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text 2019-11-24 14:55
24 Festive Tasks: Door 9 - World Philosphy Day: Tasks 1 and 2

My reading philosophy: As long as there is at least something in the book that maintains a minimum of my interest, I'll finish it.  If I get bored or, worse, seriously annoyed, I'll DNF; regardless how far into the book I've gotten up to then.  This (almost) past year, I finished a few books that I would otherwise have DNF'd because I was reading them for BookLikes games -- that may very well change next year.  Life's just too short and there are too many other books out there that I'm interested in.

 

My rating philosophy is set out HERE -- tl;dr version: It's a gut feeling; definitely not a mental template (least of all, an unbreakable one).  Every so often I'll revise my rating as a result of a reread, or if I decide that compared to similar books or in the grand scheme of all books by that particular author that I've read, my spontaneous rating perhaps wasn't entirely fair, but if I do this at all (and it's only in rare cases to begin with), it will likely only be a half-star adjustment; almost never a full star, and under no circumstances anything even more drastic.

 

As for reviews, I only ever write them if I feel strongly motivated enough to do so in the first place.  I don't ever want reviews to become anything even remotely resembling a chore; which is also why I don't do Netgalley and why I don't accept free books for review purposes.  I also don't ever want even the slightest sense of feeling beholden to someone to get in the way of my reviewing. -- If I do review, again I don't have any template; mental or otherwise.  Drafting each review individually, based on the book in question and my personal reading experience (and the associations the book may have raised in my mind) is a huge part of what makes reviewing fun to me.

 

(Task1: Share your reading philosophy with us – do you DNF?  If so, do you have a page minimum to read before you declare it a DNF?

Task 2: Share your reviewing philosophy with us – how do you rate a book?  Do you have a mental template for reviewing?  Rules you try to follow, or rules you try to break?)

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review 2019-08-06 18:54
One Star: A Short Story
One Star: A Short Story - The Behrg

I am not going to lie, I was scared to death to start this short story. The title is "One Star" and if you've been around the block as many times as I have, you already know how treacherous the world of the one star review can be for the reviewer. If the author is sensitive, having a bad day or simply cannot take any criticism about their book baby they and/or their fans could drop a world of hurt on you for ruining their career (when in reality their tantrum is likely the thing that'll do it). I'm not talking about the shitty "you have atrocious taste, you are too dumb to read blurbs and you are a moron" comments left on your review (okay MY review, haha). That's all part of this social media thing. I'm talking about real life danger. Someone having a bad moment might chase you down and hit you with a wine bottle, create a website and DOX you and spread falsehoods about you, attempt to sic a lawyer after you, call your place of work, create a petition in an attempt to make your name public knowledge on Amazon (thanks for boosting that one, Anne Rice), perhaps even do some snooping and locate your home address to pay you a little visit and give you a talking to. (NOTE: All of this shit has happened, if you want proof lemme know). But you can read some of it with linkage here .

 

So yeah, after all of that stuff, I am a little wary of the big, bad one star. I used to write light-hearted, silly one-star reviews. Click on a cover to read some silliness:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is highly unlikely that anyone would feel that those reviews are constructive or helpful or nice which is what people continually and to this day tell me I should be doing. I don't believe in that. I will never believe that I, the consumer, need to be helpful in my unpaid review. You can tell me that until you or I turn blue but I will not change. I wrote those reviews for fellow readers which is what I always do. I'm not forcing anyone to agree with me and some of those people in the comments in those reviews don't agree and that is perfectly okay by me. Those are my true and unpolished feelings. It is the only way I know how to be. I will now likely DNF a book if I hate it because, as I learned with the books above, it is never worth the time and my free time is a precious thing. Ain't none of us getting any younger over here. Nor is it worth the potential hassle if someone is feeling slighted or may be slightly unhinged and I have too many good books to read before some crazy person murders me.

 

Anyhow, I have made this review all about me because I have some strong feelings on this matter as I was put on a "bad reviewer hit list" years ago for my open and big-mouthed book reviewing ways as were several well respected reviewer friends who absolutely did not deserve it.

 

Now on to the story, haha!

 

One Star begins as a blogger is penning her final blog post. She has witnessed something so terrible that she is haunted enough to pull down her own blog because she feels her review sent an author off the deep end. I feared the worst, truly I did, but The Behrg promised this was a love letter to reviewers and I put my trust in his hands and he was not fooling around. He brings up some good points from all sides of this debate and debacle. There is a sinister turn and it surprised and pleased me very much. The things some people will do for money, for fame. . .

 

These are my quickie thoughts after a quickie read through but I plan to sit down and give it another read so I can chew on some of this stuff. It was super interesting and is worth a read. Thank you, The Behrg, for being one of the sane voices out here in the wilds!

 

And to all of you reviewer types who bravely review day in, day out because you must, YOU NEED TO READ THIS!

