all know what our intelligent Jane did!

Finally, I say this all the time and will continue saying it, DOMINATING MEN ARE NOT ATTRACTIVE.

It's not endearing when a guy decides what you're going to eat... how is this cute?! I would throw a proper bitch fit if my date ever orders for me without asking me what I wanted. That's the shit that ends relationships and starts wars.. alright.. it's not cool.

Or another weird ass dominant scene was when Quinn just takes off Jane's glasses and pockets them....

DOES SHE NOT NEED HER GLASSES?! Is this romance? " You don't need your glasses when I'm with you"? What the flip guys... has this ever happened to anyone?!

GAH. Goodbye book. You shall stay on unfinished forever.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Man in the High Castle- Philip K. Dick

Unfinished Book

Couldn't get through this.

The idea is brilliant, what if the Axis Powers had really won the war.. what would the world be like then?? I personally don't think things would have been as dramatic is portrayed in this book. And maybe that's what Philip was trying to tell us since "The Grasshopper Lies Heavy" is way more disastrous than the world actually turned out to be.

Basically, any outcome would have been just as good and shit as the other.

The problem with this book was the cringe dialogue. Oh my, it was sooo awkward and uncomfortable. I stand by the statement I made after getting through a Kafka novel " Great thinkers do not necessarily make great writers". Some people should stick to theorizing and philosophy and not venture into the world of novels.

Example of awkward dialogue/scenes:

I don’t understand you,’ she said. ‘What do you believe? What is it you want? You defend those monsters, those freaks who slaughtered the Jews, and then you –’ Despairing, she caught hold of him by the ears; he blinked in surprise and pain as she rose to her feet, tugging him up with her. They faced each other, wheezing, neither able to speak. ‘Let me finish this meal you fixed for me,’ Joe said at last. ‘Won’t you say? You won’t tell me? You do know what it is, yourself; you understand and you just go on eating, pretending you don’t have any idea what I mean.’ She let go of his ears; they had been twisted until they were now bright red.

This is just so weird. Mind you, those people just met. Juliana picks this guy up at a bar, takes him home and he just stays there... He "misses his ride" and just stays in her house. Their interactions are fucking awkward and unnatural.

Then there is the weird Japanese clipped sentences. So all the Japs in the novel converse in broken English but it seems that the Americans have adopted this speech too... with each other.. why? The war hadn't even ended that long ago for this talk to be imbedded in their psyche. It just made the book hard to follow and pissed me off:

‘What else reported by Nippon Times?’ Paul asked his wife. ‘Much confusion and intriguing. Army units moving from hither to yon. Leaves cancelled. Border stations closed. Reichstag in session. Speeches by all.’

Ugh. Shut up!

Gave up on this in the end; not worth it.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

David Sedaris- Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

I don't like David's narration style but I do like his stand-up comedy style, if that makes sense.

I listened to this as an audio book and most of it were funny stories from David's life. They mostly annoyed me, HE mostly annoyed me, particularly his voice. I didn't like him very much in most of the stories told and it's difficult to enjoy a humorous book about a narrator you don't really click with. However, some parts were read as a stand-up comedy skit and I really enjoyed those, I laughed out loud and appreciated the humor.

This is probably going to be the last Sedaris book I read but I'd watch him on one of the late shows.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley

Flavia, an 11 year old chemical genius, finds a dead body in the cucumber patch. Armed with her bicycle, chemist knowledge and wholly entertaining thoughts, she sets out to solve the murder and exonerate her father who is the prime suspect.
Loved this!! Flavia is such an entertaining narrator, she may be 11 but she doesn't act or think like an 11 year old, except when she's poisoning her older sister's lipstick. The whole de Luce family was hilariously dysfunctional and I loved seeing it through Flavia's eyes. The mystery aspect reminded me of Harriet the Spy, which I loved as a child, so it made me appreciate this book even more.

It's a fun light read that I really enjoyed. Would I be picking up the rest of the novel? hmmmm, probably not, at least not now, I feel satisfied with just the one.

The Woman in Black - Susan Hill

Arthur Kipps, a young enthusiastic lawyer, is sent to the late Mrs. Drablow's estate to go through her documents and settle her affairs. Mrs. Drablow's estate, Eel Marsh House is isolated and a long way off from the nearest town.  There Kipps witnesses horrors that will haunt him forever.

