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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-05-22 17:13
Erinyes by George Saoulidis (2016 Review)
Erinyes - George Saoulidis

Erinyes by George Saoulidis
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Egotistical Mahi is beyond ecstatic when she's presented with a new phone by her father; it's top of the line and a new model, one that offers tech never yet seen before. However unbeknownst to the selfie-loving youth, there's more to the phone than meets the eye.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to George Saoulidis for giving me the opportunity!

Initially the synopsis caught my eye when I was first directed to this novella; it sounded like just what I wanted at the time - a creepy tale, something to pull me in and keep me entertained. In this case, it was of a frightening Greek deity stalking her victim through phone selfies (of all things, but why not?), perhaps even escalating to increasingly terrifying events, or at least that's what I expected. I was optimistic, very much so, however the execution proved less than thrilling and failed to induce the desired effects; irritation rather than fear, boredom rather than interest. I'm being brutally honest here, in that I didn't consider it a finished work, but rather a draft piece that could've been largely improved upon.

Indeed technology has become a very significant aspect of life, and I'm sure it'll continue to evolve and play a major role in everything we do, but due to the main characters obsessive and downright unhealthy attitude toward social media, I found it difficult to read her narrative. I even questioned; are the adolescents of today really like this, or is this merely an exaggeration? Do underage girls continuously post pictures of themselves for the attention of older men, and depend upon "likes" for their happiness?

It's sad, because I know the answer. All I have to do is take a look at Facebook, or some other similar website.

Mahi was such a dislikeable person. Utterly childish, painfully narcissistic and ridiculously naive, I didn't come to care for her at all. I'm all for teenagers as main protagonists, but when they're portrayed in such a way that makes me want to gouge my eyes out, then I know there's very little that can save the book in terms of my enjoyment. As for the few other characters (her two friends, mostly), they left little impression and ultimately added very little overall.

I feel that with some proper editing and development upon the storytelling, then perhaps this could've been a decent read. As it was, it lacked the build-up of tension and anything remotely eerie. The plot and ending could've been more fleshed out; the ending itself was abrupt and offered no closure. I can't say, even if I had of liked the story, that I would've been satisfied with the conclusion. No questions were answered (what did the phone have to do with anything?), and all in all, it was disappointing.

In conclusion: Like many indie works I read these days, it suffers from grammatical errors and has an unfinished feel to it. I deeply disliked the main character and I feel she had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. It could've been improved greatly with a little TLC, but otherwise I consider this not my type of book.

© Red Lace 2016

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/05/22/erinyes-by-george-saoulidis-2016-review
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-05-19 21:32
Needful Things by Stephen King
Needful Things - Stephen King

Needful Things by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There's a new store opening in Castle Rock, and the whole town has noticed its special green awning. Questions arise as to what it will sell, and whom exactly the proprietor is, but nobody ever expected the severity in discovering such simple things. Treasures that appear otherworldly in their perfection start to become prized possessions, soon enough causing disarray in the town's day to day activity. There's something too good to be true about Needful Things.

(WARNING: This reviews contains minor spoilers.)

Whilst it felt like this one took me far too long to finish, I really shouldn't forget that at nearly a thousand pages, it's one of the longest books I've picked up in years. Being a relatively slow reader in general, the weeks seemed to fly by as I continued to be in thrall of Leland Gaunt's brilliantly wicked schemes, thus it was approximately one month before I reached the end. I admit, such lengthy novels can be intimidating to me, whereupon I feel I'm not making much progress, but I found myself very much intrigued by King's use of development; rather than everything happening all at once, a considerable amount of time was taken to form an almost intimate relationship between character and reader. I do admit that despite this intention and my enjoyment for the majority of the time, my interest dropped now and again by a slight margin with all the backstory and slow trudge toward climax. There was just so much, and sometimes I had to place the book down and have a break.

I feel like in the past, I dismissed King's work as I considered it largely not my style, however, after several years of my tastes morphing and expanding, I believe I can finally appreciate his format of storytelling. He has a very precise way of writing, and it truthfully jarred me at first, but it really does work within the setting he creates. Of course, this is strictly a personal matter, but one I wanted to briefly touch upon.

