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review 2017-08-15 13:30
When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter
When I Cast Your Shadow: A Novel - Sarah Porter

This was nothing like what I was expecting. At all. I can't emphasize that enough. I thought this would be an interesting story about ghosts and new take on what happens when someone dies. At the very least, I thought there would be a kind of family theme going on since the blurb leads me to believe it's going to be all about family. If I could sum up this book, I would have to just say that it's weird. I don't know what else I could possibly say because honestly I'm not sure what I just read. 

 

 

One of the most confusing things about this book is definitely the plot. For the first half of the book, it's entirely Dashiell possessing Ruby and Everett for what seems like no reason at all. There's no explanation for why any of this is happening. There's also a villain of the story, but his motives are really muddled and ultimately don't make that much sense. Why bother going through so much trouble over one family? What was the goal of possessing Everett and Ruby? Just to possess them? Yeah Aloysius was evil and a bad person, but his character lacked any depth or emotion. There's no story to why he's bad, he's just that way because he's the villain.

 

There characters felt like a mess to me, primarily because they lack human reactions and reasoning skills. None of the characters really seemed that surprised that it's possible for a ghost to possess a living body. Everett does at the beginning, but it doesn't last very long. Not only is there a lack of surprise or disbelief from any of the characters, but all of them fail to have the normal reaction of running away screaming when you hear a dead man talking through a sixteen year old girl or at least trying to commit said girl to an insane asylum. I felt no connection to them. I didn't care if they lived or died because they weren't realistic enough. There were many different points of view and characters thrown into the story, but the side characters felt like props and I didn't understand why there were so many points of view. Two or three max would have worked better in my opinion.

 

The romance was cringe worthy and not just because there was some incest going on. Everett and Ruby both have terrible self images. Neither believes that anyone pays any attention to them, Everett even more than Ruby. But wait, turns out that a girl that Everett likes has been secretly in love with him for what seems to be no reason at all, other than to make him feel good about himself. There's also a very weird scene, that could possibly be considered rape because the woman involved thought she was having sex with someone, but that person was being possessed. This is discussed very briefly by the person who's body was used by the ghost, but eventually it's pushed to the side. I found the whole situation quite uncomfortable. Then there's the incest that I had mistaken for sibling love, but oh was I wrong.

 

One of my biggest issues when it comes to writing is when an author tells instead of shows. I felt like there was a lot of that in this book. It made it difficult to imagine certain scenes and characters. The reader is told that Dash is loved by everyone and basically perfect, aside from his drug addiction. I didn't see a reason for Ruby to trust or love Dash as much as she does. I actually thought there were more reasons for her to do the exact opposite. I would have liked to see more descriptions and maybe some more flashbacks to good times with Dash and his siblings in order for me to become invested in the story. 

 

I thought the idea behind this book was really interesting and that's why I wanted to read this in the first place, but the execution was all off. This just wasn't for me. It was too weird and for a primarily character driven novel, the characters weren't likable. 

 

*I received this via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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review 2017-06-05 15:12
2/5: Rogue One, Alexander Freed
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Alexander Freed

A prequel movie to the original Star Wars, "A New Hope".

There's nothing wrong with Freed's writing style, and there are some nice asides with background information - the leader of the Rebel Alliance's thoughts about Jyn and a very realistic back-and-forth memo about the reactor hole in the Death Star, for example.

The movie wasn't that brilliant though, and the book does what it can with what it has. I suspect it's not the fault of Freed that it's such thin material.

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review 2017-05-26 16:07
Arms from the Sea by Rich Shapero
Arms from the Sea - Rich Shapero Arms from the Sea - Rich Shapero

This book is a perfect example of why I tend to avoid strangers, especially strangers that really seem to be pushing stuff in your face. I was on my way to class when some random guy essentially shoved this book into my hands while shouting something that I don't remember because all I wanted to do was make it to class on time. As I've seen on other reviews it seems to be that most people got their hands on this book because it seems to be distributed at college campuses. The one good thing about that is that at least I didn't pay for this.

To put it lightly, this book is a mess. After almost 200 pages, I still have no idea what was happening. I don't think there was much of a plot and if there was it didn't make sense. The writing was hard to follow, making the story even more difficult to get into and actually figure out what was going on. There were two different story lines going on throughout the book and for most of it I thought one of them was in the past, but based off the ending I have no idea. When I was about halfway through I described what I had read to my boyfriend and his response was yikes because I couldn't make sense of it and what I was saying didn't make sense. It essentially sounded like I was describing a really weird dream.

The main character, Lyle, was nothing special. I felt no connection to him or any of the other characters. I found the scenes with Lyle and the Polyp weird and slightly disturbing mainly because there seemed to be sexual, especially because in the description it says that the Polyp is seductive. Now, you're probably wondering why that would be disturbing. It's because the Polyp is literally a jellyfish and Lyle doesn't seem to always be on board with everything that happens to him. Also during the interactions with the Polyp, the god would narrate what he was doing and it seemed so weird and honestly shouldn't have been part of the dialogue. 

I really don't know what I just read and would recommend steering clear, if only because the writing makes the story extremely difficult to grasp and understand.

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review 2017-04-02 14:12
Review: Star Dust (Fly Me to the Moon #1)
Star Dust (Fly Me to the Moon, Book One)... Star Dust (Fly Me to the Moon, Book One) - Emma Barry,Genevieve Turner

So, maybe I'll stick with regency romance? 

