In Your Crossroads. Your Choice, author EJ Apicello talks about her journey as she trips and crawls through the darkest time of her life. The subject matter is tough, it’s hard, raw and real, and sometimes brings you to the verge of tears with how emotionally shattering it is. It’s a journey of not giving up, of seeking happiness, and of discovering it in sometimes unlikely places.
It’s a fast read at just over 100 pages, but it’s an emotional rollercoaster that will leave you breathless for a while after you stopped reading. I liked the comparison of life and choices with Crossroads, and that one choice may lead to one road, and another choice may lead to a different path altogether.
The writing was solid, and fast-paced, and I wasn’t bored once while reading, in fact, I was enthralled. The chapters were short, which made the pacing even faster, and made me not want to stop until I finished the book.
If you’ve ever felt lost or stuck, or hopeless because you feel like there’s no way out, or no right choice to make, then you should read this book and pull strength from it. In the end, it is your life, and your choice, but this book can express that far more eloquently than I can....more
In The Aeon Star, 19-year-old Jenny wants nothing more than a simple, normal life. With seven younger siblings to care for and working hard to start college, she barely has time for anything else. Her life is planned out. She even knows already who she plans to settle down with and start a family of her own – the boy next door.
But Jenny isn’t mean to have an ordinary life. She senses she doesn’t really belong here and if her nightmares are any indication, then the destiny awaiting for her isn’t as peaceful as she hopes it is. Her life is about to be turned by an ancient evil that seeks to destroy her. She’ll need allies if she wants to defeat her enemies, and one of those allies is Nick Grace, a researcher who wants to help her find answers. But can she trust him?
The Aeon Star reminded me of why I enjoy urban fantasy so much. The book is lengthy, at 500 pages, and it might’ve also worked as 2 books, but despite the length, it never really felt that long. I was so enthralled in the world the author described that I barely noticed how long the book was. It started off with action and a fast pace, and never slowed down. The romance was a good addition too, and it didn’t overwhelm the story but just added to it.
An intriguing, engaging read recommended to fans of urban fantasy and new adult books....more
Final Girls is an intriguing psychological thriller about survival, evil and the strength it takes to live with the guilt of surviving when others did not.
Quincy is doing well, nowadays. Years ago, she went through the worst nightmare imaginable. All her friends got slaughtered in a cabin in the woods one night, and Quincy was the only one who survived. She doesn’t remember anything from that night, just bits and pieces, but it has still redefined her life. Now she spends most her time working on her food blog.
She barely even thought about Lisa. Lisa was the first girl they called a Final Girl, a title stolen from TV series and movies, a name for the last girl alive after a massacre. The only survivor. The Final Girl. Lisa offered help to Quincy back when she needed it the most, and Quincy has never forgotten. So when she hears Lisa passed away – a suicide, or so police think – she’s upset. And when Samantha, the other Final Girl, shows up on her doorstep, claiming to be worried about her, Quincy lets her in and they start to connect.
But the past won’t let go, and when it appears Lisa’s death was no suicide but murder, someone seems out to finish the work those butchers started all those years ago, and finish Samantha and Quincy off. But who can Quincy trust? And if the secret to the murderer’s identity is buried along with her own traumatizing memories of the night that ripped her life apart, can she find the strength to finally face the past?
This is a very suspenseful read, and the writing is excellent. Quincy is a well-developed character. She has plenty of flaws, and she still struggles with the past, but it all sounds very realistic. It’s normal Quincy is still struggling, it’s normal she still has survivor’s guilt. But she’s very strong, easy to relate to, and actually quite admirable. Samantha and Quincy develop a bit of an odd relationship as two Final Girls, but even that (which I imagine must be quite difficult to write) is written well, and in a believable way.
Now, the major downside (and what brought this from a 5 to 4 star read) is that I figured out who was behind it almost from the moment this person appeared in the book, and how it was all connected. It’s not too obvious, but I simply had a gut feeling and it turned out correct. Bummer, though, because that made the book less suspenseful than it would’ve been otherwise.