The plot of this beast of a book deals a lot with obsession and greed over material objects - something we have all experienced in our lives. Materialism in general is a huge part of humanity, and Leland Gaunt was able to immensely exploit and amplify the deepest desire of each victim, going so far as to greatly influence their every paranoid little thought. He was a truly an excellent villain; one of the best as far as I'm concerned. He implemented himself into people's lives, and quickly became integral; as far as they were aware, he took their best interests at heart. It was his expertly woven manipulation, as well as his cool demeanour, that struck me as quite fascinating. Whether he was a demon, a dragon, or the devil himself, I won't soon forget how much he impressed me.

At times I found myself confused over the abundant cast of characters, but soon enough they all had their own particular and memorable differences. The two that drew me in the most, gaining my favouritism and attachment, was Polly and Alan. They were both painfully realistic in their emotional and physical ailments. I wished time and time again for them to survive the horrific events Gaunt set in motion, and most of all, for them to remain together. With so many diverse personalities, I experienced a range of reactions, from laughter to pity and much of everything in-between. You see, there's definite comedic value with such a man as Buster, and a sense of tragedy with someone like Brian - all in all King was able to bring their unique situations to life.

In conclusion - I'm glad I plucked up the courage to read this. I'd describe it as a slow burn, leading to an explosive finale. The evil mastermind behind the whole thing, Leland Gaunt, had to be the highlight; at first subtle in his transgressions, but then going all out on the poor citizens of Castle Rock.

Notable Scene:

The two women lay draped over each other like lovers, their blood painting the cinnamon-colored leaves in the gutter.

© Red Lace 2018

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/05/19/needful-things-by-stephen-king
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text 2018-05-10 21:00
3 reasons to publish a book review. Now. Scheduling not working

You're on BookLikes among book lovers so you probably know why book reviews are so important. Just in case you're still wondering here are three points that should encourage you to publish a book review on your blog. Right now. 

 

3 reasons to share a book review:

 

1. Reading buddies know good books -- there's no better book recommender than a fellow book lover so if you're looking for a next read take a peak at your friend's bookshelf and a book blog. 

 

2. Deepen your reading experience -- writing a review makes you think, ponder, analyze the plot, characters, author's choices and perspective. 

 

3. Shout out -- if you receive good news, you want to scream it out; if you read a good book, you should spread the word out. It's great for your followers but also writers for whom positive feedback is an excellent fuel and wiring inspiration. 

Inspired to share a book review? 

Great!

 

Now a short note from the BookLikes staff. Oops!  

 

We wanted to let you know that the Post date option in the text editor mode received an unexpected hiccup and refuses to set a future post date, or any post date :/ Apparently, it follows Benjamin Franklin's motto: Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today. 

 

For the time being the best possible way of publishing is to publish NOW.

You CANNOT set up a future post date.

The calendar sticks to a cursor and dances around making it impossible to set a publication date other than NOW. 

 

The issue has been reported and awaits for a fix. 

 

 

Workaround. 

If you have some reviews, articles, posts in your Drafts (no date scheduled) and you'd like to publish them NOW:

1. Go to your Drafts (Main menu -> Blog -> Drafts (in the right column)

2. Click Edit the post

3. Copy the source code (the text and images will be copied with the formatting)

 

4. Start a new Text post

5. Paste the source code

6. Publish with NOW date

 

If you have already scheduled your posts with the future dates, they will publish in accordance to the dates. It appears that the bug refers only to new posts.  

 

We're really sorry for the ongoing situation! ;(((

Please write to Kate@booklikes.com with any questions or concerns. 

 

We can only ask you to stay calm and follow Buddah's mantra: 

 

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text 2018-05-04 13:24
#38 Follow Friday with book bloggers: JUNIPER GREEN

 

Hello Friday! Hello Follow Friday with book bloggers! Meet Juniper, a science fiction lover who recommends a bunch of amazing titles not only for sci-fi readers. Keep on reading. 

 

Follow JUNIPER GREEN's blog on BookLikes: http://junipergreen.booklikes.com/

 

 

What are you reading right now? How do you like it?

 

Right now I'm using the time between two fiction books to read some short fiction. I've just finished Calved by the always amazing Sam J. Miller. The short story is set in Qaanaaq, eponymous floating city of Miller's recent novel Blackfish City, and follows Dom, an ice boat worker, at his desperate attempt to mend his relationship with his estranged teenage son Thede. It's well imagined cli-fi – science fiction dealing with the consequences of climate change – as well as a gut-punching tragedy. “Crushing” is probably the most fitting expression to describe it. That I anticipated the ending quite early on just made it worse. (In case it isn't clear: That's a compliment.)

