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review 2018-04-06 22:49
[Book Review] Famous Last Words by Katie Alender
Famous Last Words - Katie Alender

[Very minimal spoilers] Famous Last Words is a book by Katie Alender, an author known for other novels such as Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer. Her books are fast but long reads, a long amount of time packed into 100-200 pages. This is the first book of hers I've read, and I think I'd read more. They aren't amazing, but they are good. 

 

Famous Last Words is set in common day, and features a teen girl, who's actually imperfectly perfect. She seems like a real person, three-dimensional with all the faults and pros any functioning human would have. Her name is Willa, and she has been playing with the supernatural. After her she moves with her mom to her stepdad's, a famous Hollywood director with lots of dough, she is miserable. She has to go to some fancy school, where she only seems to be accepted by one person. Meanwhile, a killer has been on the lose, and she may of accidentally taken the notebook of the school creep, which leads her down a path she probably didn't want to be on. Her fiddling with the serial killer's plans and trying to figure them out mixed with her supernatural dabbles mixes for a horrible combo. 

  

I read this book on a plane, and to be honest, I'm glad I did. It was entertaining. The beginning starts off fast, and I'm not sure if you enjoy that, but I do. I hate when a book has a complex beginning just to tell an easily explainable story. Though, that's besides the point right now. 

 

The story develops well, and isn't rushed. The characters are introduces and the author takes care into making sure each is well-developed. That's something I appreciate and don't really expect when reading novels for teens. YA books like John Green's or Rainbow Rowell's are ones I have higher standards for. YA books that are more on the edge of just general fiction or K-8 oriented I don't have really any for, as long as it's a good book, being that the words 'book' and 'good' are used lightly. Anyways, I was pleasantly surprised. You can see how each character deals with what is happening and how they change their ways according to what is happening, something very realistic that real humans do. You can find this especially in the main character, because she is the one dealing with the most problems, like grief, supernatural activity, and loneliness. She's also a relatable character in many ways, at least for me, and it's not obvious that Alender wants you to relate to her, therefore her positive attributes aren't forced. It's kind of up to the reader to interpret her morals and pros and cons as the book continues. This is a good way to involve the audience, then giving them a mold and telling them they can only fill it with one thing - that said character they wrote. 

 

The idea behind the book is also very good, it's creative and modern whilst staying true to it's horror roots. Now, I don't get scared very easily. I mean, heck - I laughed at The Ring and found Candyman and The Shining to be two movies to casually watch and enjoy, not something to toil over late at night and have nightmares about. Maybe, though, you'll find it scary. Regardless, the killer in the novel is pretty obscure and creepy during the flashes Willa has of scenes between said murderer and his victims. This person [the murderer], even though they aren't revealed until the end, is extremely well developed and therefore adds to the plot of the book. You know what's happening even if Willa isn't at the actual killing, and you are giving foreshadowing. This is helpful and creates great plot development throughout the whole novel and leads up to a great resolution.

 

Now, I have glorified this whole book for you. But here comes the bad news, and the reason why I didn't put it under the good section on my blog.  The plot twists. They are ridiculously obvious. About 40-50 pages in, I knew what was going to happen, and what the book wanted to make you think. Sorry, Alender, you just made it too obvious! It might of been purposeful, but I suppose not. Maybe she thought we just wouldn't get what was happening? But anyway, that's something to work on. As this is the first book I've read of this author's, I don't know if this is the rule for the rest of her novels. 

 

To wrap this up, because it is way too long already, this is a good book. I do recommend it. It is just for my own opinions that I put it in the category I did. I may change it though, if I decide to pick it up for another read. Anyways, definitely pick this up if you see it at a book store, or check it our from a local library. 

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review 2017-11-26 21:25
A Most Unusual Christmas, Fenella J. Miller
A Most Unusual Christmas - Fenella J Mil... A Most Unusual Christmas - Fenella J Miller

I enjoyed this Christmas Romance. I received this book for free and I voluntarily chose to review it. I gave it a 4.5* rating. It was interesting and funny with a few twists and turns in it. It made a nice holiday read. Talk about getting stranded in snow. What if you do not have snow plows like we do today. I could have read a little more.

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review 2017-09-01 19:51
Daredevil vol. 18: Cruel and Unusual by Brubaker and Lark
Daredevil, Vol. 18: Cruel and Unusual - Ed Brubaker,Greg Rucka,Michael Lark,Mike Perkins

Okay, you know what? We're gonna talk about what I feel is the most insidious trope involving female characters in writing, and specifically in genre writing. Is it  the act of "fridging," the death of a female character in order to torment and further develop the character of their male love interest? Well, that's pretty close, and something that Daredevil in particular is rife with. But that's a trope that's called out, often--so often, as a matter of fact, that it's amazing that writers still fall back on it.

 

No, I'm talking about the Mary Sue. Oh, you say, but Mary Sues are talked about all the time! Yeah, I'm not talking about female-written and/or created power fantasies. I'm talking about the male created Mary Sue, the sexual fantasy of their perfect woman.

 

And this brings me to Dakota North in this run of the comic. Yeah, her name is Dakota North. And you know what else? She's a former world famous runway supermodel turned tough talking New York P.I. who perfectly matches Matt's wit, and calls him out on his shit in the most awesome way ever!