If you’re a fan of thrillers or slasher movies, I recommend you check this out....more
In Modern Slavery and the Gods of Consumption, Michael Marks is a successful advertising agent obssessed with consumerism. He takes more pleasure in buying a car than in his wife being pregnant with their third child. He’s so obsessed with money and spending it, he barely has time to appraise his kids or his spouse. And then, a rollercoaster of events happens that open Michael’s eyes to what he truly is: a slave of the consumption society, a slave of money and buying pretty things.
The writing was quite compelling and the subject matter was definitely intriguing. Too often, we’re driven by the need to consume, by capitalism at its worst, and we are truly slaves to the Gods of Consumption, as the title so eloquently states. Michael is an engaging character, especially as he begins to unravel the truth about himself and the world we live in. At first, he comes across as shallow but as he transforms, the reader discovers hidden depths to him.
It’s a moving, thought-provoking title with a clear message that can hopefully serve as an eye-opener to the way consumerism rules our world....more
In Missing, Sammy and Dikla are two private detectives in Israel. After finding and securing a young runaway named Daria, they’re shocked upon discovering Daria’s dead body. Local police determine the case is a suicide, but neither Sammy nor Dikla is convinced. Revealing the truth won’t be easy though, and they’ll have to put themselves in harm’s way and take a lot of risks for the truth to be unveiled.
Both Sammy and Dikla are likeable characters, although Dikla was my favorite. The book offers a fair share of unexpected twists and turns, and the mystery isn’t cut and clear from the get-go; readers are left guessing for a good while as to what is going on.
The book reads like watching a TV show, like following the characters on NCSI or Criminal Minds, or something along those lines. The action is non-stop, the pacing relentlessly fast, and you get sucked in before you even finish the first chapter.
Recommended to fans of mysteries and thrillers....more
In The Watcher, Chief Inspector Jack Grayson is hunting down a serial killer who is terrorizing London, a killer with a penchant for putting his victim’s body on display. But the killer scarcely leaves any evidence, just a lot of bodies.
Jack manages to connect the murders with an unsolved 18-year-old murder case, but it still doesn’t bring him to a single suspect. He’s missing a vital clue, a critical piece of the puzzle, that might just change everything.
I don’t want to spoil the book, but it had quite a few surprises that I didn’t see coming. Jack is an intriguing Chief Inspector, hardened by his job and personal life, and willing to do whatever it takes to find this vicious murderer. The setting was described well, and the story was fast-paced and so suspenseful I had to stop myself from biting my nails.
Recommended to readers who enjoy crime novels / thrillers....more
First of all, 2036 The Proof has an amazing cover. I just need to put that out there, I’m in love with the color scheme, the font, everything. Amazing, and it’s what pulled me in to read the book even more so than the blurb did, while it’s usually the other way around.
So for the plot, a lot of things are happening at once. A huge asteroid is rushing toward earth, human DNA is going crazy in a lab, stars are exploding, and it all seems to lead to something terrible about to happen. Chicago police Detective Rick Heller and investigative journalist Will Thorne are square in the middle of the madness, and are trying to figure out what is going, and why scientists related to these discoveries keep getting into accidents.
The mystery seems to go back to an ancient sect dating back from 586 BCE, and humanity’s deepest secret, kept hidden for centuries. It reads kind of like The Da Vinci Code, with humanity itself at stake and a good amount of science fiction thrown in.
A fast-paced, engaging science fiction thriller about humanity and what it means to be alive....more
In Rahab and Joshua: A Biblical Love Story, as the title suggest, we get a retelling of the story of Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, and the Israelite spies she hid in her home. I’ve only read this bible story once or twice, and I didn’t remember much of it, but I liked that this book dove deeper into the story and expanded it, turning Rahab into a genuine person with a background story, ambitions and desires.
Rahab was raped as a young girl, and since then, spent her life as a concubine and prostitute. She’s always felt a connection to her religious heritage, a bond that is severely challenged when she meets Joshua and Caleb, two spies sent by Moses to Canaan. Rahab’s father pormises something to the spies that could jeapordize the safety of Rahab’s entire family. Rahab and Joshua fall for each other… But is their love strong enough to withstand the conquest of Jericho?