 

Gypsy Sexuality - Jud Nirenberg,Bill BilaApart from that, I'm reading a non-fiction book, Gypsy Sexuality: Romani and Outsider Perspectives on Sexuality   a collection of essays, studies, and interviews edited by Jud Nierenberg. It's less about sex and more about Romani civil rights and relationships, dealing with such diverse topics as the self-image of Romani women, the objectification of Romani by outsider media, the difficulties in Romani / non-Romani relationships, and also about atrocities like the forced sterilization of Romani women. I think it's an important book and deserves to be more widely read. It could use a more professional editing, some contributions seem a bit haphazardly translated – on the other hand, that lends them a certain kind of authenticity.

 

 

Which book made you a book lover?

 

I can't remember a time when I wasn't a book lover. When I was little, I wouldn't go bed without a bedtime story. I was lucky enough that my family encouraged my love for books and stories. I grew up surrounded by books. My parents read to me, children's books and fairy tales and comics, and when they didn't have the time, my grandfather would make up stories about a heroic Saint Bernard called Bello and tell me about his adventures. 

 

 

How did your book blogging adventure start? What do you enjoy the most about it?

 

I started writing book and film reviews for our local newspaper when I was a teenager. I've been reviewing books (and films) on and off ever since. I enjoy writing about what I've read, about what I did and didn't enjoy. Reviewing helps me to analyse why certain things work for me while others don't. It also helps me remembering more details about what I've read. I've used Goodreads for a while, but couldn't really get into the community. Booklikes' blogging structure seems a bit more suited to the way I actually review, and also allows me to blog random stuff about music and films.

 

 

 

Why reading is important to you?

 

Reading is a mind-expanding experience. I can examine different points of view, giving my empathy-muscle some work-out.

 

 

In your short bio we can read you live in Germany. Do you read both in English and German? Does the book language influence the reading experience?

 

Whenever possible, I try to read books in their original language. Most books I read are in German and English though, and occasionally I will read a book in translation, if I can't find a copy of the original or if the translation is much cheaper (yeah, I'm somewhat of a cheapskate. And I love vintage paperbacks). When reading in German, I can more easily lean back and relax, getting into the flow of the story. Reading English or another foreign language means more work for me. The language barrier creates a greater distance between me and the text, I have to work harder to form a connection with a story and its characters. But putting more work into it also means the book will stick with me longer.

 

 

Which books are you most excited recommending to your followers?

 

I have so many books to recommend, it's hard to narrow it down. Especially because I don't yet know what my followers here prefer to read. But here are some of my favourites:

 

Falling Out Of Cars by Jeff Noon. British SF and weird fiction author Jeff Noon's most lauded work is Vurt  his breakthrough novel first published in 1993. I love Vurt, but I like Falling Out Of Cars even more. It's the weirdest thing I've ever read, without exaggeration. In this dystopian novel, people are falling prey to a disease overflowing the human mind with static, making it impossible to tell signal from noise. Marlene Moore tries to navigate this world, following a mysterious job, picking up enigmatic passengers along the way. This book is her diary, a nightmarish road-movie borrowing motifs from Alice in Wonderland (as Noon is wont to do), creating something  complex and haunting.

 

Falling Out of Cars - Jeff NoonVurt - Lauren Beukes,Jeff NoonTales of Nevèrÿon - Samuel R. Delany

 

Tales of Nevèrÿon by Samuel R. Delany, the first book in the Nevèrÿon series. Delany uses the sword-and-sorcery genre to examine power from all angles – sexual, political, economic, you name it, it's here. He also explores themes like language, desire, gender, psychology, the nature of civilization. Also also, he tells a rip-roaring story about a couple of gay lovers leading a slave-revolt. Also also also, dragons.

 

Schilf by Juli Zeh  (In Free Fall (US) or Dark Matter (UK) in English). Zeh combines physics, love, and murder into something that's not quite a mystery. Oscar and Sebastian are friends since their days at university. After Sebastian's marriage, the relationship has grown tense. When Sebastian's son Liam appears to be kidnapped, events spiral inevitable downwards. “Physics is for lovers”, and this book is for everyone who likes to read literary mysteries.