 

 

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text 2018-03-03 23:58
February in Review

January in Review

 

(Read: 5 / Reviewed: 6)

 

February sure flew past! I have to say, I had so much fun this month! There was a lot of coffee, wine, and book-related delights! I also had the chance to take part in a Q and A for Booklikes, which really made me feel warm and fuzzy inside! I know it's not that big of a deal, but it's nice to be acknowledged for something you work hard on. See my post about it here!

 

Read

 

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John Dies at the End by David Wong - It's surely becoming a regular enjoyment; taking part in the monthly group reads of Horror Aficionados! I honestly wasn't sure about this one at all - it sounded way too silly for my taste. How wrong I was! What a great start to the month!

 

 

The Devoured by Curtis M. Lawson - I was requested to read and review this one by the author. I'm glad I did, as it was a bit different than my usual reads, but in a good way. I promptly consumed it and reviewed it.

 

Hidden by Benedict Jacka - I started this series in 2015, whilst still in my Urban Fantasy phase. What intrigued my about it, was that it had a male protagonist, something that's not all too common in the genre. This series has never been perfect for me, but I still like to see what trouble Alex gets himself into.

 

The Fallen Kind Vol I: Ghosts Of Nunchi by M. Almelk - After being contacted by the lovely author, I quickly accepted his request! Post-apocalypse but on another planet? It certainly piqued my interest. I reviewed it here.

 

Preta's Realm by J. Thorn - A last minute read for the month. Having been on my Kindle for a long time, I decided to finally give it a shot. It was short, and it included some truly disgusting scenes.

 

Reviewed 

 

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Morium by S.J. Hermann

Splatterpunk Fighting Back by MULTIPLE

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

The Devoured by Curtis M. Lawson

The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter (WORST READ)

The Magic Cottage by James Herbert (2017 Review) (BEST READ)

The Awesome by Eva Darrows (2017 Review)

The Fallen Kind Vol I: Ghosts Of Nunchi by M. Almelk

 

I strive for two reviews a week, but I had extra space this month, so I included reviews from last year. I think I'll do that - start to post old reviews, just to have them on this blog. On Goodreads I have over a hundred reviews, dating back to 2011! This month also included a trip to Waterstones, and a basket full of books! All horror, of course.

 

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So how did February go for you? Read anything good? Let me know!

 

Red xx

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/02/28/february-in-review
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-27 19:24
The Fallen Kind Vol I: Ghosts Of Nunchi by M. Almelk
The Fallen Kind Vol I: Ghosts Of Nunchi - M. Almelk

The Fallen Kind Vol I: Ghosts Of Nunchi by M. Almelk
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The planet has suffered since humanity arrived, and war has run rampant. After an event of near mass extinction, the survivors struggle to do their best in the grim conditions that have befallen them. It's not over yet, however, as a certain individual plans for a world-wide cleansing. He'll stop at nothing to protect the "Promised Land" from the conflict that so closely follows humankind. What he doesn't foresee, are the actions of a select few, and how they threaten everything he's working toward.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to M. Almelk for giving me the opportunity!

I feel I need to be clear right from the beginning - I didn't consider this to be a bad debut novel. In fact, I believe there to be good, solid ideas here that verge on being original. There's been an abundance of post-apocalyptic titles saturating the market lately, and whilst there's nothing at all wrong with that, I admittedly find it difficult to differentiate them all from each other. It's nice to find one that starts off in a new direction, with something that so obviously sets it apart. The planet of Casi immediately piqued my interest and I couldn't help but acknowledge the creativity involved - Almelk included geographical details and information regarding its wildlife that, quite frankly, impressed me. In particular, the way in which animals were presented was a personal highlight; Emba the cat, the Oroculyx spiders - I found enjoyment in their scenes, especially when they displayed their uncanny intelligence.

Despite those positive elements, however, it's unfortunate that from early on, I just couldn't connect to the characters or feel all that invested in the plot. Evan, Beveridge and Reya, whilst decent and likeable enough, remained at a distance as the story constantly jumped around. There were mere glimpses of the friendship and romance between them, and rather than witness their connection first-hand, I was told of it. For instance, Evan and Reya had very little interaction on-page before I was told of their feelings for one another. Even if they had history, and even if their partnership was fated, I always need more substance to feel any semblance of emotion for any romance.

That brings me to my biggest issue - the telling rather than showing. There are certain things that are automatically detrimental to my appreciation of a book, and this is one of them. I much prefer when I can glean the feelings and intentions of a character without them being outright explained to me through the author's narration. Dialogue's an important and essential tool for this, but it wasn't used here, not to its fullest potential. I would've much preferred had there been more quality time with the characters that mattered, with the inclusion of discernible development, instead of trying to fit in a confusing amount of people and relationships. I lost track of everyone that was named in the Nodding Hamlet, and wondered why the story often got side-tracked delving into the history of someone that didn't seem to play a critical role. Of course, switching between multiple perspectives can be done well, but in this instance, it didn't work for me and only caused a great deal of confusion.