The story is well-written, multi-layered and complex. The only part I wasn’t convinced about was the love story. I’m not a fan of insta-love, and don’t really find it very credible, so I wasn’t too convinced about it here either. The editing could also be a little tighter throughout the book.
Nevertheless, it offered an interesting background story for one of the most unique characters mentioned in the Bible, with a solid historical setting and decent writing....more
In The Secret of Being Together, author duo Amos and Tsafy Tsur explore different ways to address your problems as a couple. From techniques to become more familiar with your own relationship and improving it, to tips to take your relationship to the next level, this book covers a variety of topics related to being together and living as a couple.
From problems with sex, to issues from the past, to emotional intimacy and even addiction, the topics are varied and all equally as interesting. The book is all about the journey, about changing and growing together.
On the downside, I found some parts of the book to be quite repetitive, and while I had expected shorter, to the point chapters, the chapters themselves read more like the way a fiction book is set up than a nonfiction book. I still enjoyed it, though, but it wasn’t quite the fast, easy read I had in mind. Still, couples interesting in finding out more about the nature of relationships or how to grow together will find valuable information in this read....more
Courage and Grace tells the story of Yoseph and Itzhak Komen, two young Jewish brothers hiding under fake Catholic identities in the Aryan side of a Polish town during the Holocaust. This book tells their fascinating testimonies, but also the true accounts of their parents and others who had to hide from the Nazis. And also life after the Liberation: in an orphanage, in a boarding school, and eventually settling down in Israel.
This is an unique memoir, deeply touching, moving, thought-provoking, told by various different voices who together wave an intriguing tale of courage and grace, of survival in the face of perilous odds, of never giving up. Each time I read a book about the Holocaust, my heart breaks, seeing so much innocence shattered, so much hatred and despair. Yet, these books also give me hope and courage, because humanity is strong, and humans don’t break easily, and despite going through horrors, people manage to find their humanity again.
This book is strong and powerful, and reading about the young boys’ struggle to survive was heartbreaking. Despite that, it deserves to be read and reflected upon, so we remember the atrocities of war and continue fighting for a better world, a peaceful world, where fights are settled with diplomacy and compromises rather than taking up arms....more
The third book in the Chronicles of Eledon, Gossamer is an intriguing high fantasy book with engaging characters. Lady Alexin is Eledon’s Keeper of the Keys. When her grandmother and friend are kidnapped by rebels and held for ransom, Alex attempts to save them. In trying to do so, she discovers there’s more to this plot than she suspected and the betrayal extends into the highest levels of the Council of Elders. Threatened from all sides, rebels and Council members alike, Alex must rely on her own strength and the power of the Keys to survive.
I missed out on the background story by not being able to read the first two books in the series before picking up this one, but a few chapters in, I had a good enough idea of who was who and how all characters were connected. I love the high fantasy with the elves; it’s always been a favorite genre of mine. Alex is an amazing character, and she grew and changed a lot throughout the book which is especially impressive considering it’s the third book in a series.
Fans of high fantasy will no doubt enjoy this series, and I highly recommend it....more
In Pathoca, gods and magic rule of the realm of emotions and thoughts, but they’re not immune to either of those. The god of fear has gone into hiding after a brutal war destroyed everything he’s once loved. But one mortal’s persistence may be the key to bringing him back in power, if they’re both willing to sacrifice everything.
The god of fear, Frykstra, never expected anyone would be willing to serve him again. But one faithful night, he meets Bakrin, and she’s willing to become his worshiper. In fact, she insists on it. The two of them form an unlikely match, but it’s intriguing to see the relationship between them develop. Frykstra is cold and detached at first, but he gradually warms up to her.
The writing was solid, and the pacing very fast. The book was just slightly over 100 pages but a fast read I could easily finish in one sitting. The world-building was interesting, with the gods and myths, and the characterization worked well too. Recommended to fans of paranormal romance....more
Rune has angel blood running through her veins. It’s a gift, or a curse depending on your point of view, from her halfling mother. Rune thinks she knows who she is, but she doesn’t know the secret side of her heritage until a kiss with a stranger completed a sacred ritual. Now she’s on the hunt to find others like her, and discover the truth about her past and who she truly is.
