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review 2018-02-22 02:48
Burning Girls by Veronica Schanoes
Burning Girls - Veronica Schanoes

*Enters room filled with cobwebs and dust* 

 

Uh... hello? Is anyone still here? *Coughs from ball of dust* 

 

Phew! It's been a while since I've been able to sit down and read anything. Life has not been kind to me. The beginning of 2018 was so peaceful and productive... for about two weeks. Then Hell came and slapped me in the face and I've been trying to get back on my feet ever since. And let me tell you, it has not been easy. However, I am back and I am ready to tackle my TBR head-on! With that said, I was able to read a short story which I enjoyed quite a bit.

 

Now, seeing as how it's been a while since I've read anything, I decided starting off with a short story to ease me back into reading was a good move to make. And I was right. I read Burning Girls from Tor.com and it was such a harrowing read. It follows a Jewish girl's life living in Poland where she faces discrimination from the Cossacks and how magic can be a double-edge sword for the young witch. This short story covers so many topics. From Jewish tradition to history to even mythology. I was intrigued by the story from the very start.

 

Schanoes's writing style is very crisp. Since her main character is rather blunt and cold-hearted, her writing showed that very same bluntness without ever becoming bland. She has an incredibly flowing writing style and I really am interested in reading more of her works in the future.

 

As for her characters, I felt that a lot of them didn't have enough time to develop into fully fledged beings. I suppose that's what happens sometimes with short stories. Her main character, Deborah, was the only one that actually showed any type of growth. Although she is someone I consider to be highly unlikeable, she does learn to empathize a little with those around her and learns not to judge as harshly as she did at the beginning of the story. Shayna, Deborah's sister, throughout most of the story acted like a petulant child, which annoyed me greatly. I did, however, enjoyed her transformation towards the end of it. Still, I wish I got to know these characters a bit more before reading the end of the story.

 

Speaking of the ending, wow. That was well done and fit well with the rest of the story. I liked how it grabs you and reminds you of the harshness of reality. Life is rough and you don't always get what you hoped for no matter how hard you try... and that sucks. Man, this story made me feel so many emotions!

 

In short, read this story. It's really good. I did have my problems with some of the characters but I did enjoy the magical and fairy tale elements. If you love learning about Jewish culture, fairy tales, and a bit of history, read this story. It's quite the harrowing, dark read, but a good one nonetheless. 

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review 2018-02-20 15:33
Review: I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski: 20th Anniversary by Ben Peskoe, Bill Green, Will Russell, Scott Shuffitt
I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski: 20th Anniversary - Jesse Russell,Bill Green,Ben Peskoe,Scott Shuffitt

On the twentieth anniversary of the Coen brothers' cult classic film, the ultimate fan's guide to The Big Lebowski, with a foreword by the Dude himself, Jeff Bridges, and a new afterword by writer and film critic Daphne Merkin.

 

When it was first released in 1998, The Big Lebowski flopped at the box office. Twenty years later, the movie has developed a massive, passionate, and cross-generational cult following of Lebowski fans (a.k.a. Achievers), who yearly coalesce around Lebowski Fest, the film-screening/party where bowling pins tumble, costumes abound, and White Russians are the official drink of choice--"kind of a 'Star Trek' convention, but without all the geeks"(Associated Press).

 

Written by the Founding Dudes of Lebowski Fest--and with a foreword by El Duderino himself, Jeff Bridges--this new edition of I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski also features contemporary reflections on the movie by acclaimed writer and former New Yorker film critic Daphne Merkin. This is the fan book to tie every Achiever's room together, a treasure trove of trivia and commentary, illustrations, photos, interviews with every major cast member (plus the real-life inspirations for the Coen-created characters), highlights from the Fest, a handy Achiever translation guide, and tips on how to Dude-ify your life. I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski is a raucous and hilarious celebration of the greatest film ever made (condolences, Citizen Kane) and of the glorious revelry that continues in its two-decade wake.

