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review 2017-01-06 11:42
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
The Ghost Bride - Yangsze Choo

The main character was clearly dropped on her head as a child, and I had a lot of other issues with this book. Weirdly I still enjoyed the writing style, enough so that I didn't ditch the book. Which is saying something. The topic was also rather interesting.

 

Still had some major issues, like the MC being insanely shallow. 2 (ish) stars.

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review 2016-10-01 11:41
The Girl With No Name - My Review
The Girl With No Name - Diney Costeloe

What a beautiful ending to a wonderful book. Thank goodness Harry seem to have disappeared from the picture - I wonder what happened to him?

 

It was horrifying to read about Mutti's condition at the end, to imagine anyone could survive such a thing let alone the hundreds of people who did is just.... insane. It really does seem like a work of fiction; heartbreaking and impossible to believe.

 

Lovely ending, poor girl after all her heartache she deserved such a joyful end.

 

All the characters were exceptionally well done, even the devious Harry who I'm fairly certain turned into a narcissistic psychopath fundamentally due to his horrible circumstances. Terrifying to imagine how many others out there who would have turned into similar beings.

 

Still the skill the author showed in this book, creating this story and these superb characters was incredible. The Girl With No Name also had a unique writing style, sort of third-person then scatterings of first-person POV, admittedly I was a little weirded out by it at the beginning but it really worked for the story, I don't believe it would have been told as well without it. I'll definitely be looking into more of her work.

 

4 Stars

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review 2016-09-22 06:24
Vigil - Based in Brisbane!! (My Review)
Vigil - Angela Slatter

I'll admit the only reason I managed to finish this book was because it's loosely based in my place of residence (Brisbane) and I was intrigued. It was interesting to see how the author views the place we both live so differently to me, clearly a city girl who spends a lot of time at Kangaroo Point (which does have a beautiful view).


Anywho even though I did at times struggle with finishing Vigil I can't say it was a bad book as I did enjoy it. I think the reason why it was so easy to put down is more due to the pacing, there were times when there was a clear pause in the story, like a mini-finish where I could easily put the book down or would be bored enough to go off and do other things, plus the descriptions were a bit long for my taste, I prefer the minimalist amount. I have a good imagination my brain will do the rest.

 

The creatures where great, loved how they were dark and deadly. Characters were alright, I didn't really care for any of them or click with them. The main character had the maturity of someone in their late teens/early twenties even though it was obvious her character was meant to be older, this I find is a pet-peeve of mine. Really bugs me.
The book being based in brissy was trippy, some places were easily identified others not (though I did wonder if I'd be able to look up some places or people and see a real life version). The idea of so many people disappearing here is a bit ludicrous. It's not a very big city and we have a fairly good homeless community service programs here, even if they can't find a spot in a home they have access to food for free a few times a week by different groups, so the regulars are well known. Still not a bad idea if the city was bigger or if I hadn't lived here for a few years I'd be totally behind the idea.

 

I really enjoyed how everything came together nice and neatly in the end. I had no clue as to whom the bad guy was masquerading as so that was a nifty little surprises.
Anyways based on everything I decided to rate this book 2.5/3 stars.

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review 2016-08-26 21:22
The Girls, Emma Cline
The Girls: A Novel - Emma Cline

A/N: I'm reposting this because I just realized when you save a draft and then post it later, it posts under the original date and time. #themoreyouknow

 

Guy had been less interesting to the media, just a man doing what men had always done, but the girls were made mythic.

 

Why have the Manson murders made such a cultural impact, from 1969 to the present? Why do they fascinate us in a country with so many murders (or so much interest in them) there are now entire TV channels dedicated to true crime? One possible explanation is that, along with other events, like Altamont, the murders signaled the ending of an extended summer of love and of the counterculture, or showed us their dark underbelly, what happens when love is too devoted and social justice motivations are twisted. Another possibility is the unforgettable, crazed face of Manson himself.

 

But really, it's the girls.

 

How could so many girls be held in such thrall as to murder on command? How could they kill a beautiful, young, pregnant starlet? Young women make familiar victims. When they become victimizers, it puzzles, shocks, and disturbs, as if rabbits suddenly turned into predators instead of prey. As the quote above mentions, a man killing is nothing new. A woman killing...unnatural, we think.

 

A strength of Emma Cline's The Girls is that, though the girls flock around the Manson-like figure of Russell, it's really the protagonist's relationship with one of them, Suzanne, that takes center stage. As she notes of her meetings with Russell, I was eager for our encounters, eager to cement my place among them, as if doing what Suzanne did was a way of being with her. 

 

First, what this book isn't. It isn't an omniscient picture of a Manson Family-like group or of the fictionalized murders, though certainly you get an idea of the former through the lens of the first-person narrator, Evie, who is a temporary fixture at their farm. Evie learns the details of the murders through the media, like everyone else, but we're only given snapshots, disturbing but not too graphic. If you want a play-by-play of the real thing with gory details, google it or read Helter Skelter. That's not this novel's focus or raison d'etre.