Rune is amazing, and I love how she’s not half angel (which you see quite often) but only one fourth angel, and her other heritage is equally as interesting. I don’t often read LGBT books for young adults, not by choice but because the majority of the books out there for the YA audience isn’t LGBT. I enjoyed reading this kind of book, in particular how while it features this theme it also has a solid background story and excellent worldbuilding.
I would recommend this book to all YA fans who also love fantasy....more
Bush Redemption is the sequel to Blood Gold Revenge by Dave Wright, which I reviewed back in January 2016. I enjoyed the first book, so when the author contacted me about the second book, I was eager to read it.
After the Hatchet River Station massacre cleaned out one of Australia’s biggest drug labs, retribution is high on the agenda for some of the survivors. It takes a while before we find out who has survived, and what they have in store for their victims.
The book jumps between several characters – Grace, C, Tim, Meg, and overall, it does feature a lot of characters to keep track of. Since it’s been a while since I read the first book, I had trouble remembering who was who and what their connections where to each other. The large cast of characters added a lot of depth to the story.
I particularly liked Tim’s storyline, who has found a gold reef that several parties are trying to stake their claim on, which leads to unforeseen consequences, murder and betrayal. I also liked seeing the characters interact with one another.
This is an intriguing thriller featuring multiple, complex characters, and a solid storyline....more
The Lucky Ones is the latest thriller by Mark Edwards, and this book pleasantly surprised me. It’s not my first review of a book by this particular author. In the past, I reviewed Follow You Home, the book that turned the author into a #1 bestselling author, and “only” rated it 3 stars. I remember enjoying the book but that it wasn’t suspenseful enough. Then I read The Devil’s Work and rated it 4 stars, because I really enjoyed it, although my number one complaint was the plot was slightly unrealistic and too much was happening.
I’m giving The Lucky Ones 4 stars. The mystery intrigued me, and the writing was excellent. The author has really mastered the art of writing compelling books. The descriptions of the scenes are very realistic and I loved that it’s set in a small town. I liked the characters, in particular Ben Hofland and Imogen Evans, our detective in charge of the case.
What I didn’t like was that for the reader, the major plot point (the killer murders victims on their happiest day) is giving away almost right from the beginning to the reader, while it takes the detectives ages to figure this out. I wish it wouldn’t be so easy to decipher for the reader so we could be kept guessing for a while too. I also thought the ending wrapped up things a little too fast, with the “sudden twist” that seemed to come out of nowhere. I suspected this character from the moment we met him, so that wasn’t a real surprise, but how it was all connected was slightly far-fetched. However, I still liked the book enough that I would recommend it to fans of thrillers and mystery novels, because everything else but the two things mentioned here, I liked.
The crime procedural element was excellent too, and Mark Edwards obviously understand how police officers work and how a case is investigated. The characters were realistic and flawed, and as I said, the writing was excellent. This is an intriguing murder mystery / thriller that fans of the genre (and in particular, fans of Mark Edwars) will love....more
Fallen Star Dust is a collection of short stories, poems, and essays, by author Morgan Straughan Comnick. This book features stories and articles Morgan wrote during her college years, and is the follow-up to her first collection A Sweet, Little Dream, which featured literary works from during her middle school and high school years.
I quite enjoyed the collection. It’s not the usual subject matter I read, but reading about the author’s dreams and aspirations as she went through college reminded me a lot of myself and my own college years. It also allowed me to gain more insight into the author’s life and personality. Most of the poems had a short intro that explained why they were written and what inspired them, and I really liked that, it allowed me to see in the author’s mind.
This isn’t the kind of book you have to pick up and read it one sitting. Rather, it’s the type of book you have to cherish and enjoy slowly, savouring every part of it. You can pick it up, read a poem, and put it back, but the poem might haunt you long afterward.
I particularly enjoyed the short stories too, and how the author’s writing style changed and developed over the years. An intriguing collection that allows more insight in the author’s mind, and shows the creative process as it grows and develops over time....more
The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts is the sequel to City of Ghosts, which I reviewed earlier. I loved the first book, but I liked the second book even more. This time, the book isn’t set in China (one of my favorite parts about book one was the implementation of Chinese culture) yet it still features a foreign culture, since most of the book is set in Venice, Italy, and the island of Poveglia. I’ve always been a big fan of Italy. I once visited Venice and I loved the city, so I certainly didn’t mind the different setting.