Not really SCARY but still creepy enough that I wouldn't listen to the audio book while taking the stairs (the staircase is in an enclosed space and the lights come off every 10 seconds so that you have to flip the switch every time you descend/ascend a floor). My boyfriend's been to see this as an interactive play and says it's the scariest thing he's experienced, I'd LOVE to go see that! I'm a sucker for ghost stories, although I don't sleep well for days afterwards. Some people get their adrenaline kick from rollercoasters I get mine from the supernatural.

I believe there are better horror stories out there, but this was a good enough subtle gothic story with a solid plot and an eerie feel.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Something Borrowed - Emily Giffin

This Book:

I detest this book, loath it, ABOMINATE IT. Possibly the shittiest women's lit story written in the 21st century. AND THEY MADE IT INTO A MOVIE... AND KATE HUDSON WAS IN IT. Unacceptable.

This shitty excuse of a book begins at Rachel's 30th birthday party which was organized by her "best friend" Darcy. We quickly realize that Darcy is the bitchy charmed child and Rachel is the self pitying friend in the shadows. By the end of the night, Rachel and Darcy's fiancé, (who was originally Rachel's friend) get drunk, hook up and continue hooking up afterwards.

Why was this book shit? Oh, let me count the ways.

The whole foundation of the book was faulty. Rachel and Dex are having an affair. Ok, fair enough, people have affairs all the time, sometimes it's with a stranger, sometimes it's with your partner's friend and sometimes even with their siblings. Ok, it happens. BUT SINCE WHEN DID IT BECOME OK?! Cause that's how it was portrayed in this book.

Giffin took PAINS to make the reader hate Darcy and feel sorry for Rachel. We were bombarded with flashbacks of Darcy being mean and selfish, taking Rachel for granted and generally putting her down. All of Rachel's friends SUPPORTED this affair and again reminded her how terrible Darcy is. So, my question is: Rachel, WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH THIS GIRL?!??! I'll tell you why, because Rachel is a spineless creature that's just floating through life and looking for excuses why it sucks. She hates her job but won't do anything about it, she complains about her figure all the time but never spoke of working out or changing her eating habits and she uses Darcy as an excuse for why her life sucks. "I didn't get into uni because Darcy stole my place, I didn't get the boy because Darcy got to him first." NO. It's cause you either weren't good enough or you didn't flippin try!!! Don't blame Darcy.

Another literary crime Giffin committed was creating a character that's not real. Of course I'm not going to hate Darcy and take Rachel's side because Darcy simply does not exist. NO ONE is this lucky, beautiful, loved, talented, successful and horrible. Yea, maybe on social media, but not in real life. It's ridiculous. She's pitted Rachel up against a unicorn.

I felt so much anger towards this book, even now, when I glimpse it in my kindle library, floods of hatred rush through my body. Like an allergic reaction.

A Midsummer Night's Dream - Shakespeare

I dislike Shakespearean plays, or so I've said to myself and others for the past 11 years, ever since I read the dreaded Romeo and Juliet and watched as my teacher awkwardly skipped the sex scene during the Macbeth movie.

My dislike for Shakespeare has no basis, rather I don't care for Romeo and Juliet, but it's just ONE PLAY. So! I've finally gotten myself to read another play and I didn't hate it! It was difficult to read, sure, but there are annotations and kindle now let's you check Wikipedia when you highlight a word, so it wasn't as bad.

It was funny, I'd love to watch it being performed and I'd definitely enjoy it even more now that I've read it and understand what's going on.

It wasn't until I got to the part where Hermia finds Lysander sleeping in the forest that I realized I used her monologue to audition for a play at University! No wonder I didn't get the part.. I didn't even understand what I was saying or the context it was in.

