Review: Skin Privilege – Karin Slaughter

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skin privilege

Grant County #6

SYNOPSIS: Sara Linton–resident medical examiner/pediatrician in Grant County, Georgia, –has plenty of hardship to deal with, including defending herself in a heartbreaking malpractice suit. So when her husband, Police chief Jeffery Tolliver, learns that his friend and coworker detective Lena Adams has been arrested for murder and needs Sara’s help, she is not sure she can handle the pressure of it all.

But soon Sara and Jeffery are sitting through evidence, peeling back the layers of a mystery that grows darker by the day–until an intricate web of betrayal and vengeance begins to unravel. And suddenly the lives of Sara, Lena, and Jeffery are hanging by the slenderest of threads. – via Goodreads

GRADE 9Okay, just to clarify, this book is also known as Beyond Reach. You know, pesky publishers giving different UK/US titles. Moving right on. This book is amazing. Granted, it is told out of sequence and that might throw a few people (confuse them, that is, not put them off), but it is told precisely like it needs to be to convey the correct feeling and message. The book is highly emotional, what with Lena fighting past demons and the desperation of saving her uncle.

Then there is Jeffrey and Sara and their quest to adopt a child and start their very own family. This book is phenomenal, with a good story. You feel a part of it, the disjointed feel and not knowing what the hell is going on, so you totally understand how Jeffrey and Sara are feeling. Sara seems to be lacking a lot of her usual fiery self here, which is to be expected, too, what with her personal drama. I am really glad her and Jeffrey are married again though, they really work together. Ick, Ethan Green makes an appearance once more, and let me tell you, he is still a hateful animal, and totally ramps up the tension in this.

Man, Slaughter really went for some things in this book, some sore topics were breached, and, as always, the characters remained true to themselves and developed all the more. I was horrified to read that Hank had gone back to his old, junkie ways, as I have always viewed him as a much stronger character. I maintain Slaughter has fantastic characters, they are so well written that you get super attached to them all, and so feel for them throughout their trials, tribulations and joys.

The writing is, as to be expected, great, the story is solid, the events spine-tingling. The book draws you in completely and you go along with all the characters, seeing how the latest drama in their lives comes together and how it all fits, and what they will do. I thoroughly enjoy this book, and still think it a really solid conclusion to this series.

SPOILER: Goodness gracious me, but that ending :/ It totally crushed me, and yet I also thought it to be a ballsy move from the author. Well played Slaughter, well played. Now let me deal with my depression for a few days again and then I will move on with my life. Again. 

Review: The Long Hard Road Out of Hell – Marilyn Manson with Neil Strauss

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the-long-hard-road-out-of-hell-marilyn-manson

SYNOPSIS: In his twenty-nine years, rock idol Manson has experienced more than most people have (or would want to) in a lifetime. Now, in his shocking and candid memoir, he takes readers from backstage to gaol cells, from recording studios to emergency rooms, from the pit of despair to the top of the charts, and recounts his metamorphosis from a frightened Christian schoolboy into the most feared and revered music superstar in the country. – via Goodreads

GRADE 9This is a book I have read a few times over, and I enjoy it every single time I read it. The first time I read it, I was about 17. I was so excited, being a Manson fan and all, and my husband and I lay sprawled on the couch all day, reading together. It is a mark of the book that it is, because my other half will not willingly read, but he read it in an afternoon. It was good. It was interesting. But let’s talk about the book.

Manson has always been a controversial figure. He freaks a lot of people out, others think he is some god, I don’t know. I think he’s a talented artist that had a message to share and found a slid way to do it. I find him to be highly intelligent. He is a nihilist, has an ego, sure, but the man is also exceptionally interesting. I enjoyed that this book handles a bit about Manson and a bit about getting the band together, the blood, sweat, tears, narcotics, and lunacy it took for the band to make it, and how that all came to be.

My husband and a group of friends had a band when they were younger that did really well for themselves, and I know how crazy some of the stories get of playing shows and the people you meet, so I could totally see some of the stories in this happening. Rock/metal is such a different type of genre and the people attached to it see life differently, so I thoroughly enjoyed that. The Long Hard Road Out of Hell is smartly written, and it flows pretty well. It jumps here and there for things, but it all just fits. You cannot help but be drawn in to read more of the depraved work. It is a shocking novel, which I am pretty sure was the intent from the outset, but it is engaging, and it is smart.