Kate Carlsson is a medium, and desperate to retrieve a young girl’s soul, she heads to the haunted isle. She uncovers some shocking truths about the island that challenges her own beliefs and morals, and even her own life. Kate was already one of the characters in City of Ghosts, and I was glad to follow her along now in this second book. Jackson, the main character of City of Ghosts, is also back for round two.
The writing was excellent and I was drawn into the story right away. Poveglia is an actual island – I’d heard about it prior to reading the book, as I’m a huge history / ghosts / legends buff, and I loved the author had picked this setting. The characters were complex and intriguing, even the villains. The storylines were engaging, and the book kept me guessing. An excellent pageturner!...more
Feeble Connections is a prequel of sorts, to the Love Connection series. I hadn’t read this series yet but the first book has me intrigued, so I might pick it up when I have some spare time. From Goodreads, it looks like there are already two books out in that series, so I have some catching up to do.
Anyway, Feeble Connections is the story of Brandon, a charming Casanova; Jennifer, a beautiful young woman desperate to find true love; and Linden. Jennifer and Brandon meet in college and they connect as friends. While they’re both in love with each other, neither of them dares say it out loud and then, before Brandon can truly understand the depths of his own feelings, Jennifer is swept away by Linden. While very different from Brandon, Linden nevertheless manages to steal Jennifer’s heart.
This is a story of friendship, love, heartbreak, of connections forged and destroyed, of romance. I preferred Brandon over Linden, I thought Linden was actually quite selfish and that he chose his own interests over Jennifer’s way too often. I was rooting for Brandon all the way.
An intriguing NA romance suitable for audiences 18+...more
Drakon Book 2: Uncarved is the second book in the Drakon series. I previously reviewed the first book in the series, and really enjoyed it, so I was eager to get started on the second book. In fact, I was a bit bummed I had to put it on the back burner for a few days because I had to finish some other books first.
Anyway, back to the story. Da-Ren is back in this second installment. After having survived The Sieve, he now joins the Uncarved, the chosen few destined to lead their tribe. With forty children training and competing for the next five years, only one of them will end up becoming Khun (which actually reminded me a lot of the Khan, like The Great Khan from the Mongolian Empire). Now he’s older and wiser, he begins to feel uncertain about some particularities about his tribe and the things he’s always believed in. As he starts to doubt things he’s never doubted before, and begins to question what he’s always considered the truth, he learns a lot more about himself and his tribe than he thought possible.
The book is brutal at times, but then again, so is war and so is the society Da-Ren is growing up in. Politics are just as important as strengths and intelligence. The writing is just as fast-paced as in book one, and combined with the expanding world-building (we learn more about Da-Ren’s world and culture than in book one) and Da-Ren evolving and gorwing as a character, Uncarved makes for an intriguing sequel.
I really enjoyed this book, and finished it in one sitting. Of course, now I can’t wait to find out what happens next. If you enjoy fantasy, I would definitely recommend giving this series a try....more
In The Laird of Duncairn, the reader is transported to the setting of Scotland in 1882. The alliance between the humans and the fey has long been forgotten, and scientistis are pushing the boundaries of technology. Sir Walter Conrad discovers a new energy source that could revolutionize society… But excavating this source will have dire consequences, for both humans and fey, as an ancient enemy stirs, awakened by what Sir Walter discovered.
Effie, an outcast half-fey, is the Empire’s only hope. But the enemy isn’t the only thing she has to fight if she wants herself and the rest of the world, to survive.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s unique. The setting is historical, but it’s also an alternate world, where we have both humans and fey. Despite that, it reads a lot like an epic fantasy novel, but with some steampunk elements added in that I really enjoy. I also liked the explenation of the fey lore, and how it was all tied up with the steampunk side of the story and fantasy side.
The writing was excellent, and the details the author added in didn’t just make the time period, but the whole world come to life.