 

Schilf: Roman - Juli ZehIn Free Fall: A Novel - Juli ZehDark Matter - Juli Zeh

 

 

 

How do you find new books to read?

 

Lots of different sources. Recommendations by trusted reviewers, following favourite authors and publishers on Twitter, stalking their blogs, professional reviews...

 

 

You're a sci-fi fan. Are you an adventurous reader picking up new genres or are you loyal to your favorite book genre?

 

As a younger teenager, I used to be a very loyal reader of horror (Stephen King) and vampire stories (Anne Rice). When I got my first library card, it expanded my reading-universe immensely. I used to pick up books solely going by cover and title, discovering many great authors this way, even some all-time favourites (José Saramago, most importantly). I still read pretty widely, including lit-fic, noir, science fiction and fantasy, weird fiction, and some horror, but currently I'm focusing on catching up with science fiction and noir classics.

 

 

Do you read one book or several at a time?

 

I try to stick to one book at a time. Reading more turns too stressful for me. But sometimes I'll read a fiction and non-fiction book parallel to each other.

 

Read Shelf

 

 

You’re an editor, a journalist and a lecturer. Does your book related occupation influence your reading list?

 

Sometimes. I teach linguistics and semiotics, and I find myself drawn to book dealing with these topics. Sometimes I can even use books I've read for fun in class.

Being an editor – copy editor for non-fiction texts – influences my reading in less pleasant ways. Spotting mistakes in books really annoys me, and I can be extremely nit-picky.

 

 

Your BookLikes Bookshelf presents many thematic shelves. Does it mean you’re an organized book lover?

 

Oh, no! Not at all! My shelves are mostly named by association, and sometimes even I can't tell any more why I put a certain book on a certain shelf. My shelves at home are organised by colour and my Kindle isn't organised at all.

 

There's a German saying: “Ordnung ist das halbe Leben” (order is half of life). Well, I prefer the other half.

 

 

What are your three favorite book covers?

 

Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon. I haven't even read the book yet, but I love the cover. It's so corny, and so neon – absolutely spectacular.

 

The Poem Skull by J.M. Hushour.  A very fitting cover. Weird, zany book, too.

 

Recently I find myself in love with the UK edition of Sam J. Miller's Blackfish City, the next book I plan to read. I like the neon-coloured US-edition too, but the UK cover with its crisp ocean colours and contrasting pink letters really stood out to me.

 

Inherent Vice - Thomas PynchonThe Poem-Skull - J.M. HushourBlackfish City: A Novel - Sam J. Miller

 

 

A paper book or an e-book?

 

Firmly both. I like my Kindle for practical reasons; it's easier to travel with, and I can adjust the font size to my convenience. But I also like the look and feel (and smell) of paper books, of books brand new from the factory as well as of vintage paperbacks which have already traveled a bit, gaining personality and having more than one story to tell.

 

 

Three titles for a holiday break?

 

For your Eurovision holiday party (May 12th, don't miss it!): Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente. I mean, Eurovision in space!

Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente 

 

For a day (or a month) at the beach: Der Schwarm (The Swarm) by Frank Schätzing. Biological thriller featuring everything (EVERYTHING!) you ever wanted to know about marine wildlife. Plus a few things you didn't want to know.

Der Schwarm - Frank SchätzingThe Swarm - Frank Schätzing,Sally-Ann Spencer

 

For people who don't like holidays: Thomas Ligotti's The Conspiracy Against the Human Race. The sun shines too brightly? The birds sing too chirpy? Your life's too damn groovy and you need something to bring you down? This is the perfect book for you. A veritable antidote to happiness, darker than sunshades and as soothing as a rainy day in November.

 

The Conspiracy Against the Human Race - Thomas Ligotti,Ray Brassier 

 

 

Favorite quote?

 

Der Mensch ist ein Loch im Nichts. // The human being is a hole in nothingness.

~ Juli Zeh, Schilf (In Free Fall/ Dark Matter)

 

If you could pair a book with a drink, what would you prepare to sip while reading?

 

Something with caffeine. Coffee in winter, in summer diet coke with lots of ice.

 

 

Shelfie time! Please share your home library photos :)

 

I don't collect books. Usually I donate or re-sell after reading. So I don't have that many shelves I could show you. But here's a look at my less than impressive, and somewhat chaotic, library and at my Kindle content.

 

Thank you!