If I had to pick a favourite character, excluding the non-human entities, it would be Beveridge, or perhaps even Law. The former gave the impression that he wasn't a normal human being, whilst the latter didn't strike me as a traditional bad guy. I agreed, to an extent, with his belief about humanity - as a species, we truly are destructive. Just think of the damage we'd do if we decided to settle upon another planet that already had an established ecosystem. Not worth thinking about, really! I would've probably liked to see more of Law's magic, or whatever he did to raise people from the dead.

In conclusion: In truth, I believe this is just a case of "this wasn't for me". I didn't hate it, but I couldn't love it either. My complaints lie with how it was written; a large amount of telling, as well as continually leaping around and not giving the main characters enough attention.

Notable Scene:

Emba swished his tail a little in amusement. He truly enjoyed listening to spoken language. Of course, he didn't offer a response. Perhaps he was unable to. Perhaps it was more fun not to. How curious it was that Evan and his kind had developed complex languages for communication, yet they couldn't communicate properly with each other. Their history was littered with conflict, war and atrocity. Some might say that language simply constructed a bigger platform upon which this species displayed its hidden, unshakeable faults.

© Red Lace 2018


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/02/27/the-fallen-kind-vol-i-ghosts-of-nunchi-by-m-almelk
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-23 21:46
The Awesome by Eva Darrows (2017 Review)
The Awesome - Eva Darrows

The Awesome by Eva Darrows
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Margaret Cunningham isn't your typical teenager. For one, she's well acquainted with the monsters that lurk in the shadows - well, most of them, anyway. Unable to aid her mother in hunting vampires, Maggie goes about rectifying the rather frustrating issue. As it turns out, her virgin blood works against her, its purity potent enough to send the bloodsuckers into a deadly and uncontrolled frenzy, and that's not good for anyone. Problem is, with little friends, and a small amount of social skills, the quest for "The Sex" may be the most difficult job yet.

(WARNING: this review may contain spoilers.)

I admit, the stylised and colourful artwork of the cover is nice to look at and undoubtedly draws the eye. As such, it was a pleasant gift to receive and probably one of the most unique covers in my sizeable collection. Now let's get to the actual review, shall we?

One thing's for sure - I would've enjoyed this one a lot more in my teenage years. For me, on a personal level, my sense of humour has changed considerably in the last decade, and whilst there were moments that brought a smile to my face, I just couldn't fully appreciate the adolescent banter (and the abundance of synonyms for "penis"). Regardless, the book was short enough that it didn't impede or become a chore to pick up, and overall there's one word I would use to describe it as a whole - fun. It didn't require much energy; the writing was quirky, and the plot easy enough to entertain. Certainly not a masterpiece, and nothing that'll stay with me for a long time to come, but it succeeded in filling up a few hours.

A major aspect of the story is the close bond between mother and daughter, however I found it a stretch to call it a normal parent-child relationship, and it struck me more of a friendship than anything else. Maggie referred to her mother by her first name, and Janice even went so far as to push her daughter into losing her virginity as quickly as possible, which seemed completely irresponsible and truthfully, a bit weird. Indeed, sex had a large part to play, and it all came down to Maggie striving to take her hunting apprenticeship to the next level. In Darrows' universe, monsters are public knowledge and often a threat to society, however we learn throughout that they don't necessarily have to be evil. Vampires however, the freshly turned in particular, simply can't resist that virgin allure, and thus we have the general plot - a seventeen year old trying to use sex to get a promotion.

Sounds a tad off, right? Either way, I tried not to overthink that aspect, and instead take it for what it was supposed to be; which was, first and foremost, lighthearted amusement. Maggie's inner monologue didn't irritate me much at all, as I'm generally fond of over-confident, snarky protagonists. Yes, she was immature as all hell, but she wasn't the worst, and by God, I've been infuriated by some main characters before. I digress...

Several events unfolded along the course of the book, and it was by no means boring as the story spiralled in different directions. As characters were introduced, they were likeable, but not lovable. I especially enjoyed the zombie side-plot of Julie, despite feeling it wasn't properly explained or concluded (the living dead need love too). The romance between Maggie and Ian was cute, regardless of the somewhat questionable means by how they originally met. Janice, well, I touched upon her further up. I'm not saying she was a bad mother... Or am I? I'm really not sure. As I said, it was weird.

It occurred to me more than once, that this would've been a decent first instalment of a series, however as of writing this review, I believe Darrows has no plans to continue with Maggie's adventures.

Notable Quote:

She skimmed the tip of her finger around her mouth to capture any unappealing smudges, and then did Duck Face. Duck Face was supposed to be a 'come hither' kissy pucker thing, but it more resembled a genetic deformity. I was pretty sure if I wanted The Sex, Duck Face was not the way to go.

© Red Lace 2017

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/02/23/the-awesome-by-eva-darrows-2017-review
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