Posts Tagged ‘book review’

Sunday Book Review: Welcome Despair


A regular feature to my blog, Sunday Book Review, is simply a review of the book (or books) I read during the previous week on Sunday. While on Goodreads and Amazon, I give books a star rating, I don’t do stars here. I just say what I liked and didn’t like. You will notice that some will be independent titles, some will be mass market books, others will be classics. I write a review on whatever I read that week. I get most of my books from conventions from the author or bookstores, but as per FCC regs, I do mention if I received a book for free.


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Welcome Despair By Maquel A. Jacob

I purchased this book directly from Ms. Jacob at the Capitol Indie Book Fair. Both when I spoke to her and in her blurb she says, “this collection of shorts that lets you dip one foot into the shallow end of horror.”

I would agree with that assessment. These stories are suspenseful, but only a few delve deeply into horror.  Think Tales of the Crypt or Creepshow on the level of horror. However, in one topic, I would say Jacob definitely is fully into horror side of things. She pulls no punches is she explores rape and sexual sadism in every story. There are no happy endings.

FYI: This is not a spoiler, it literally says this on the back of the book.

Her use of language is quite straightforward. There was a few minor typos, but nothing that pulled me out of the story. (Sometimes I am not sure is a typo or just a style choice.) In my opinion, I’d have liked a little more poetry in the prose, but overall it was pretty solid.

The standout (and goriest) story of the five is Taken. Earth has been ravaged by aliens and a group of children are abducted by the sadistic enemy. One boy goes on a rescue attempt for his best friend only to discover he has been turned into a girl (why is unclear) who is being terrorized by the alien emperor.  The aliens are as cruel to each other as they are to the humans. And as I said there are no happy endings.

I would recommend this book for fans of Tales of the Crypt or Creepshow who aren’t’ afraid of reading sexual horror.

 

Sunday Book Review: Doomed and Ariel

As a regular feature to my blog, Sunday Book Review, is simply a review of the book (or books) I read during the previous week on Sunday. While on Goodreads and Amazon, I give books a star rating, I don’t do stars here. I just say what I liked and didn’t like. You will notice that some will be independent titles, some will be mass market books, others will be classics. I write a review on whatever I read that week. I get most of my books from conventions from the author or bookstores, but as per FCC regs, I do mention if I received a book for free.


This week the two books I read couldn’t be more different. My husband is on a Chuck Palahnuik kick right now, and the second book I picked up on a recommendation to relax my brain.


Doomed by Chuck Palahnuik Published by Anchor House, July 2014

51g4k83vm2bl-_sx323_bo1204203200_What in the Hell did I just read? Maybe it’s horror? Maybe its satire? On the book, a reviewer from the Guardian calls it a morality tale.  When I finished it, my husband asked if the book was good. I answered it was strange.

I can’t say whether it was good or bad. I will say, I feel like I should do a writing exercise and analyze Palahnuik’s style. The Basic Premise: A gritty and dark telling of God versus the Devil told via the experiences of the chosen one: Madison Spencer.

What did I like? The novel follows a dead girl named Madison through Palahnuiks slick, visceral sometimes shockingly funny storytelling style. Palahnuik’s descriptions of her life before death, her parents and no religion except that of the celebrity culture are filled with satire.

What didn’t I like? The novel follows a dead girl named Madison through Palahnuik’s slick, visceral sometimes shockingly funny storytelling style. Madison doesn’t really have her own voice she is speaking with Palahnuik’s voice. She would alternatively used vile descriptors or kiddy phrases. But so we don’t forget that she is actually a thirteen year old girl, she repeats “Yes, I know X word.”

If you want to read something different or just want a morality tale with a razor’s edge of wit than this book is for you.


514vfhamfol-_sx331_bo1204203200_Ariel by Fia Essen, 2015

I am not big into “chick-lit”, but Fia Essen’s books are always a cool refreshing glass of water on a hot day.

Ariel, the title character, broke up with her boyfriend and is struggling financially. I enjoyed the fact that the romance is the subplot while the rest of Ariel’s life: work, family, friends are actually the main plot. There is a bit of mysterious element to Ariel which I enjoyed.  With the help of the Muse Agency, she is on a path of self discovery and the ability to love again. But what is the Muse Agency? Why are they so secretive? How do they know so much?