 

 

If you were a fan of the movie then this book is a must read. If you have not watched it, watch it and then come back and read the book. But really either way you should be familiar with the movie.

The book was almost a guide to the movie and it was fun and very enjoyable to read. What can you expect from the book? A lot. Obviously humor and a whole lot more. We get a good look behind the scenes, many pictures of scenes, characters and locations. As well interviews with the cast and crew. Plus some other really fun stuff.

Overall, like I said if you liked the movie you will love this book.

I rate it 5★ it was quick, fun and very informative read.

 

Image result for The Big Lebowski gif

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-02-20 08:34
Where Politics Today Can Be Found In Animal Farm
Animal Farm - George Orwell

When I first heard of Animal Farm, my curiosity peaks to a point if I should read it. This was in fact in the 1990s when I heard about it. Of course, I didn't read it at all and never even go further and didn't even know there was a TV live-action movie that was released in 1999 or even the 1954 animated featured as well. Straight to 2018 and finally, I read the book. After so many years and I bought it last year, I finally read it for an upcoming book discussion and as it turns out, I didn't really enjoy it nor hate it a lot. I just felt indifferent.

 

I am sure many have read Animal Farm before. It is this book that George Orwell, besides 1984, he became successful compare to his early writings during his journalistic days. In many ways, Animal Farm is a political book. Reading it on the other hand, it is what transpire of what is happening today. I mean, there isn't any thing I do not know about that will give such value on this book that I do not know of what is happening in today's politics. In fact, I look at all angles and it is a straight-forward adult fairy tale... one that doesn't have a good ending. To me, its more of 'this is what happens when you become ignorant' and 'you don't blame anyone when you support loyally to a greedy swine' than just a story with a good ending. Its an awareness book that was meant as life in totalitarian ruling of the old Russia, when it had its revolution and the rise of Joseph Stalin (I am not sure how many younger generation knows this) and the degeneration livelihood of Russia then. But reading it I can see its almost similar to the world's politics today even in certain countries (I don't think I need to mention which one, if people aren't ignorant on reading news). To me, its nothing exceptional but rather, a representation of what the world was then in politics, its the world that it is now in politics.

 

Although I had not much complains on the writing, as it is clear and simple and easy to follow, I can't say I do enjoy the book. I mean, I like the writing but not the tale itself. Still, I can understand why it took such difficulty for George Orwellto publish this book but only after
the World War II he was able to, but by that time itself, after his death it became even more popular, although not among critics, read by many and even introduced in literature classes as well. Animal Farm is a book that whether to read or not, it doesn't matter. All around us are... well, we are living in a huge animal farm of our own. As I quote the famous line 'All Animals Are Equal But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others' is now part of life we are living. We still have, in fact, ignorant people that believe in words of Napoleon of such (we have lots of Napoleons, that swine reincarnates!) every where, this book to me... doesn't make much difference but it can be a discussion worth debating.

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review 2018-02-20 03:54
What The Valley Knows - Heather Christie

I received this book for free from BookLikes’ Giveaways.

This book started off really good. It reminded me a little bit of Riverdale with the whole new girl moves to a small town premise. Genre-wise, it was an interesting blend of YA and women’s fiction. There was a lot of intrigue in the beginning over what was to come.

The book was going good until the “terrible thing” happened. I really was not a fan of what it was. Then the accident happened and the book stalled after that. It never reached its full potential. All the intrigue that the first half had was missing.

Then the book kind of ended too conveniently. Everything was wrapped up super quickly and there was a lack of suspense. Basically Molly would just have flashbacks after seeing things. Not that exciting. This book could have been a great romantic suspense novel if it was fleshed out more towards the end. I think that was the main issue. It wasn’t clearly any genre so it tried to be too many. It would have been more successful if it went strictly the romantic suspense route.

Additionally, I felt like there wasn’t enough closure for the other supporting characters. In particular, I was hoping for more of a wrap up on Missi and Legs.