Effie is an amazing character. I loved following her journey and seeing her change and grow. The book also has a lot of side characters which is pretty common for fantasy books, but here they all had distinct personalities, and I liked that. They didn’t feel like cardboard figures, but felt like actual people with feelings and emotions.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy novel, especially if you like reading about the fey and fey lore....more
Ella’s Triple Pleasure is the first book I’ve read that feature one woman and three men! I’ve read plenty of menages, but three men, how does Ella find time to do just about anything else, was my first thought. I was curious to start reading the book, and I wasn’t dissapointed.
Ella is a single mom and a massage therapist. She isn’t looking ofr a relationship, but rather, the relationships, or in any case, the men, seems to find her!
There’s steamy businessman Cade Jackson, who has a dominant personab ut is also a client, and Ella refuses to date a client even though she’s insanely attracted to him. The second eligible bachelor is Garrett Winthrop, who moves back to town and opens old wounds Ella thought had long since healed. Bachelor number three is Dr. Derek McGregor. My favorite of the three was Cade, but each man brings something new to the table, and they all challenged Ella’s beliefs about love and relationships.
This book is a sizzling, mind-blowing romance with not one, not two, but three men. It was an eye-opener for me, and I really enjoyed the book. Recommended to fans of erotic romance....more
A couple of years ago, I reviewed Rook by S.J. Andrijeski. It was one of the first books I’d received as a reviewer on this blog, so it still holds a special place in my heart. I really enjoyed it, so when the author told me she had rewritten the book now that she’s grown and matured as an author, and if I wanted to read it again and leave a review, I was thrilled to get back into the world of Rook, reacquaint myself with the characters and the setting, and enjoy this fabulous story all over again.
When rereading my original review, my main complaint then had been the complexity of the book, and the world. I feel like part of that problem has been solved now in the rewrite. The world building is clearer, and while still a complex, multi-layered world, the explanations are clearer and take less time, which means that for the reader, it takes less time to fully fall into the world and setting.
Things that were vague the first time around are now clear, and the writing has improved too. I already thought it was pretty good, but I could see improvements still. Even the characters, Allie and Revik in particular, were better laid out and outlined, and were just overall slightly more interesting than in the first book (although I already thought they were pretty intriguing back then).
One of my favorite aspects of the book is still the ser mythology and prophecies and factions, and all the lore that comes with that. This was indeed an improved version of book one. I hope I find the time soon to read the other books in the series, because when re-reading this one, I’ve come to realize just how much I’ve missed this world and these characters.
PS: The new cover looks amazing too, and I like it better than the first one....more
No Rest for the Wicked has the kind of book blurb I can’t resist. Psychics selling curses in underground black markets, dark pasts, tough choices, just reading the blurb I wanted to read the book. I did enjoy the story, but I didn’t fall in love with it. I wasn’t always too fond of the writing nor the characters.
I did like Tatum, though. She suffered through a horrible past, but she didn’t let it stop her. She was strong, fierce, and while not fond of her abilities at the start, she confronted her demons and learned to embrace her powers. I also liked the mysteries surrounding the past, and was eager to figure out what happened. My favorite parts were the parts set in the underground market, where Tatum sells curses. I thought that was an original and clever thought, and I wouldn’t have minded to spend some more time down there, exploring the different booths and who had what to sell.
But what troubled me a little was how many characters there were. Everything seemed to be going on all at once, and all the characters seemed busy doing so many things, it was difficult to keep track of who was doing what and what everyone was up to. The storyline also had a lot of coincidences – a few I can take, but this was just a little too coincidental for my liking.
I also didn’t like Emmerick. I felt the relationship between himand Tatum was forced, and he was just too perfect. He didn’t have any flaws, or very little flaws, and I couldn’t relate to him.
The writing was pretty engaging overall, but felt a little sloppy at parts. Overall, it’s an enjoyable, entertaining book fans of paranormal fantasy with a hint of romance will enjoy. It’s also the author’s debut book, and it’s a pretty solid debut. I look forward to what the author has in store next.
