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review 2018-04-07 16:42
The Ritual by Adam Nevill (2016 Review)
The Ritual - Adam Nevill

The Ritual by Adam Nevill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The reunion of four University friends not only offers a chance to escape from the stresses of the everyday, but also an opportunity to behold the wonders of the outdoors... Or at least that was the plan. The last thing Hutch, Luke, Phil and Dom needed was to get lost within a virgin forest in a foreign country; a Scandinavian wilderness that just feels wrong. When they bare witness to something hanging up a tree - something dead, everything changes from then on.

(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)

Collecting dust on my bookshelf, amongst the other two hundred unread books (more or less), for a few years now, I finally decided to pick this one up and give it a go. I didn't know what exactly to expect at first, but the whole "man versus nature" aspect appealed to me, and thus I found myself thoroughly impressed with the initial direction of the plot. Even to imagine getting lost in such an ancient maze of untouched forest, where daylight itself refuses to penetrate, definitely makes my skin crawl. Even so, I'm not usually all that affected by horror in general, and even though I didn't feel terrified or frightened, I certainly felt a sense of unease and foreboding. The writing was a main factor in creating such responses; so darkly atmospheric with sentences that conveyed so much, from every stab of fear to every thread of hope. If not for the very drastic change in story in the second half, I'd have rated it five stars.

I didn't even find the characters entirely likeable, but not because they were poorly written - on the contrary, they were painfully realistic. The ones who picked on another out of a jealous attempt to hide their own crumbling lives, the one with obvious commitment issues and lack of purpose, and lastly, the one with the level head. However, even despite Hutch being the one to try and keep everything civil and together, he shared a particular shallowness with Luke in regard to continuously calling the other two "fatties". They had their flaws, as we all do, and as all good fictional characters should. Luke, whom I eventually came to feel sympathy for, was probably the worst, as his views on women were verging on being downright sexist. He clearly had his problems with anger management as well, but what that man experienced, his helplessness - I couldn't help but hope he'd survive the whole ordeal.

As for the complete shift titled "South of Heaven"; I didn't hate it, but admittedly it appeared quite silly at first. Going from the struggles of survival in the wilderness whilst hunted by a mysterious creature, to being held captive by a metal band consisting of face-painted teenagers - it was confusing to say the least, but after a while I settled into the craziness and accepted it for what it was. The trio; Fenris, Loki and Sutr, were void of sanity of any kind (as you can tell from what they called themselves), but even though they were all sorts of ridiculous, the old woman and what dwelled within the attic succeeded in returning the eerie tone. From stitching together the pieces given, the inhabitants of the house were children of the "moder", which added a nice touch. It then begs the question, why did the woman need Luke to do her dirty work in dispatching of the disrespectful teens when she could've called the monster? Well, if you revere something, if you worship something, it stands to reason you don't want to piss it off by expecting it to do pest control.

Still, the rambling on of Christianity, and of how evil they were as Vikings, it got a little tedious after a short time. I'm all for Norse mythology and how religion played a role in the origin of the forest, but I don't need dialogue that seems never-ending to get the point across. I rolled my eyes, I facepalmed, and I missed the simple yet effective quality of the first couple of hundred pages. Again, I state it was close to being a well-deserved favourite, but the last half just wasn't as good.

In conclusion: I'm definitely interested in Nevill's other works now, as I appreciated his ability as a writer. I favoured the first section of this particular novel, but the change in direction jarred me.

Notable Scene:

Luke took three mouthfuls of water from his bottle. It tasted of rubber and of the forest around them: the cloying of damp wood, rotting leaves and cold air. He detested it. He smelled of it too. They were almost a part of it now. Just a few bright colours of the man-made fibres they wore marked them out as any different to the thoughtless, relentless decay of season and nature. It would be so easy now to just sink to the ground and get recycled, to be eaten or rot away. The endlessness of it, the sheer size of the land and their total insignificance within it nearly shut his mind down.

© Red Lace 2016

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/04/07/the-ritual-by-adam-nevill-2016-review
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review 2018-04-01 22:20
Norse Mythology
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

This was a good overview of the Norse myths, written in a simple manner, but I found the style got a bit tedious after a while. Or maybe I'm just not that into myths.