Another thing I did not like were the stereotypes that plagued the book. You had the unpopular band geeks, mean cheerleaders, and brainless jocks. It made the whole book feel old and outdated. It felt like a cliched 80’s movie.

Overall, the book was well written, but fell short of my expectations.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-20 00:34
The Magic Cottage by James Herbert (2017 Review)
The Magic Cottage - James Herbert

The Magic Cottage by James Herbert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Top Read 2017 * * * * *

Tired of the hustle and bustle of the city of London, young couple Mike and Midge are determined to find a home that offers them a brighter - and quieter - future. Much to their delight, that perfect home comes in the form of Gramarye; a breathtaking, isolated cottage that appears too good to be true. Eager to move right in and settle down, they soon experience the enchanting wonders Gramarye has to offer, along with the sinister ugliness that lurks just beneath its surface.

(WARNING: this review contains spoilers.)

I genuinely didn't expect to discover such a hidden gem when I selected a book at random from my shelf. Having never picked up a Herbert novel before, I was soon stunned by the sheer beauty of the story, which included the subtle, yet increasingly unnerving horror element that primarily lingered in the background. I could be considered a nick-picky reader, or downright pessimistic; someone who doesn't dish out top ratings all too often because even the tiniest things can impact my enjoyment, so it's a surprise and a special occasion when I find something that ticks all the right boxes. And tick all the boxes it did, and then some. This one will stay with me for several reasons, the foremost being quite personal. I know very well the longing for the perfect home - somewhere that brings happiness and contentment. Gramarye in itself sounded like my dream cottage; it simply fascinated me with its extraordinarily close ties to nature, and the magic that enveloped its walls.

I quickly became attached to Mike and Midge, and rooted for their relationship throughout the entirety of the book. Both had their flaws; Mike could be selfish, whilst Midge infuriatingly stubborn, but I found them to be more relatable due to these faults. When they were on the verge of separation, I actually felt something; a sort of dread that perhaps a happy ending wasn't in store. That's the thing about this genre; happily-ever-afters aren't a certainty, there's just so much potential, and I couldn't stop my mind from racing. Of course, there were the side characters, and each and every one had their part to play. Val, in particular stood out, especially when she displayed such bravery and loyalty to her friends in the end.

The plot itself wasn't non-stop scares or gore, but rather a slow progression of laying down the foundations, and setting the tone, before the explosive finale. I can't say this way of storytelling works for everyone, but I found myself completely immersed, and never did I believe it to be stale. Herbert truly struck me as a writer that favoured the development of his characters, and of making the reader truly care for what's happening. I daresay it's so much better than cheap thrills that ultimately mean very little.

I really do need to mention the descriptive writing, and how it truly conveyed what Herbert wanted it to. There's a particular scene that takes place in the loft of Gramarye, involving Mike and a large number of bats. Don't get me wrong, I adore bats and have no fear of them, but I don't think I've ever been as disturbed when reading before - it almost made me feel a bit sick. Such in-depth detail that worked together extremely well, resulting in the magical moments positively feeling magical, and the eerie moments giving a clear sense of unease. This is what writing's really about.

Lastly, I should probably include that I actually cried at a certain point in this book. I'm usually not such an emotional reader, where I shed tears often, but I really loved that squirrel.

I'll never forget Rumbo.

Notable Scene:

The pink, hunched thing grew in size, frail shape glistening in the light of the torch. The tiny body oozed out, smoothly and wetly, taking form - an unsightly form - discharged from the womb like an oval blob of pink topping squeezed from an icing bag, to plop onto the mother bat's stomach, caught there and suspended by its life-chord. The mother immediately wrapped wings and pouched tail around the newborn, its head striving upwards and tongue flickering out to cleanse the sticky flesh body.

© Red Lace 2017

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/02/20/the-magic-cottage-by-james-herbert-2017-review
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