I really liked the layout of the book, too, what with the colour photo inserts, as well as the art, sketches, photos, interviews, diary entries, etc. that were littered throughout the book. It made for the book look cool, because the layout is so different from your average biographical book. This makes it a memorable read. It’s also quite a quick book to work through. It pretty much deals with Manson before the super big time, all the way until the release of Antichrist Superstar, which was the band’s ticket to the big time, and how it went with that. I appreciated this. It didn’t carry on for forever and twelve days about decades worth of material. It picked a time frame, and then got on with it. Much appreciated.

Okay, as you can all tell, this is a book I enjoyed. There’s a lot to like about this, even if you don’t like the man. There are some really humorous sections, and others that are really dark and honest, and plenty pages dealing with the depravity and insanity that comes with that world, but it all just works. If you like being shocked, or you enjoy Manson, or think that some of these bands have some crazy stories to tell, then this is definitely worth checking out.

Review: The Singing Bone – Beth Hahn

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the singing bone cover

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: A convicted killer’s imminent parole forces a woman to confront the nightmarish past she’s spent twenty years escaping.

1979: Seventeen-year-old Alice Pearson can’t wait to graduate from high school and escape the small town in upstate New York where she grew up. In the meantime, she and her three closest friends spend their time listening to Led Zeppelin, avoiding their dysfunctional families, and getting high in the nearby woods. Then they meet the enigmatic Jack Wyck, who lives in the rambling old farmhouse across the reservoir. Enticed by his quasi-mystical philosophy and the promise of a constant party, Alice and her friends join Mr. Wyck’s small group of devoted followers. But once in his thrall, their heady, freewheeling idyll takes an increasingly sinister turn, and Alice finds herself crossing psychological and moral boundaries that erode her hold on reality. When Mr. Wyck’s grand scheme goes wrong, culminating in a night of horrific murders, Alice’s already crumbling world falls into chaos, and she barely makes her way back to normal life.

Twenty years later, Alice has created a quiet life for herself as a professor of folklore, but an acclaimed filmmaker threatens to expose her secret past when he begins making a documentary about Jack Wyck’s crimes and the cult-like following that he continues to attract even from his prison cell. Jack Wyck has never forgiven Alice for testifying against him, and as he plots to overturn his conviction and regain his freedom, she is forced to confront the long suppressed memories of what happened to her in the farmhouse—and her complicity in the evil around her. – via Goodreads

GRADE 6Damn, that sucks! There is another cover that I wanted to use for this and it was so much more awesome than the one I did use. Meh, oh well. Anyway, back to the book. Obviously I picked this one up because I liked the title, and I am fascinated by cults. I thought that this might be an interesting read, but it was just alright – it had so much more potential than it ever actually realised. I am glad that I read it, though it was not nearly as good as I was hoping it would be. For one, it read and felt like it was heavily influenced by Charles Manson and his big, happy family. Even the events that happen. Taking that out, Jack Wyck’s character is constant throughout the novel, but you never actually learn about him, for one, and for two, he is never properly fleshed out, so you don’t really get why these kids flocked to him – only that you know cult leaders are charismatic, prey on the weak, and make them feel like they belong. We know that. However, that was never explored in too much detail concerning Wyck. The story itself is nothing new, and it was rather predictable at the best of times, which was rather disappointing. The division of the chapters was something that I enjoyed, flicking between the events of the past and what it happening in the present, which works quite nicely, but that also drags out the big, mysterious event from the past, and it stretches on so long that is rather grating eventually. I found the characters to be flat and one dimensional, literally just there to carry the story and no more. Because they were so bland, I did not relate to any of them, and I was not really overly concerned with the fates of any of them, so the book did not carry as much weight for me as it could have. I liked Stuart Malloy’s character, he was far better put together than any of the others (which was strange), as he actually had something to say, and he witnessed so much. As for Alice, she is our main protagonist and she annoyed me from the beginning, and I didn’t much like her then, never mind when she went around the bend. I really enjoyed the folklore aspect of the story, and think that it should have been used more. As for the conclusion of the book? I was not impressed. Not after all the reading, the threats, etc. I expected more (yes, my common complaint for the novel). Anyway, not a bad read, it was likable enough, it just never lived up to all the possibilities it could have, and brought absolutely nothing new to the table.