 

There are interesting scenes recalling the early days of the American space program, firmly fictionalized, but wildly exciting. Which is cool and all, but, as historical fiction, also means being trapped in the firmly entrenched gender roles in the national spotlight for that program. 

 

The problem is me. I am in the wrong genre. I want the gender swapped version of this. I want a woman riding a rocket, hoping she'll make it back home to her man. And that just isn't going to happen in a historical set in the early days of our space program. The closest I could get would be a fictionalized version of female pilots going through the same training and never being taken seriously by NASA. And I'm sorry, but testifying before a congressional subcommittee with no resulting action is absolutely not going to work for me as a form of escapism. I'm looking for the fantastical version, which is not this genre at all.

 

So that's enough complaining about the book I didn't read, right?

 

This is the story of a divorcee with two kids figuring out independence while falling for the too hot and too kind to be real neighbor who happens to be a national icon. The friction in their relationship caused by it really just being too soon for her is well done, but not for me. The friction caused in their relationship by her concerns for her children when she inevitably breaks up with someone who is both a hero and a neighbor is well done, but not for me. The friction in their relationship caused by the public spotlight on his life and her very understandable desire for privacy is well done and interesting, but not quite enough.

 

Yeah. Sorry, book. I appreciate your feminist take on romance, but you just aren't for me.

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review 2017-03-13 18:28
A Rage Review of THE ROANOKE GIRLS (Language Warning!)
The Roanoke Girls: A Novel - Amy Engel

I'm so goddamn tired of the same-old, predictable shit. For that reason, among the many more you are about to read below, this review is going to be rage-y as fuck. If you manage to not get offended by the contents, I hope you enjoy this review more than I enjoyed the book.

First and foremost, BOOBS! There were so many mentions of funbags in this book, I had to recheck the cover to make sure this wasn't written by a dude. Every few pages, in the first 30 pages, the author mentions "big boobs" or "plumb breasts" or some variation on knockers/melons/feeders/tigolbitties. I counted eight times in those first 30 pages. Everyone was described by the size of their bosom. We get it. Roanoke girls are stacked! Whoopty-fucking-do. The author goes on to space out her tit-mentioning, but only because the cast doesn't grow. No need to describe the same chesticles over and over again unless they change, right? Right. Moving on...

I don't know if anyone was paying attention when I first started reading this, but I mentioned how creepy it was. That was the first 13 pages. Can we say, "False start?" Not sure what I caught in those first 13 pages, but all that atmosphere dissipated like a good fart, one that doesn't linger and upset the kinfolk, within the very next chapter. Oh, I felt uneasy later on. Don't get me wrong. But that feeling of discomfort was for all the wrong reasons.

Next, and this is a first (paradox?), I had to delete two of my status updates because my jokes, my motherfucking goddamn sonuvabitching jokes, ended up being fucking spoilers. Lemme spell this shit out to you. I was fucking around, goofing off, as I am wont to do, and my goofiness ended up being a plot point. That's never fucking good. Well, maybe if this was a parody, but no, it's serious fiction. Which brings me to...

This novel (for lack of a better word) has the most unintentionally-funny fight scene at the end of it. The big denouement had me in tears not because it was sad but because it was mountainous - or, as the kids are saying, HILL AREAS!

These are the jokes, people. Fuck you, don't judge me.

Sexual dysfunction brought on by childhood trauma seems to be popular right now. Are that many of us being molested and growing into sex-starved fuck-puppets? Is this the new us? Are there any parents/grandparents/uncles/aunts/neighbors/clergymen/pets/inanimate objects in existence who are not out here diddling their children? You'd think this world was nothing but pederasts and pedopiles and hebephiles, what with how it's the plot or subplot of every goddamn literary thriller. I'm not making light of this topic. I have my own past and that's none of your business. But you'd think that, with all the safe-space-seeking readers out there, you'd see less of this stuff, not more.

My point is this: I'm fucking tired of reading about it because it's fucking predictable. Not because it's disgusting or triggering or any other topical reason, but because I fucking expect it. It's gotten to the point that I open up a literary thriller and think "I wonder who's gonna be molested in this one?"

The moment the killer hit the screen, so to speak, I knew who she was, and as soon as the molester hit the screen, I knew who he was. (I called both of them in my second and third updates, which I have since deleted by request because spoilers) As soon as the red herring hit the screen, I knew who it wasn't. There's a long-lost-then-returned love interest. One of the characters is a downhome cop who used to be friends with the main character. (I'm telling you, folks, there's nothing new in this book.) One of the characters is even a motherfucking V.C. Andrews cast member. Oh, you remember ol' V.C. Andrews. Motherfucking Flowers in the Attic motherfucking V.C. motherfucking Andrews. Amy Engel attempted to emulate one of the worst word mills in modern literature. In fact, now that I make that comparison, that's all this book is is a reboot of Andrews' early career. Tom Cruise help us all if this shit gets popular again. In the name of Brad Pitt, amen.

In summation: Holy shit this was bad. If you're looking for a book wherein you can predict the outcome in the first 50 pages, read this motherfucker. If you were offended by this review, damn sure skip this motherfucker. Most importantly, if you were spoiled during this review, good. Now you don't have to read it.

Final Judgment: Contender for Worst Book of the Year 2017... and it's only March. Fuck my life.

Many thanks to the publisher (because I didn't have to waste my hard earned dough on this book) for supplying the review copy of this shit-fest. I think it goes without saying that this is my unbiased opinion. I understand that they can't all be winners, but I've come to expect so much more from your company (Crown Publishing). Then again, good friends of mine loved this book, so what do I know? smooches

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