 

It's also not a sweeping portrait of America in the '60s. I've seen some readers complaining that there isn't enough of this or that, mostly the sorts of things we've come to associate with that period whether we lived at that time or not: counterculture, protests, hippies, Vietnam. Those things are mentioned, and Russell preaches love and the ills of money while getting it where he can via the girls, but the book's not a history lesson (also, many forget that the majority of Americans did not participate in the counterculture or oppose the war in Vietnam). Evie is a fourteen-year-old girl; she's not oblivious to larger goings-on, but they're not as important as her feelings and desires and her immediate situation and environment.

 

If anything, The Girls is a coming of age story. It's split between Evie as a grown, older woman in the present and as a teenager in 1969, with a focus on the latter. She's become a caregiver but seems isolated. A run-in with an old friend's son and his girlfriend dredges up the past and reminds her what it feels like to be paid attention to. Evie comes to realize little has changed when it comes to the dynamics of young men and women, and it's a lens through which she sees herself in the past (and vice versa, her experiences in the past shedding light on her present observations). Her friend's son knows she was a part of "that cult," and his and his girlfriend's questions prompt her to consider how and why she didn't become a murderer herself.

 

As a fourteen year-old, Evie's life is familiar: she has a best friend, divorced parents, longs for the attentions of her friend's older brother. A fight with her friend and a disintegrating relationship with her mother (whom Evie blames for the divorce, as so many girls blame their mothers and pardon their fathers) leads her to help one of the girls she'd seen from the farm when they encounter each other at a pharmacy. Evie is immediately drawn to Suzanne; it's the book's opening scene. Evie begins spending time at the farm with Suzanne and the others, mostly girls, and eventually is introduced to their charismatic leader, Russell.

 

What follows mirrors what most know of the Manson Family: drugs, sex, communal living, a man who knows how to play to girls' insecurities to get what he wants. Russell knows a man from a popular rock band and wants a record deal; Evie becomes a sort of gift or bribe in those efforts, which ultimately fall through and culminate in violence.

 

Evie knows only so much about the other girls and their backgrounds, including Suzanne. She herself is conscious of her cleanliness and nice neighborhood, where she spends less and less time (her mother thinks she's with her friend), and of the boarding school she's being sent to at summer's end. But she finds some measure of acceptance at the farm, and the feeling of belonging (and Suzanne's attention) is intoxicating.

 

I highlighted more passages in this book than in any other e-book I've read. Cline has so many smart and revealing observations about girlhood (or girl into womanhood), and her prose is sharp and unique. I wouldn't be surprised if she wrote poetry as well. In terms of her writing style, YMMV (your mileage may vary); I've seen some put off by it. I ate it up (in contrast, I couldn't even finish the sample for Fates and Furies the language was so cloying to me). It's isn't overwhelming or flowery, just consistently startling. If you read the opening, you'll immediately have an idea of the book's prose and tone and whether or not it appeals to you.

 

There's a reason the book's description references The Virgin Suicides. Like that novel, there appears to be a mystery in need of solving, but there are no pat answers. Instead of the boys' perspective, as in Suicides, we have that of a young girl who was there. The Girls is clear about how and why Evie became who she is instead of someone else, and it's a line as fine as a thread, which is the most disturbing of all. The question isn't "Why those girls?" It's "Why not me?"

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-07-11 06:48
My Thoughts: The Great Zoo of China.
The Great Zoo of China - Matthew Reilly

The Great Zoo of China started off strong. The introduction gave us the setting for the story - a death scene, a hint of bad guys and dragons. Afterwards we were introduced to our characters, given tidbits of information about their history and relationships with each other. Then to the zoo and dragon, this part was great, they explained in detail how they came across the dragons, their skills, abilities, and physical structure, the linking DNA with other creatures, how the dragons played a part in history - all of the information was sound, if dragons did exist I could easilypicture them being just like this.
Later on we go for a little exploration around the zoo, check out the incredible skill of the Chinese when it comes to infrastructure, where the dragons live, their activities, where people would visit and how they'd interact with the dragons - then the action started and all logic and physics went flying out the window.
The action was badass! everyone....well almost everyone was dead within just a few hours, with the book describing the gory death scene's, the dragons eating peoples faces, blood and brain matter everywhere, the inability of people being able to fight and survive against such a brutal and intelligent predator..... think Jurassic Park times a thousand. Which was cool and all but the complete lack of realistic survival kept pulling me out of the story, the dragons were so badass, its ridiculous to believe anyone would survive, let alone CJ who continuously stopped during a life and death moment so she could watch the dragons kill everyone around her. And who would put her in charge of the group when there was a perfectly good military guy just standing around? He would be the most logical choice - of course she was the only person intelligent enough to figure that tidbit out as well. Sorry CJ but with how much importance you were given made me dislike you a lot more than I ordinarily would - she was a tough, intelligent, go-getter, who played with crocodiles for a living and was a vet. Really she was thatamazing, but it was overshadowed by the unbelievable parts she played in the book, girl was a glory hog.
Still the beginning was great and the action entertaining, and it had dragons so this book is still worth at least 3 stars just for that!

 

 

Side note: I also noted that all Chinese in this book where a least a little bad/evil except for 2. A little girl (of course she had to be innocent) and a clumsy electrician. Which seemed a tad (very) odd.

(spoiler show)
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