Review: Thirteen Days of Midnight – Leo Hunt

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13 days of midnight

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: When Luke Manchett’s estranged father dies unexpectedly, he leaves his son a dark inheritance: a collection of eight restless spirits, known as his Host, who want revenge for their long enslavement. Once they figure out that Luke has no clue how to manage them, they become increasingly belligerent, and eventually mutiny. Halloween (the night when ghosts reach the height of their power) is fast approaching, and Luke knows his Host is planning something far more trick than treat. Armed with only his father’s indecipherable notes, a locked copy of The Book of Eight, and help from school outcast Elza Moss, Luke has just thirteen days to uncover the closely guarded secrets of black magic and send his unquiet spirits to their eternal rest—or join their ghostly ranks himself.  – via Goodreads

GRADE 7So I took this one based on the cover. Yes, I did. I thought it would be like a zombie type thing (I was thinking Nicholas Hoult as R from Warm Bodies – straight dark hair, red hoodie), didn’t read anything else on the cover, just glanced it over. Then I got into the book, and initially I wasn’t a fan. I didn’t really like the writing style too much, and I think I was in the mindset of a serious novel, and this is anything but. Sure, it has some serious and dramatic moments, but overall it is quite the fun, entertaining read. Also, as soon as I wrapped my head around this being a book for young adults, I just had a blast. There are plenty places where you need to suspend your understanding of reality, and that is fine. The introduction of the Vassal and the Judge was amusing, too, and Luke’s dealing with the way things have changed in his life gave me a laugh. Plus there is Ham, ever-present somewhere in the pages, Luke’s cowardly but exceptionally loyal dog. I was not necessarily a fan of the dialogue, and all the like, likes, irritated the hell out of me, but I also know that so many kids today speak that way. The characters were quite hollow though, and there isn’t really any development on any of them besides Luke himself and a little on Elza, who also happened to be the only two likable characters. I also like that Elza had was a different character than the girls that would usually be written in here. She was the outcast, she was the smoker and the bad girl and seen as completely crazy, and she is actually just really cool. Personally, I would have liked to know more about the necromancing, etc. but this isn’t that kind of book, which I also understood. Maybe I have spent too much time watching Supernatural and reading odd books like that, but this wasn’t the book that required that type of flesh. It was an interesting and fast read, with some decently humorous elements, though there is nothing to take seriously about it really. I liked the way it all came to a close by the end, and how many suspicious loose ends were tied up. Mr Berkley was a fascinating character, and I truly enjoyed every second we got to read about him. The Shepherd was creepy, too, and the way he spoke? I loved it. Exactly what you would expect from a centuries old and incredibly adept deceased, bitter necromancer. This was a great light read to break all the dark and dreary I have been reading lately, and I would recommend this, more to teens than anyone else, or anyone who is interested in a sixteen year old “cool” kid inheriting a powerful and dangerous Host of ghosts from his departed father.

Review: The Sinner – Tess Gerritsen

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the sinner

Rizzoli & Isles #3

SYNOPSIS: Within the walls of a cloistered convent, a scene of unspeakable carnage is discovered. On the snow lie two nuns, one dead, one critically injured – victims of a seemingly motiveless, brutally savage attack.

Medical examiner Maura Isles’ autopsy of the murder victim yields a shocking surprise, but the case takes a disturbing twist. The body of another woman has been found. And someone has gone to a lot trouble to remove her face, hands and feet.

As long buried secrets are revealed so Dr Isles and homicide detective Jane Rizzoli, find themselves part of an investigation that leads to an awful, dawning realisation of the killer’s identity… – via Goodreads