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review 2018-03-23 23:54
Loki had how many wives?!
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

I've never yet been let down by Neil Gaiman and Norse Mythology certainly didn't break that winning streak. In this nonfiction book Gaiman covers a wide range of Norse myths and in the process destroys what Marvel had implanted in the minds (my mind at least) of what Asgard looked like and who inhabited it. For example, Marvel led me to believe that Loki and Thor were adopted brothers. Nope! In actuality, Loki was Odin's HALF brother sooooo the family dynamic just got a whole lot weirder. I think the best thing about Norse Mythology is that it justified my interest in Loki and non-interest (is that a word?) for Thor (who is described as all brawn and no brain). I really enjoyed learning about how these myths explained world events like earthquakes which were thought to be caused by Loki struggling against venomous poison inside of a mountain. And humans attained the gift of poetry from mead that was made from the blood of the wise god, Kvasir. Gaiman doesn't only focus on the 3 biggies (I'm talking Odin, Loki, & Thor) but also discusses the 'lesser' gods and in particular the events surrounding Ragnarok. Up until reading this book, I thought Ragnarok was another word for apocalypse but actually it's better termed as a time of grand change. Yes, the world as the gods came to know it will end but then it's time for a new world which isn't necessarily a bad thing (unless you're a god I guess). This would have been a 10/10 for me except that I kept wishing for illustrations culled from historical texts. This would have really added to the short stories and made it a standout. However, that doesn't stop this from being a very interesting read and I don't think it should stop any of you from grabbing it off the shelves.

 

What's Up Next: Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses by Bess Lovejoy

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2017-12-01 00:30
November Re-cap
She Rides Shotgun: A Novel - Jordan Harper
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman
In a Perfect World - Trish Doller
False Hearts - Laura Lam
Sweetest Venom (The Virtue Series) (Volume 2) - Mia Asher
The Wife Between Us - Greer Hendricks,Sarah Pekkanen
This Song Will Save Your Life - Leila Sales
Open Road Summer - Emery Lord
Dreamfall - Amy Plum
The Sandcastle Empire - Kayla Olson

plus 2 more...

 

 

3203579118664831

 

 

 

  

   It seems like this month has lasted forever...probably due to the fact that I've been sick for about 3 weeks now, a terrible cold...also due to the fact that I worked 3rds for the week of Thanksgiving. All while being sick...It's been a mediocre reading month...a few good ones and the rest...kind of meh.  False Hearts was definitely my fav of the month.

 

 

(Audiobook) She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper

Finish Date:  11/01

3.8/5 STARS - GRADE=B

 

(Audiobook) Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Finish Date:  11/03

3/5 STARS - GRADE=C

 

(Kindle eBook) In A Perfect World by Trish Doller

Finish Date:  11/04

3.7/5 STARS - GRADE=B

 

(Audiobook) False Hearts by Laura Lam

Finish Date:  11/09

5/5 STARS - GRADE=A+

 

(Audiobook) Sweetest Venom by Mia Asher

Finish Date:  11/11

3.7/5 STARS - GRADE=B

 

(Netgalley eARC) The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Finish Date:  11/13

3.7/5 STARS - GRADE=B

 

(Audiobook) This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Finish Date:  11/16

4.5/5 STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Kindle eBook) Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Finish Date:  11/17

4.5/5 STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Audiobook) Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Finish Date:  11/18

3/5 STARS - GRADE=C

 

(Audiobook) The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson

Finish Date:  11/24

3.8/5 STARS - GRADE=B

 

(Audiobook) Until It Fades by KA Tucker

Finish Date:  11/28

4.3/5 STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Kindle eBook) Sekret by Lindsay Smith

Finish Date:  11/30

3.8/5 STARS - GRADE=B

 

12 books total

4,080 pages

8 of them Audiobooks, 3 Kindle eBooks, and 1 Netgalley Arc

 

 

 