Sapphire’s Flight is the epic conclusion of fantasy trilogy The Agartes Epilogues. I’ve previously reviewed the first two books in the series: Jaeth’s Eye and Aina’s Breath. I really enjoyed this series so far, and was thrilled I could pick up the third book and continue reading. Needless to say if you checked my rating – I wasn’t dissapointed. In fact, this was my favorite in the entire trilogy.
Since this is the third book in a series, I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot, since I don’t want to spoil book 1 and 2. Nations have fallen, kingdoms have lost, and it’s up to our heroes, Kefier, Sume and Enosh, to learn to live with the choices they’ve made. The characters are really reaching their full potential here. There was a lot of character development and buil-up during the first two books, and I was thrilled to see the characters growing and changing and now, ultimately, reaching their full potential.
The plot kept me on the egde of my seat. The action scenes were phenomenal throughout (so in all three books). I’ve really grown to love these characters and this world, and I’ll miss it. This series really has it all, humor, excellent worldbuilding, amazing characters, romance, scandals. The conclusion was epic, which is just about the only thing I can say about it without spoiling things. It was epic, unexpected, with a few surprises that made me gasp, and I’m sad to have to say goodbye to this series....more
List of 10 is narrative nonfiction about Joseph Naso, a deranged serial killer with narcisstic tendencies. Joseph Naso was married once and even had two sons (one of which suffered from schizophrenia, and who Naso apparently took good care of), worked as a freelance photographer and in his spare time… he killed prostitutes. Well, mostly prostitutes. He had a pretty normal childhood, nothing that would indicate he was capable of doing this, and his wife of several years never suspected anything. Yet, DNA doesn’t lie, and he now awaits the death sentence in death row.
The book is narrative nonfiction, and while I’m sometimes a fan of that (rather than in just general nonfiction, in narrative nonfiction the author sometimes crawls in the mind of the people who play a role in the book, imagining what they must’ve been thinking at the moment) it doesn’t work quite as well here. I found that the author often jumped to conclusions and even made contradictory remarks while pretending to be in the mind of the victims or the perpetrator himself, Joseph Naso. This threw me off a little and made me not enjoy the book as much. The thoughts of the victims didn’t always seem plausible either, and sometimes took wild turns with a victim thinking something one moment then something else the next. It also comes across to me as slightly disrespectful to assume to know what they were thinking. Do that for the murderer, sure, I have no respect for murderers anyway. But the victims deserve more.
The author is also condescending at times, both toward the readers and the victims. For example, he likes to mention often how a victim couldn’t have known the man they were talking to was a serial murderer. Duh. It’s not like he had the words written on his forehead. I don’t think any reader anywhere would assume the victim could just guess this.
I also felt evidence was lacking. Sure, we get a run down of what happened to the victims, how they first met Naso, how he killed them and what is then from the police investigation. We get a little background info on both the victims and Naso, and in the end, we do get a look into the trial and the supposed “list of 10” the book is based upon, of which six have been identified as people murdered by Naso (four he was convicted of, two they didn’t have sufficient evidence of).
For a short case book on the murderer that’s not too bad, but it still feels lacking. You can easily decipher this from police reports and the trial. I wanted to see additional research: the author talking to the victim’s families, talking to Naso’s family members, or at least trying to if they didn’t want to. Talking to officers who worked on the case, the D.A., and so on. And then, I also wanted to know more about the list of 10. I was hoping the author would at least have suggestions as to who the remaining four victims were, and a lead on at least one of them.
What also bothered me is that for about a decade, if the years are correct, Naso lived in Sacramento and supposedly didn’t kill anyone. Now I know serial killers can be dormant, but this usually has a reason – they’ve found a wife or steady girlfriend, they have young children they need to take care of, and so on. For Naso, he just didn’t do anything in Sacramento despite no life-changing circumstances, and then picked right up when he moved again. Right. Something doesn’t strike right.
About the list of 10, rather than do a search for missing people in the area, and running it through the missing persons database… why not look for the location itself? The list obviously states the dumping grounds of these victims. Naso, being a narcisstic bastard, didn’t even bother to write down their names. But he did write: “girl on mt. tam” and “girl near heldsburg mendocino co.” and so on. So how about, rather than to find missing people in the area, just go look for the bodies? Or better yet, look for bodies that have not yet been identified in the area or murders yet unsolved, and see if it matches Naso’s modus operandi.