GRADE 7.5I have thoroughly been enjoying re-reading these books, though something I must admit is that they won’t necessarily linger too long after the fact. Some, obviously, have better and more memorable stories than others, and while I enjoyed this one, I could barely remember anything about it (which can also be nice in terms of a re-read). The book flows pretty nicely, and this one focused on finally giving us more on Dr Maura Isles, though it did not leave Jane Rizzoli forgotten. If anything, this book is the one that makes them bot more human and identifiable. Rizzoli is struggling with her difficult romance with Gabriel Dean, as well as the knowledge that she is pregnant and has no idea what she is going to do about it. Maura is completely caught up in her whirlwind realisation that she is lonely and cut off from the living and spends far too much time with the dead, and while she is dealing with all this, her ex-husband Victor turns up in town. Maura has always been presented as cold and cut off, so it is nice to get a little of the inside track on her to get a better understanding of how and why she does things. A friendship has also started to develop between Maura and Rizzoli, which is also quite nice and it hasn’t been forced, also something that counts in its favour. Something to note, though, the concept of religion and death is seriously hammered on in this book, which at times grates a little bit and might really annoy some, but most of the time you get past it pretty quickly. The plot itself is alright and is paced fine, but sometimes there are things that niggle at you about it, but no deal-breaker at any rate – it just jumped around a bit, but it was never actually bland. The Sinner is also most certainly different from the last two books in both tone and pace, but I found that it worked. I liked getting a better look at Jane’s family, as we have heard nothing but how horrible it is for Jane to visit with them and spend time, but Angela certainly let Jane in on a few secrets that really makes you view the woman differently. Overall, well worth the read, though this is a book certainly more for the characters than the plot and is not one that is going to stay with you for very long after.

Book Challenge 2013

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Keep Calm and Read A Book

Yep, that’s right. I think that this is where I am in life now. I blame this inspiration entirely on my friend Natasha. I just have to get out of my reading slump, which has slowly but surely been becoming a reality, and the more I read about her antics, the more I want to read more, if that makes any sense!

So I decided to immerse myself in a book challenge (while still keeping up with my addiction to movies and series). I need to establish how many, but for the meanwhile, let’s play it safe and call it fifty books for the year, and I can calculate the few that I have read for 2013 so far. We will make it a 2013 fifty book challenge. That is a reasonable amount, it is enough to get the juices flowing. It is not an excessive amount, granted, but it is a place to start. I can do this. So any book suggestions, pass them along to me and I will look into them!

Check out Natasha’s hundred book journey for the year so far, and wish me luck!

Are libraries dead?

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I remember as a kid, I practically lived in the library. It was awesome. There was a whole world at my fingertips – I lie. Not a world, but numerous worlds, plenty of universes waiting to suck me in.

I was in and out of the library every few days. By the time I was eleven or twelve, I had reread every book in the Children’s Section twice. It was intense. They did me a favour, and gave me a card to the Adult Section – that meant new books, longer lending periods and more books that I could borrow at a time. Let me tell you, I was like a kid in a candy store. There was so much new opportunity that needed to be taken advantage of. The excitement fueled me, and this is where my deep love affair with Stephen King began.

I was always thrilled when it was time to return books and gather a backpack full of new ones, new adventures. But times have changed a lot. Libraries here are starting to die out. The one here in my town is so damn useless I just don’t go. I don’t even have a card for it. So now it is book club style: borrowing and lending between the few readers that I know. That can help, but when that is over? I miss libraries… the smell of the old books, the new ones, the fastidiously stacked and alphabetized shelves and the librarian looking over her glasses, scanning your card and asking how the latest haul’s reading was for you.

Because of the dwindling state of the libraries, I have taken to building up my own collection. Which I would do anyway, and I have no issue paying, it is just expensive, and time consuming. Ultimately it is extremely gratifying, and I love it. But I get nostalgic when I think of what reading used to be. At least if the zombie apocalypse breaks out, I have the one greatest form of entertainment (except staying alive!) at my disposal, and trust me, it will be utilized in all its glory.

How are libraries there by you? Are they still alive and kicking, or are they, too, flailing in the deepening waters?

Review: Harry Potter Adult Edition Box Set (Paperback)

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WHOOP WHOOP! Oh, my jubilation at the arrival of my box set! I have been saving for so long to buy back a part of my childhood, although I could not get it to what I wanted it one hundred percent. I saved up to buy all the Harry Potter books again. At a stage of my life I used to have all the books: original cover art, first edition prints, the whole shebang. That was a long time ago. I am going to let you know what I think of the set, but we warned, it will be image-rich, I want to be thorough!

I really wish that I could have gotten the original cover art in the box set, but they discontinued that specific box set (paperback) in 2010 already. So I had to take the next best thing (it looked pretty awesome considering), and that was the Harry Potter Adult Edition Box Set (Paperback). What a glorious set! Wow! I am going to sound like I lack a vocabulary, but just wow, it is phenomenal!