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text 2017-11-26 03:05
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square 10: Pancha Ganapati Task
Please Mr. Einstein - Jean-Claude Carrière
Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume - Julie Kenner,Jennifer Coburn,Megan McCafferty,Lynda Curnyn,Jennifer O'Connell,Melissa Senate,Diana Peterfreund,Stephanie Lessing,Laura Ruby,Erica Orloff,Stacey Ballis,Kristin Harmel,Shanna Wendson,Elise Juska,Kyra Davis,Beth Kendrick,Berta Platas,Kayla Pe
The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science - Andrea Wulf
The Chosen - Chaim Potok
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

Tasks for Pancha Ganapati: Post about your 5 favourite books this year and why you appreciated them so much. –OR– Take a shelfie / stack picture of the above-mentioned 5 favorite books.  (Feel free to combine these tasks into 1!

 

Tough cull...  the best of the best for 2017.  It wasn't a straight "5 star" rating thing, but rather the books that stuck with me long after I finished them.  Here then, is my list:

 

Please Mr. Einstein - Jean-Claude Carrière Hands down my favourite book of the year - possibly my life. It's fiction, but it isn't.  Imagine an easy, but in-depth, look at Einstein's theory of relativity, discussed within the frame work of a fantastical time-out-of-time construct.  Throw in a small amount of speculation on what it might have been like to be Einstein, and then throw in a little humour in the form of Sir Isaac Newton constantly trying to crash the interview and get Einstein to admit he was wrong, and you have a small idea of what this book is like.

 

It is not possible to adequately explain how much this book delighted me and moved me.  If you have any interest at all in Relativity and/or Einstein, this book is definitely worth investigating.

 

Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume - Julie Kenner,Jennifer Coburn,Megan McCafferty,Lynda Curnyn,Jennifer O'Connell,Melissa Senate,Diana Peterfreund,Stephanie Lessing,Laura Ruby,Erica Orloff,Stacey Ballis,Kristin Harmel,Shanna Wendson,Elise Juska,Kyra Davis,Beth Kendrick,Berta Platas,Kayla Pe On the other side of the spectrum is Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume.  I loved Judy Blume's books when I was a kid, and at some level I knew she was a best selling author.  But until I read this book I had no idea she'd had as profound an effect on so many others as she had on me.  

 

These essays were funny, moving and amazing.  I don't remember a bad essay in the bunch, but the ones that stuck with me were the essays about Deenie terrifying one author, though ultimately helping her when she herself was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, and the author essay about having to hide Forever while secretly passing it from friend to friend.  That one might have been my life.

 

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World - Andrea WulfA lot of you read this right along with me, so you know how good this book was, even when it stumbled a bit towards the end.  

 

Humbolt ... I still can't wrap my mind around how someone who contributed so much can be so neglected today.  There are ancient Greeks whom we now know to be full of shit that get more recognition than this man who was the first to do so many things, and to discover so many things that are absolutely vital to every person's life today.  Accurate things.  Like better weather maps.   And keystone species.  And, and, and.

 

We need to bring Humbolt and his work back, before the world goes to hell in a hand basket.

 

The Chosen - Chaim PotokThis was a very recent read for me, but such an incredible find.  I feel like my life would have been lacking had I never discovered this book.

 

The friendship at the heart of this book is the Jewish equivalent of a Fundamentalist born-again Christian and a Roman Catholic being best friends; both practicing and headed for a life in their faith.  Only, of the two, one is doing it because he wants to, and the other because he has to.

 

There's also a little softball, a fair amount about father-son dynamics and ultimately an entire book's worth about listening to your soul when it speaks.

 

Norse Mythology - Neil GaimanI have always been fascinated by the Norse myths - far more so than the Greek ones.  But I've never known much about the real myths - only what shows up in popular culture and we all know how accurate that is.  But studying Greek myths in college left me intimidated and wary of tackling the Norse myths.  I don't know how you can make stories involving minotaurs and swans dry and academic, but my university, at least, managed to do just that. 

 

But Gaiman... Gaiman can't make anything dry and academic. And after hearing he honoured the originals rather faithfully, I bought a copy on audio.  Then went out and bought a print copy.  I loved them.  They were horrific but entertaining and Thor is hilarious in his oafishness.  I feel like I can now say I have some familiarity with Norse mythology, and it didn't come from Marvel Comics.

 

 

 

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