I described Essen’s first book Change of Pace as a beach read, Ariel is also a beach read, but now there is more confidence and strength in Essen’s prose. “There had been a time when I could sprint across rough terrain in stilettos without faltering, but those days were long gone. Few occasions now called for fancy footwear. I was out of practice and my toes were wildly objecting to being squished into such cruelly narrow vessels.”

Essen, Fia (2015-03-30). Ariel (p. 24). Summer Solstice. Kindle Edition.

So if you are looking for a fun beach read, give Ariel a shot.

Update: I believe Change of Pace might be out of print. I looked for it on Amazon for the link and it is no longer listed. 


Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you think!

Review: Zachary Bonelli’s Voyage Embarkation

The Blurb:

At the age of twelve, Kal sprang from the starting block into the pool, his teammates cheering him on. He felt the rush of the air, the crash of the water, but he never finished the heat. He awoke two years later on a world that was Earth, but also not Earth, and discovered that he could never return home. After four years of exile, he can finally escape into the metaxia, the unspace between universes, and realize his dream of exploring alternate realities. Supremely advanced cultures and natural wonders of immeasurable beauty await him. However, there exist also worlds mired in social decay, and those filled with dangerous, exotic forms of life. Armed only with defensive nanotechnology and a computer pad, Kal travels from one alternate Earth to another. Navigating the infinity of possibilities, he embarks on a new kind of voyage, a voyage along the catastrophe of notions.

My Review

Voyage is a thought-provoking science fiction novel. With playfully energetic and intelligent writing, Bonelli proves young adult science fiction can be full of adventure yet, still serious and thoughtful. He builds intricate societies each with their own environment, government, and philosophical values as the protagonist Kal visits multiple Earths through the metaxia.

Bonelli’s style is easy to read. He puts his technical data in the plot in an easy to understand way without bogging down the story with extraneous details.

Readers should know that by design this novel is episodic. It is was originally released as episodes which have now been bound together. There is a story that weaves its way through the novel, but it is secondary to the worlds which Kal and his brother Tria are exploring.

Voyage Embarkation is a brilliant debut novel.

Finally: I love the beautiful illustrations by Aubry K. Andersen.

New pans and a book review of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

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Over the course of my marriage, I have become the chef of the house, because I love to cook and Dennis doesn’t. Rosie and Tycho can not reach the knobs on the stove.

So I got new pans for “Christmas.” We had a set of KitchenAid non-stick pans, but as the Teflon had begun to peel, so I wanted stainless steel. I also wanted something made in the US. (Or at least something built without sweatshop labor) I chose AllClad Stainless Steel. They are absolutely gorgeous.  When we bought a small set, we got a lasagna pan, pot holders, and a lovely hardback book Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. I’ve been using them since I got them, we didn’t wait for the holiday.

Okay on to the book review. This is simply one of the best cookbooks I’ve come across for simple, delicious, and authentic Italian food. The book is filled with recipes, but my favorite part is the the descriptions of ingredients and their uses in the beginning of the book.

As for the recipes, the step-by-step instructions are easy to follow. Many of the recipes have personal stories attached to them. Each recipe I have made so far— which has only been a few since I only have had it for a few weeks–have been fantastic. It’s been cold, so I’ve made mainly the soups and pastas.

For readers, I should point out there are only illustrations rather than photographs of the dishes. But the fonts and illustrations are beautiful.

Tomorrow, I’m using a few friends as Guinea Pigs… I mean I am hosting dinner guests so I can make pasta with cream and butter sauce and the pan roasted lamb on page 411 which is an old recipe from Lombard. The recipe talks about how this method of cooking makes even older lambs tender which is a good idea since I am purchasing lamb in winter. 

 

Review: The Winter (Isaac the Fortunate, #1)

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 The Winter (Isaac the Fortunate, #1)
by A. Ka (Author, Illustrator)

I loved this book. A.Ka’s prose is spectacular. She creates a setting in medieval Spain is rich and full of life and death. Both the idea and the created reality (in the book) of the plague known as the Delirium is truly terrifying.

The time-travel is treated with intelligence and has a few hints about what is coming further in the series.

The characters are deep and well written. Isaac who is the narrator and Beltran the protagonist are sympathetic in different ways, but I don’t want to give away too much. As this is the first book in a six-part series, there are plenty of mysteries to unfold as of yet. I can’t wait for the rest.

PS A. Ka also did the cover and illustrations and they are absolutely gorgeous.

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