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text 2018-02-01 00:56
January in Review

January in Review

(Read: 5 / Reviewed: 9)

It's certainly been an interesting, if not a long, month! Phew, I thought January would never end! Fortunately I got through some great books and was able to write two reviews each week. This new routine really helped me stay on top of things. Let's take a look at all the bookish goodness, shall we?

Read

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Splatterpunk Fighting Back by (multiple) - This analogy has eleven individual stories written by different authors. Going in, I was only vaguely familiar with Duncan Ralston, having previously finished Woom. I never would've discovered this had it not been for Horror Aficionados on Goodreads, of who appointed it the January group read with author invite. I was lucky enough to ask some of the authors questions whilst trying to gain more insight into their brutal tales, and I had a blast! The best thing, though? All proceeds of this book go to charity! (Rated: 4/5)

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay - Another one I wouldn't have picked up if not for the Horror Aficionados group. Being the January group read, I was pleasantly surprised by this one! (Rated: 4/5)

The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter - I started this long-running series in 2011, and it's still ongoing. Whilst I really enjoyed it at the beginning, my enjoyment waned several instalments ago, however I can't just give up without finishing it, can I? Ludicrous! (Rated: 2/5)

What Hides Within by Jason Parent - I found this on Netgalley, and I'm glad I did! Bloodshot Books accepted my request, and I promptly read and reviewed it. (Rated: 4/5)

Morium by S.J. Hermann - I was requested to read and review this novel by the author. Being my last read of January, this one takes priority and will be the first review of February. See my request information here. (Rated: 3/5)

 

Reviewed 

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Blood Song by Cat Adams (WORST READ)
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson
Stephen by Amy Cross
The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards
Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds (BEST READ)
Woom by Duncan Ralston
What Hides Within by Jason Parent
Dark Space by Kevis Hendrickson

Other than that, January was a decent month for me personally. I'm enjoying reading more, getting out more, and generally trying to put more effort into my day-to-day life. I thank everyone who made this past month all the better, including the wonderful authors I had the chance to speak to! Here's hoping for a book-tastic February!

Red xx

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/31/january-in-review
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-28 13:00
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
Lockdown - Alexander Gordon Smith
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Alex Sawyer finds himself in Furnace Penitentiary; a pit in the ground, its sole purpose to cage away the youngest of offenders. The thing is, Alex may be a thief, and he may have broken the law, but he certainly doesn't belong in Hell. Facing a lifetime underground, of never seeing the sun again, Alex is determined to escape. Good thing he's made friends, for he'll need all the help he can get.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

This wasn't a bad book (the Escape from Furnace series is five instalments long); I actually quite enjoyed it on some level, however certain questions got in the way and became an obstacle I unfortunately couldn't bypass. Without sufficient world-building, I just couldn't fully appreciate the premise of the plot; it seemed too far-fetched to me, lacking in any form of realism. But this is a book, right? It doesn't need to be realistic, it's fiction, after all. Well, if a story's told correctly, if sense is made through the writing, then the author makes you believe, no matter if it's about elves and goblins or whatever else. Words are a tool to be used, to transport us to new worlds that in themselves need to work. This didn't work.

Sure, there was a bit of background on the world, and it touched upon why society believed it imperative to lock away children, but it was minimal and certainly not enough. Logic and reason just kept worming its way into my mind, asking why. Why create the most horrific prison for teenagers? Adults commit appalling crimes just as much, if not worse in comparison, yet this prison - this hell - isn't for them? Let's get the important facts out of the way, shall we?

- Each and every prisoner is there serving a life sentence. LIFE. I recall there being kids younger than fourteen.
- Inmates have zero rights. No visitation, no health checks, nothing regarding the law.
- They're killed and / or transformed into monsters regularly. Basically guinea pigs for the warden and his experiments.
- Oh, and they're all male. No females in sight. I can't say I agree with the exclusion, but I get this is supposed to be a book catered to young boys.

They're thrown away, forgotten about, and whilst I understand the "Summer of Slaughter" may have been a horrendous thing, the plausibility was severely lacking.

Moving on, before I just keep on repeating myself! Another thing that occurred to me throughout the chapters - this series is labelled as "young adult", however I found there to be sensitive material that younger readers could very well find disturbing; including the murder and abuse of minors. This isn't something that bothered me per say, but even I felt a chill or two down my spine at the horror elements Smith included with vivid description.

Despite my complaints and belief that it's extremely flawed, I didn't hate it. I kept wanting to read more, to see what would become of each and every character introduced. I found it interesting to read about Alex's range of emotions; from desperation, to fear, to that spark of hope. The place had an effect on the boy; weighing upon his shoulders until he felt he'd been trapped there a lot longer than the mere days in which was reality. Alex may have made mistakes throughout, but I found him likeable. He had spirit, and despite his mistakes in life, he had a good heart. He wasn't my favourite, though, as Donovan took that position. Older, more mature, he strived to take care of the group. I believed it was completely reasonable for him to question Alex's ideas, and for his mindset to be cynical. I actually felt something when he was taken - some sense of sadness.

