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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-03-18 06:20
The Deluge by Mark Morris
The Deluge - Mark Morris


"It came from nowhere. The only warning was the endless rumbling of a growing earthquake. Then the water came—crashing, rushing water, covering everything. Destroying everything. When it stopped, all that was left was the gentle lapping of waves against the few remaining buildings rising above the surface of the sea.

Will the isolated survivors be able to rebuild their lives, their civilization, when nearly all they knew has been wiped out? It seems hopeless. But what lurks beneath the swirling water, waiting to emerge, is far worse. When the floodwaters finally recede, the true horror will be revealed.



This is an unoriginal apocalypse/post-apocalypse novel, that doesn't so much terrify the audience as revolt them with graphic descriptions of [spoiler] corpses [/spoiler], and other ... "things".  The writing was inconsistent with too much exposition and not enough "showing".  I also found the characer's reactions (or rather lack thereof) to the disaster to be unbelievable, especially in this day and age when supposed adults are having melt-downs over some internet persons differing opinions.  There were simply too many unanswered questions not to get annoyed with this book.  We never find out what caused the deluge, or [spoiler] what the slugs are or where they come from, or what happens to Max and what they find when they leave [/spoiler]. The book also doesn't end properly - the author apparently just got bored and stopped. 

NOTE:  I read the ebook which was filled with typos/spelling and grammar errors, along with missing letters, eg. "thru" instead of "through", "arum" instead of arm, "rn" merged into an "m" etc.  I don't know if the text was supposed to be like that but I found it annoying.

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review 2019-03-04 11:13
4/5: The Tattooist of Auschwitz
The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris

Arriving voluntarily at Auschwitz in 1942, Lale Eisenberg wonders what the place holds for him. He quickly learns that the only thing that prospers there is death. Moving quickly to a more “protected” occupation as a tattooist, he comes across a woman called Gita, and determines to save her…


At first, I wasn’t too impressed with Morris’s writing. Her style is almost childish, her dialogue primitive and sparse. It seemed dry and impersonal. But about a third of the way through, it ceased to matter about her writing style. The defining moment of horror piled upon horror for me was Lale entering a gas chamber of Auschwitz to identify two dead men.


For some reason, this mattered to the Nazis: Every box had to be ticked, to the point of inanity and absolute pointlessness. People were tattooed who would be killed seconds later. It was death on an industrial scale, and how many of the one million people Lale marked like beans on a supermarket shelf defies imagination.


The real power of the story is the simple and basic urge of humanity to live another day. How various people do that is as much down to what depths (or lengths) they will go to survive, from Lale’s position as the tattooist to the SonderKommando who emptied the gas chambers after their use, to the woman who let herself be used as a sex toy. To label them as sympathisers or collaborators is simplistic. They survived is all we can say about them.


Lale and Gita take the few brief, bribed moments of privacy as far as they can, and their relationship, born of desperation and determination flourishes in the awful clouds of falling ash and the ever present death that might be only a minute away.


Thinking about the prose line again and Morris’s style now I’ve finished, I realise that the style may have been intentional. She’s keeping herself out of the picture as much as possible, and letting the story tell itself.


It was all it needed. The horror and the inhumanity don’t need embellishment, and neither did their intense love story: To survive with each other was what kept Lale and Gita alive and moving.

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review 2019-02-13 16:02
Colonel Roosevelt
Colonel Roosevelt - Edmund Morris

So I am a moron. I had no idea there were two other books before this one. I felt like I got plopped into Theodore Roosevelt's life and felt confused. Once I realized that I was on the third book I felt better since I was all, why is the book acting as if I read about Theodore Roosevelt before now? 


I have to say though that my attention kept straying away while reading this. I thought that Morris does a good job of bringing Roosevelt out as a man who is out to explore Africa after completing his run as President after his second term.  I just found most of the book to be a bit colorless after we have Roosevelt returning from Africa and hell bent on being the savior of the Republican party. This of course caused the great "schism" and the Bull Moose party of progressives emerged. 


Morris does a good job I think of showing all sides of Roosevelt. He's not a saint, he's a flesh and blood man that at times refused to listen to those around him since he thought he knew best. The book also goes into his other expedition which led to him getting ill and then following him and his family through World War I. I just wish that the book had managed to keep my interest throughout. I don't know if this book should have been broken into two volumes, with volume I following Roosevelt before WWI and then after or what. I think there was so much going on with Roosevelt and his family at times I was left a bit overwhelmed and feeling like I had forgotten some things and having to go back to check myself. 


I read this on my Kindle and was happy to see that the plethora of notes that Morris had actually worked. My big complaint though and why I stopped reading the notes after a while is that my book wouldn't take me back to the place I was in the biography. This books is ridiculous full of notes and the historian in me was happy to see them. But it sucked for me as a reader since I kept getting taken out of my place and had to scroll back to wherever I was. I also was happy to see the pictures and other illustrations that were included.  

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review 2019-01-28 18:45
Psychotopia - William Morris


PSYCHOTOPIA. The cover, the synopsis, the title, and the review of a friend all prompted me to request this book from NetGalley. I'm so glad I did!


There are several threads working together in this speculative fiction story. One from the POV of a policeman. Another from a young woman recently used and used hard by a handsome rogue. And lastly, there are chapters from a video game designer, talking about the architecture of a new, interactive, virtual reality experience. Such contrasting views, yet somehow I knew they would eventually come together, and they did.


PSYCHOTOPIA takes a hard look at the world and how it has evolved. Specifically, how humans have evolved. Is it possible that in an age so dark and hopeless a psychopath could be viewed as the natural evolution of mankind? A person who doesn't recognize the feelings of others, is free from the guilt that hurting others can bring. Is that a good thing or a bad thing in this new world?


What would happen if someone invented a machine which could determine if a person was a psychopath or not? Would you want to be tested? What kind of preventative measures could be taken if a person tests positive for psychopathy? Would such a test be a violation of civil rights? Would it become mandatory testing for certain jobs, like police officers or politicians?


I know I'm asking a lot of questions here, but that's what this book did to me. It wasn't a matter of simply reading it and saying "good story!" It made me think a lot about what this world is coming to, and about how we treat each other- not only our equals, but how we treat others both above and below what we believe to be our stations in life. I love books that make me think and this is definitely one of them.


I also loved the creativity and imagination that went into the world-building here, and I especially liked how I couldn't predict how the characters would come together. An urban setting full of psychopaths, (known or unknown), leaves a wide open field of crimes and misdemeanors and Mr. Morris exploits that field to the max. I enjoyed the hell out of it!


Highly recommended!


*Thank you to Severn House Publishers and to NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2019-01-20 22:40
That's Check Point Charlie on the cover
The Story of Brexit: A Ladybird Book - Jason Hazeley,Joel Morris

Inner rational voice: How dare you spend money! We're broke.

Reader Me: Look, I really need to laugh, okay. This is really funny. See?

Inner rational voice: The bit about the shed and the PM is so great.

Reader Me: And the cheese. The bit about cheese.

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