I don't even know why I attended the auditions, they were for Romeo and Juliet.... #hypocrite

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Moon Called (Mercy Thomposon 1) - Patricia Briggs

Mercy is a coyote shape shifter, (she can change form and become a coyote ) works as a mechanic and lives in a trailer behind an alpha werewolf's house. When a noob homeless werewolf turns up in her garage, she takes him in against her better judgement and is soon embroiled in a werewolf war- ok not WAR.. more like a conflict. That's not the only drama the werewolves bring her, for she must also deal with an old boyfriend she has long since left behind and a new potential love interest.
I don't know why I liked this. It must be because I had boycotted paranormal fantasies for so long before reading this. All well written paranormal novels are the same, fast paced, filled with action, contain well described sexy male leads and headed by either an endearing bimbo or a kickass stubborn female. Reading them is like being on a sugar high, you love it up until the point you realize that you've had the whole cake and now you're going to vomit it all out and possibly get diabetes. Which is what happened with me. I started this one evening and I got hooked, I couldn't put it down, I breezed through the first 75% like it was nothing but then I noticed the time and reluctantly switched off my kindle, hoping the four hours of sleep that I was going to get would be enough for me to pretend to be awake at the office. However, the next evening the charm suddenly wore off, just like the inevitable sugar high crash, and I wasn't so obsessed with the book anymore. I noted that the plot was pretty lame actually, the love triangle is so 2000 and late and the alpha wolf trope has been done to death.

Nevertheless, I will grant it the 4 stars I reserve for an entertaining, well written paranormal. Blood Bound is already on my TBR, let's see where this goes.

The Age of Innocence- Edith Wharton

Who knew New Yorkers were ever know for their subtlety and reserve!? The gilded age must have ended any ties they had to British formality as the progressive era seemed to be the beginning of the stereo typical American forthrightness.

Our story takes place in 1870 New York, a city were appearances were all that mattered, people stuck to others of their "rank" and Europe was viewed as the playground of the scandalous and "eccentric". Enter Ellen Olenska, a New Yorker by origin who had spent the most part of her life in Europe with her aunt. Ellen's return to NY is met with outrage as the conservative New Yorkers are repulsed at the idea that she left her abusive husband, allegedly with the help of her lover. Newland Archer, betrothed to Ellen's cousin, May Welland, is just as outraged as everyone else but does his utmost best to protect Ellen in support of his Fiancé.

It should be frustrating reading about times where everything was so hush hush and people refused to even admit things to themselves but it wasn't, cause this shit still happens. Newland is torn between his upbringing and the new ideas of women emancipation that Ellen inspires in him. Newland, living in the 1870's, is probably way more open minded and forward thinking than most men I know today, how messed up is that? I liked this character and how he changed throughout the novel I also liked May, whom for all her innocent girl exterior, turned out to be a shrewd little fighter.
3.5 stars cause it dragged and was a bit too dry for my tastes.

The moral I take away from this story and form every stunted love novel is Don't Settle. No matter what. Even if all the odds are stacked against you and it feels like there is no choice, in matters of the heart especially, just don't settle! That shit will follow you forever.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry- Rachel Joyce

Oh, this was so sad! I didn’t expect to be this sad! I don’t know what I expected! There was so much hope at the start that I allowed myself to be swept by it, against all logic.

Harold Fry receives a letter from his old friend Queenie, informing him that she is dying of cancer in Berwick-Upon-Tweed. Consumed by grief, Harold sets out to the post office to send his reply. After a run in with a girl at the garage, he’s seized by inspiration and decides to take an impromptu walk all the way from Devon to Berwick to save Queenie. Armed with the belief that if he keeps walking Queenie will stay alive and dressed in his yacht shoes, Harold begins his 466 miles journey, leaving his wife, Maureen, behind.

On the course of his unlikely pilgrimage, Harold meets a host of colorful characters and comes to terms with the way his life turned out. The journey is peppered with heartbreaking revelations and moments of despair but I’d like to think the ending was hopeful, if bittersweet.

I liked this book, it’s thought provoking and inspires you to get up and do something. (For the whole two minutes it take for life to suck that inspiration right out of you again.)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Charlotte Bronte- Jane Eyre

The Writing:

The Story:

I absolutely loved the writing, easy 5 stars for that and Jane was the perfect story teller I genuinely liked her and wanted to hear the story. Spoilers beyond this point.

It started out fine, with some child abuse and a sob story. But once Jane got to Thornfield and the love story started it just got ridiculous.