The box is a very sturdy construction, very glossy and printed in a mostly minimal design, but not bland. There are gold stars scattered all over the box, and I made damn sure that I got a bona fide set of proper English (UK edition) books, with all the correct spelling, and a Philosopher’s Stone, not a Sorcerer’s Stone. The top is emblazoned with The Complete Harry Potter Collection in gold over a dark (almost black) box, with all the gold stars. The edges of the box are stunning what with the gold edging that appears to make it look like a chest. The front panel has Slytherin’s locket branded onto it.

The left hand side of the box features the Philosopher’s Stone, and the imagery is rather rich, what with the reds and gold. PS: There are no lines on the side of the box, that is just my flash.

The right hand side of the box has the Goblet of Fire on it, and the blue flames are beautifully offset with the darkness that surrounds it. PS: There are no lines on the side of the box, that is just my flash.

The back of the box set prominently displays Azkaban, the wizarding prison, in all its stark glory.

The books themselves feel very well put together, and the covers are very glossy, but, quite surprisingly, do not retain fingerprints as quickly as one would assume. Each cover features something from the stories, and that image is majorly down-scaled to fit onto the spine of the book, too, to demarcate it further than just the name. The books, even the bigger ones, are very comfortable in the hands.

The pages are lovely, not too thick or too thin, and the text itself is legible, clear, and well sized. There is a nice weight to them. They are a joy to read.

The box set opens nicely, and there is ample space for the books to slot into, and they are not difficult to remove. There is a total of 3407 pages of fantastic story to consume in this box set, and each one completely worth it.

I am so thrilled with my purchase, I feel like a little kid again, and it is awesome! I know I finished reading the books about a month back, but I have a sneaky suspicion I am going to have to christen these, and soon! These are really great to have, and a box set of the books are just brilliant, it looks very cool, too. I am supremely overjoyed with my purchase!

Whether you already own the books or not, a box set is so great to have (I am not being biased just because I like box set!), and this set comes in highly recommended!

Dexter… a book purist’s nightmare, a screen junkie’s dream

5

It is virtually unheard of where a screen counterpart completely dominates its original birthplace of pages, but once every so often it does happen. One of the most prominent cases of this happening is with Dexter.

I started watching Dexter roughly the same time it started airing. I was completely captivated. This was something new. It used to be all about the movies, and series sucked, but in the last few years things have drastically changed. Movies just aren’t what they used to be, and series are filling a void so completely, it is scary to think that there was a stage where it was  not so. More time, energy and effort went into movies. Series are now the way to go.

It used to be viewed that an actor’s career was waning when they were cast for a series  How the times have changed…

Moving back to where I was… Dexter.

I love Dexter. I was so in love with the execution of the show, and then saw in the intro that the story was based on a book. Ever the book purist, I figured that if the show was that amazing, the book could only be better. This was my very rational and this time flawed logic. It never happens that screen tops pages. This was one of them.

I bought the Dexter omnibus, featuring the first three titles from Jeff Lindsay. I began with the wretched pages of Darkly Dreaming Dexter, and read through it.  I concluded my first foray into the sheets of Dexter, thinking it was roughly the same as what I had been watching, so the show was not doing too badly with breathing screen life into the story of Dexter.

I left the omnibus for quite a while then moved along to the second part of my trilogy, Dearly Devoted Dexter. I would like to clear it up, I was not reading the books and comparing everything to the series, like you would when you watch a movie and have read the book. I was hoping for something great. I hadn’t exactly loved the first one, but I had enjoyed the story. Then I began part two. Everything about it was substandard. The dialogue, the execution of events, the progression with the story and, most frustratingly, the character development. The more I read, the more convinced I became that Dexter was far suited for screen as opposed to the book that I had in my hand.

It took me months before I attempted a third venture, and I have only read two chapters from it. I cannot progress further. I don’t know what it is, but there is nothing awesome about these books. Nothing that drives me to want to know more. I feel that they are sloppy. It is so sad. It was a story that had potential, that had drive. Instead, the series knocked me off of my feet and the books left me highly disorientated.

Usually a story changes when it comes to life on a screen, and things change. Usually the execution is what drives me crazy. In Dexter, it was the way to go. I don’t know, but the series was far superior to the books.