Whilst some things got repetitive in regards to the writing (the same thing would be described in different ways, over and over, such as the voices of the "blacksuits"), it worked for me. A lot was able to be conveyed; the sheer ugliness of Furnace itself. The dogs, the "wheezers", and in general the frightening side of the plot, were all written superbly. I felt entertained until the very end, and the cliffhanger promptly made me buy the next one. I guess that was the intention!

In conclusion - I found it to be entertaining, however it failed in convincing me how Furnace could be allowed in any country. I'll be continuing on with the series, with the hopes of having a history lesson.

Solitary is the next instalment of this series, and was first published in 2009.

Notable Scene:

The monster was standing outside my cell, staring at me with eyes so deeply embedded in its shrivelled face that they looked like black marbles. The contraption that covered its mouth and nose was coloured with rust and verdigris, and this close I could see that the ancient metal was stitched permanently into the skin.

© Red Lace 2018

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/05/lockdown-by-alexander-gordon-smith
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review 2015-10-27 20:01
#PaperbackFriday Review: Execution (Escape From Furnace #5)
Execution: Escape from Furnace 5 by Smith, Alexander Gordon (2013) Paperback - Alexander Gordon Smith

The last book in this awesome series. If you or your teen has not read the Escape From Furnace series I highly recommend it.

The author has done a great job with the whole series and when I started this book and the way it started off I was kind of wondering how will it really end? 

You know Alex's whole plan is to kill Alfred Furnace no matter the cost, but what exactly will it cost him? We see what actually happened to turn Alfred Furnace into the person or thing he is, and you can't help but in a way feel sorry for him. 

When the army picks up Alex and his friends they are suppose to help them all but will they be able to or is it just a ploy to get all the creatures of Furnace where they can keep an eye on them? I liked the way the ending came about in this book it wrapped everything up any questions that were had were answered, and now Alex can finally rest. After all he has been through and dealt with he is finally free......I will leave that there. There is plenty of action, fighting, surviving and trying to put an end to the hell that has been brought to the surface. You will be kept on the edge of your seat wondering where this is going to go. 

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review 2015-10-04 18:24
Review: Death Sentence
Death Sentence: Escape from Furnace 3 - Alexander Gordon Smith

So I was so glad I was able to get to my library to pick this book up. I have been dying to find out what has happened to Alex. If you read book two which I recommend you do before even reading book three heck I recommend you reading book one before you get to book three, you know that Alex was trying to escape from solitaire. 

Well now the Warden has decided that because he has not only tried to escape once but twice that he will use Alex for something else. He changes Alex and it is not for the good, he has turned him into a black suit. We get a lot of details and descriptions to what the different super humans look like and we get to see how Alex handles it all. It seems the warden uses something called nectar which was invented by the main man Alfred Furnace to pretty much created an army of men that are hard to kill and can withstand pretty much anything. 

When we see the warden's plan backfiring when Alex remembers who he is and how he wants to escape a riot is issued and we are left wondering will Alex and the others become free or will they still be locked inside the furnace? 

We do get a lot of backstory as to why the Nectar was invented and it all has to do with WW2 and Nazis though there isn't a history lesson involved but you can see where the idea came from. We are introduced to more experiments within this book and the way they are described you can't help but wonder what the heck has been going on within this penitentiary and why has no one come to find out answers.  I will be reading book four soon so I can see what else will be happening. I think teens will really enjoy this book as there isn't any bad language, there is plenty of action but there is some killing. 

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review 2013-11-12 13:52
Escape from Furnace, Death Sentence
Death Sentence: Escape from Furnace 3 - Alexander Gordon Smith

I've got to be honest, I'm losing patience with the Massive Cliffhangers now. Yep, I wanted to get the fourth book as soon as I finished this one, but I held off because I found with Death Sentence it was only the beginning and the ending that were captivating, the entire middle chunk of this one I found to be repetitive and verging on dull.

 

Of course given the ending I'm now dying to find out what happens next, but I feel a bit cheated in having to keep forking over my hard-earned to reach any kind of resolution. I think you can exploit this perfectly when it comes to a trilogy, but when you have a longer series it does get a bit annoying. Purely my own opinion of course. I will have to finish the series as I'm itching to know what happens to Alex, Zee and Simon on the outside. But I'll be holding off for awhile, purely as a means of expressing my irritation!

 

Death Sentence is Dark, tense, violent, and oozing with unexpected Nazi unpleasantness. Not for the faint of heart or those with a delicate constitution!

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