The Love Story

Some would argue that this was ok for that time and age. But it wasn't, the characters themselves expressed worry over the huge age gap. Furthermore, the whole master/servant thing followed by the manhandling when Jane found out the truth..... creep central.

The BIG SECRET, ridiculous as it was, paled in comparison to Jane's mindless flight and the CONVENIENT COINCIDENCE that followed. Because it is SO legit to get on a random coach travel cross country to an unknown town, beg for two days and the MIRACULOUSLY COME ACROSS THE HOME OF YOUR LONG LOST COUSINS!!!

Happens every day! Right!?

Don't even get me started on Mr. Rivers and how fucked up that whole scenario was. Vomit in my mouth. That was a third wave of abuse, in this case complete emotional manipulation. Ugh, repulsive character.

The Ending

This is meant to be a story of a young woman who develops a backbone and stands up for herself. While Jane is a pleasant character with common sense and tough interior, she's just an abused teenager with daddy issues who develops a school girl crush on a man her father's age and he totally takes advantage of it. #creep.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness

Inside every girl there lies a secret Bella Swan or in this case a Diana Bishop. An old fragment left from childhood days watching damsels in distress on the Disney Channel being saved by the handsome, fearless, prince. It was that part of me that slightly enjoyed this book for a brief moment. That found enjoyment in the ridiculous love at first sight, I will destroy the world for you kind of relationship that transpired between Diana and Matthew. Unfortunately, it was short lived and the incredulities outweighed the weak charm of this book.

First, this book was a total rip off of twilight. So what? Hundreds of books are based on twilight. Yes, but this one is shameless!

List of Twilight Similarities

1. Most obvious of all: Taboo love between a vampire and a non vampire
2. The obsession with "smelling" things and giving the smells retarded descriptions. " You smell of willow sap. And chamomile that's been crushed underfoot."..... OKAY...
3. Sneaking into her room and watching her sleep.. like we haven't seen that before. #creepyasfuck
4. The Congregation, a.k.a the Volturi. The law keepers of the paranormal realm who are against Diana and Matthew's relationship and want to destroy them
5. The allusion to Diana and Matthew's future babies. Not 100% in line with twilights disturbing demonic baby clawing itself out of the mother, but still a taboo subject.
6. The love at first sight relationship and the following overprotective trope.

That wasn't even my main issue with the book. Since Harkness actually introduced an interesting accompanying story line re. Ashmole and the mysteries surrounding it. No, my issue was the silly character interaction and the over the top cheeseball descriptions. Examples:

Somewhere in the center of my soul, a rusty chain began to unwind. It freed itself, link by link, from where it had rested unobserved, waiting for him

But the most unnerving thing about him was not his physical perfection. It was his feral combination of strength, agility, and keen intelligence that was palpable across the room.

Easy there tiger.

He smiled. It was a small, polite smile that didn't reveal his teeth. I was intensely aware of them anyway, sitting in perfectly straight, sharp rows behind his pale lips.

I was so dumbfounded that I swore. Clairmont looked at me in shock, then chuckled.

Matthew's arms shot around me from behind, pressing my back against his chest so hard that I could feel every flexed muscle. 'Now,' he said directly into my ear, ' we're going to talk like civilized creatures about what happened. You are not running away from this- or from me.'
' Let me go Matthew.' I struggled in his arms.

Gosh, this is not ok. Why do authors think this manhandling is sexy. I honestly think we will never progress as a society that respects women until we get rid of this misconception from our literature, films and lives! This is not sexy.... not at all. It's a sign of helplessness and abuse of physical strength. #saynotomanhandling

Let's talk about Matthew's mom, who despises humans because of what they did to her husband. The woman would kill a human on sight, she loathes them BUT somehow, after meeting Diana and initially hating her, TWO DAYS LATER, she's protecting her and treating her like her own daughter......

There were so many strange behaviors in this story, like Diana obsessing over her keynote speech THE WHOLE TIME while people were out to kill her.

"I was just almost tortured to death but hey I'm fine now! Let's think about my key note speech!"

Basically, it's a shallow paranormal romance that was written as twilight fan fiction. Did you absolutely love twilight and wish there was more novels in the series? LOOK NO FURTHER! Harkness got your back!