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review 2017-05-22 18:35
Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman
Black Mad Wheel: A Novel - Josh Malerman

Black Mad Wheel is a story which defies categorization and instead focuses on delivering characters that you like and can believe in.

 

The Danes are a band consisting of ex-army men, (even if they were only in the army band), who are asked by the military to investigate a noise in the African desert. I know it sounds crazy, and maybe it is, but I found it be compelling dark fiction.

 

From Philip's point of view, (Philip being the band's keyboard player), the narrative switches between the trip to Africa and the present, in which he is hospitalized with every. single. bone. in his body broken. He wakes up not quite remembering everything that happened to him or what happened to the rest of the band. The very fact that he wakes up at all is a miracle. Or is it?

 

Featuring some of the creepiest scenes I've read in quite some time, the author's talent for dark fiction really shines through. I doubt that I'll ever look at a goat in the same way again and I'll probably freak out if I ever see a red piano in real life. I loved the writing and the descriptive scenes and I even loved reading about the two prior military teams that were sent to investigate this mystery sound. (Not to mention the story of the couple native to that part of the desert-it was truly disturbing.) The only difficulty I had was that the premise wasn't really believable-at least not to me. However, I suspended my disbelief, and once I did, I just went along for the ride and what a ride it was!

 

If you've ever felt a song in your heart, I believe you'll be able to identify with Philip and Ellen, his nurse, because it's the music they discover is a common bond between them. The ties between band members are also incredibly strong, (especially when they've been together as long as The Danes), and those connections are not easily broken. (In this respect, Black Mad Wheel reminds me of Robert McCammon's THE FIVE, easily one of the best fictional books about a band that I've ever read.) The last scene nearly broke my heart and I can't think of a more perfect ending.

 

Music, mystery, desert mines and mad doctors, (oh, didn't I mention that before?): with all that going on how can you resist reading this book? You know you want to! Go ahead: invest yourself in Black Mad Wheel , at the very least you'll be intrigued. At the very best, you will end up making space on your bookshelf at home-the one that houses all your favorite books. Highly recommended!

 

Available everywhere tomorrow, May 23, 2017 here: Black Mad Wheel: A Novel

 

*Thank to Ecco books and to Edeweiss for the e-ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This is it. *

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review 2017-04-10 18:42
Roughneck by Jeff Lemire
Roughneck - Jeff Lemire

 

Set in a cold and bleak Canadian town, Roughneck is the story of a retired hockey player trying to put his life back together.

 

The e-ARC I received is mostly black and white, (except for the first 15 pages or so, which have this nice, light blue, cold feeling to them), but from what I've read the final copy will be in color. For me though, the black and white worked quite well.

 

Derek Ouellette is trying to drown his sorrows in alcohol. Being that he already is a tough guy, the drinking doesn't bring out the best in him. Then, when his long lost sister Bethy shows up, (on the run from her latest abusive boyfriend), things get even worse. Derek tries to do the right thing, but can he make it happen? You'll have to read Roughneck to find out.

 

I've not heard of Jeff Lemire before, but I requested an ARC of this graphic novel based on the description alone. I'm so glad I did! I enjoyed the artwork, the isolation of the setting, and the realistic view of the characters. I'm not sure if there are going to be more books about Derek and his sister in the future, but if there are? Count me in!

 

Recommended for fans of cold, bleak settings and tough guy ex-NHL players that can drop the gloves and go in a second's time!

 

*Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery books for the free e-ARC of this graphic novel in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2017-04-07 15:39
Ararat by Christopher Golden
Ararat: A Novel - Christopher Golden

After an earthquake in Turkey, a massive opening is revealed in the side of a mountain, and the ship discovered inside that opening is the setting for Ararat.

 

Adam and Meryam, an adventurous engaged couple, lead an expedition to explore what is thought by many to be Noah's Ark. Their team includes archaeologists, representatives of Turkey, mountain guides and a priest, among others. Once up the mountain and inside, they discover what seems to be some type of coffin. Is this really Noah's Ark? What's in the coffin? More importantly, will the team get out alive? You will have to read this to find out!

 

Ararat raced along barely letting me catch my breath. As the team's investigation into the ship and its contents progressed, the story became darker and the tension hummed along. The main characters were all complicated which added a lot to the atmosphere, especially towards the end. Once I hit the second half of this book, it became impossible to put down and I finished it in one shot. By that time, I had developed real feelings for a few of these people and I just had to see what happened to them, and let me tell you, that ending? I can't remember reading a more satisfying finale than this in a long, long time. Bravo!

 

A tale of isolation, frigid temperatures, snow, and something unknown; I can't help but be reminded of one of my favorite horror movies of all time, (based on a novel by John Campbell), called The Thing. This novel is slightly more complicated, but the atmosphere and the tension are there in spades, and what horror fan doesn't love that?

 

Ararat is everything it promises in the synopsis and more. I cannot think of anything that could have been done better, because this book is already perfect. My highest recommendation, most especially to fans of The Thing, or The Terror by Dan Simmons. Ararat is a MUST READ!

 

Available on April 18th here: Ararat: A Novel

 

*Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2017-03-29 02:48
Harriet the Spy
Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet the Spy is about a girl who writes down everything she notices or feels about everyone, including those she calls her friends. This is a fantastic book that many students can relate to - whether they have felt isolated, bullied, or have been a bully. Students can learn from Harriet the Spy how be honest but gracious and nice.

 

With this novel, I would read it aloud as well as assign chapters to read for students in any grade between third or fifth grade. We would throughout the readings have class discussions on character, setting, plot and analysis, as well as have short quizzes when assigned chapters to read to test reading. In a fifth grade class, I would at the end of the reading have my students write an essay discussing when it is okay to write about people and why.

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review 2017-01-10 02:04
The Walking Dead Compendium 1 by Robert Kirkman
The Walking Dead, Compendium 1 - Cliff Rathburn,Charlie Adlard,Tony Moore,Robert Kirkman

 

Now, I wish I hadn't waited so long to read these! There are a lot of things that are different than on the show, but overall, I think the show has better character development. I'm not sure it's due to the writing-it might be due to the superior actors. 

 

I already have the second one reserved at the library! Bring it on. 

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