 

And I just facepalmed writing that, let alone reading it in the comic. It's obnoxious, and as someone who always tries to see the absolute best in every female character, it's possibly the most alienating thing a writer can do. Because it's not for me. At all.

 

And it makes me feel worse to see Milla, a character who started out as independent and funny, sweet, interesting, and a match for Matt in the Bendis run, so obviously demeaned and discarded because the writer was in no way interested in sexually. And there's a whiff of ableism to the whole thing, to the entire Brubaker run, frankly, to make the blind woman without the superpowers helpless and whimpering, and then destroy her mentally because Brubaker just doesn't want her around.

 

Also, as awesome as it should have been to see Matt called out on his selfish behavior towards Milla, the characters all do it in a way that doesn't at all defend or benefit Milla, and that most contemptible of phrases is uttered, by your friend and mine Dakota, "Get over it."

 

Yeah, Matt needs to get over himself a little. But the writing is too weak to do it in any sort of satisfying way. I'm rereading Waid's run at the moment, and there's one moment in it where Matt seems more genuinely affected by Milla's situation than he ever does in Brubaker's entire run, during the storyline itself.

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review 2017-05-25 23:11
A Rather Unusual Romance
A Rather Unusual Romance - Stevie Turner

Title:  A Rather Unusual Romance

Author:  Stevie Turner

Publisher:  Creativia

Reviewed By:  Arlena Dean

Rating: Five

Review:

 

"A Rather Unusual Romance" by Stevie Turner

 

My thoughts...

 

This was one of those reads that I was a little not sure about reading  due to its subject matter but I will say I am so glad that it did read it.  The story really presents finding love after both of the main characters had health issues [cancer].  How the author was able to give the readers a read that will capture your heartstrings, offering even some humor that seem to helped balance it all out was simply well done. It was definite that these two people were in need of someone who would understand just what they're going through.  With Erin and Alan having this same aliment ['life event'] made their story really look at this picture where the reader could see just what was happening for each other as they went through this ordeal together. Will they find love?  How will each of their children take to the newness in each of their parents new life?  I don't think that Erin's ex should have have had anything to say one way or the other due to what he had done.  To get all of this story the reader will have to pick up this extremely good read and see how well this author gives such a well written story that definitely shows 'how love can flourish even in the unlikeliest of circumstances.' There was really something about this read that I really liked!   Would I recommend?  YES!

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review 2017-05-18 07:40
Second Impressions
The Beauty Within - Savannah J. Frierson

I have been a fan of this author since Trolling Nights. I've had several of her books in my tbr pile and I decided to read this one on my Kindle. I really liked this book. It starts out in an unusual fashion. Tyler and Gunnar do not have good first impressions. In fact, Gunnar is actually a jerk to Tyler when they first meet. Gunnar is a gym owner and he has to take his personal trainer's new client and his current girlfriend had pissed him off and he's not happy about it. His behavior reminds Tyler of her insecurities with her weight.

Gunnar is man enough to admit when he's being a tool. He apologizes and finds that he's very attracted to Tyler. Truth be told, Gunnar never seemed to have an issue with Tyler's weight, but he's willing to help Tyler train to be more healthy since her weight was giving her back problems. As they spend time together, the attraction grows into something much more.

I've heard some of Savannah J. Frierson's readers don't like her insecure heroines. That doesn't bother me. I think that's realistic. Most women are insecure about something about themselves, be it external or internal. I think it makes her heroines relatable. I think that one could argue that her heroes are too perfect, but Gunnar definitely isn't that. He's a good guy and he makes up for being a jerk, but he did behave that way. And his past in LA showed that he was fallible and has made mistakes. I liked both of them. I enjoyed their romance. Their relationship was sexy and romantic. I also liked how the author integrated some real life issues into the story, from poor body image, the impact of broken relationships, drug abuse, and body abuse to fit an unrealistic ideal. It wasn't done in a preachy way, which I appreciated.

I also liked how Gunnar's Swedish heritage was integrated into the story. He would use words from his parents' native language, since he spoke it fluently. Also Tyler's culture as a black Southerner was integral. I liked how Tyler was really close to her sister and the fact that her sister's man worked for Gunnar and was friends with him. Their conversations felt authentic to me. Also, the characters have unique professions. Gunnar is an ex-model and gym owner and Tyler owns and runs a barber shop.

I went through a phase where I read a lot of BBW heroines (big, beautiful women) and I sort of fell out of it. I still like the sub-genre and the fact that a woman could be larger sized and still be appreciated by a man without losing weight. I think this was handled well in the book. Tyler focuses on getting healthy (although she does go in a more unhealthy direction with the weight loss and that is a huge trigger for Gunnar). I think that was good that Frierson factored this in, because it's important to be healthy in losing weight. What I loved the most was that Gunnar appreciated her before she lost weight, and my hope is that Tyler comes to embrace herself in the shape she comes and not focus on an unhealthy ideal.

This isn't my favorite by Frierson, because I love Trolling Nights and Being Plumville so much, but I did enjoy it a lot and would recommend this book to contemporary romance readers, and those interested in interracial romance.

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