 

 

*

Have you missed previous Follow Friday talks? Use ffwithbookbloggers tag or click the catch up links below:

 

 

You can nominate your blogger friends to the Follow Friday interview! Leave the URL address and a short note in the comment section below.

 

See you next Friday!

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-05-04 07:16
The Rift by R.J. Clark
The Rift (Detectives and Demons #1) - R.J. Clark

The Rift by R.J. Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Matt Faustus, whose very soul is connected to a high ranking fiend, finds himself neck-deep in a new case - one he accepted despite being warned about the possible ramifications. A little girl is missing, abducted by the family's house-cleaning demon, and it's his job to find her. Eager to earn that paycheck, Matt's enthusiasm soon lands him in trouble within the Hellspawn society, though that sure doesn't stop him.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to R.J. Clark for giving me the opportunity!

This came as an unexpected surprise, especially considering I added this one to my Goodreads shelf way back in 2011; the year I made the decision to start reviewing everything I read. Being able to jump into something that piqued my interest that long ago, well, it was more than nice. What initially drew me in was the compelling aspect of the Rift itself, and how it expelled demons of all shapes and sizes right out into the city of New Orleans. Can you imagine if that happened? It's a terrifying thought; an apocalyptic occurrence right out from Revelations. However, whilst the book includes adult themes of gore and some sensitive subject matters, I wouldn't classify it as horror. For me, it was urban fantasy through and through - perhaps on the darker side of the spectrum, yes, but urban fantasy all the same - a genre that still appeals to me despite my tastes evolving toward more darker material.

Matt was certainly an entertaining and likeable protagonist, even if he displayed selfish and immature behaviour, but those faults didn't affect my impression of him. His soul-bound connection to Baalberith was yet another high point, offering a more intimate and unique peek into the relationship between man and monster. A large part of what intrigued me was Matt's entire history - there's so much backstory, so much unexplored territory to his character. Mentioned throughout were snippets of his difficult childhood, a large portion including Father Donovan and his ceaseless exorcism attempts. Clark has a great amount of freedom if he wishes to return to the world in which Matthew resides, either as a recollection of earlier events, or following the conclusion of this debut. Maybe even involving a new hero entirely!

My favourite character had to be Persephone, however. I found him a great addition to the team as he added much needed spice to what would've been a couple's day out. There was nothing wrong with Alura per se; she had a temper I found to be enticing, and I loved the Succubi as a species, but overall I didn't quite feel connected to her partnership with Matt. This could be because their attachment had already been established, and instead of accompanying them along with their courtship, I was thrown into the middle. I felt somewhat lost at times, and when particular information was held back, of which concerned the reason why they had fallen out in the first place, it even further distanced me.

The plot itself was the definition of action packed. It just didn't stop; trouble followed Matt everywhere, biting at his heels. I appreciated the fact that injuries were in abundance - pain, bloody and brutal, was dished out over and over. There's nothing more tedious than an overpowered hero that comes out on top of every bad situation. For me to get properly invested and absorbed, there has to be that feeling of danger and struggle, even if it's nothing but a convincing illusion. Clark was able to pull this off superbly, successfully giving considerable weight to every threat. The ending also held a twist I adored, because of the sheer horribleness of it. Suffice it to say, I felt sorry for Matt.

As for the Bestiary and wide selection of demons - I enjoyed the large amount of creativity put into their creation. They had their own culture and each offered their own strengths and weaknesses. It might not have been pretty, but I was completely on board with that.

As you can tell, I've a lot to say about this once forgotten novel as I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I do believe it's in need of further editing. There's a large amount of mistakes; incorrect words placed within sentences, although it didn't bother me all too much.

In conclusion: I would consider this a great beginning to a series. I enjoyed the demonic elements, and Matt as protagonist. This book deserves more recognition in the urban fantasy genre, for sure, however I believe it needs a bit of tidying up in regards to sentence structure.

Notable Quote:

Most humans saw these creatures as second class citizens, and treated them decidedly so. Like their slaves for the most part. Regardless of the concept of inalienable rights, man is a creature attracted to subjugation, and since it wasn't legal in this country to enslave each other anymore, many figured they'd just substitute the Hellspawn. Demons were the food that fed that primal urge without attracting social ire or reproach.

© Red Lace 2018

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

 

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/05/04/the-rift-by-r-j-clark
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