Maybe that’s been done. I don’t know – the author never mentions it. The way he mentions it, police hardly did anything with this evidence despite working on the case for a year before it going to court, which I find highly unlikely. He apparently did some investigating too, but never found any of the girls mentioned on the list, or their possible dumping ground, or even a missing person who could match one of the girls on the list.
Six of the locations on the list match up with Naso’s victims, so it’s probably safe to assume the other four do too. It breaks my heart to think those victims may never be found, or if they’re found, their remains may never be matched and their identity may remain unknown. Naso himself isn’t talking either – he agreed to talked to the author, then refused to, so there’s not even an interview with Naso himself included in the book which I thought was another show of lack of research. I had at least expected an interview with Naso.
The author mentions the book is about the victims, not the murderer. I agree – I detest men like Naso as much as anyone else does. However, if we wish to understand what compells people to do these despicable things, if we wish to take a look under the veil and discover what brings people to kill another human being, then it’s necessary to talk to people like Naso, at least interview them once and get it over with. If you’re writing a book about his horrible killings, at least try to interview him and see if he’s willing to open up about anything. That would make the book’s research look far more complete, in my opinion.
So, while I picked up the book because I wanted to know more baout Naso and his victims and the book definitely accomplished that, I disliked the speculation on behalf of Naso and especially his victims, the lack of research, and also how repetitive the book was. The author mentioned five times (that I counted) that Naso’s son had schizophrenia. I can remember that after two mentions, thank you. The inconsistencies annoyed me too, especially the ones present when the author crawls into the victim’s minds.
Anyway, if you want to know more about Naso and his victims, the book does give more insight, not much more than what you can find online but if you wan’t to go look for it, it’s all nicely bundled up in this book. Not that bad, but not that great either....more
Narciso di Angelo is a sixteen-year-old boy living on the streets of Rome, and he thinks he’s the only one who can walk in another person’s dreams. He’s not. A dark, mysterious woman appears during one of his dreamwalks, and he’s narrowly rescued from her clutches by Project Somnus, a secret underground UN organisation recruiting and training children with his gifts.
He learns more about his ability and the meaning of home and family while training with Project Somnus, but a dark threat remains and he risks losing it all.
Dreamwalkers reads like X-Men meets Heroes, and it’s set in Rome and Italy, which I really liked considering it’s one of my favorite countries. I also enjoyed the plot, some of the plot twists I didn’t see coming at all. The writing is excellent and flows fluently, which is great for a YA book. From the moment you start reading, you’re right in the middle of the action, right alongside the characters.
I also liked the characters, in particular Narciso. He grows and changes a lot throughout the book, becoming more confident in his abilities and who he truly is; I found I like him better with each passing chapter.
This is a great read for young adults who enjoy fantasy books about people with special powers. The dreamwalking ability is unique and I enjoyed exploring Narciso’s special ability. Recommended to fans of YA fantasy....more
City of Ghosts in the first book in the GhostWriters series by J.H. Moncrieff. It’s a supernatural suspense featuring ghosts, conspiracies and murder. The setting and characters were very intriguing and I felt immersed in the world of this series almost right away.
Jackson Stone is touring the abandoned Chinese city Hensu when he slips away form the group, determined to spend the night and then record his ghostly experiene. He meets Yuèhai, a woman who can tell him all about the city’s secrets. But the more Jackson uncovers, the more he finds himself at risk, with betrayal waiting around every corner. From the moment Jackson runs away from the group, the atmosphere becomes eerie and unsettling.
Jackson is a flawed individual but I liked him that way, the flaws made him seem more realistic to me. The setting was great, I loved getting to know the Chinese culture as I’m not all that familiar with it. I also enjoyed getting to know more about the way they see ghosts, and some of their ghostly legends and tales.
This is a chilling ghost story in an unique setting with engaging characters and excellent writing. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys paranormal mysteries, and I look forward to the second book....more
The Hand: The Mirror of the Soul isn’t my usual topic – it’s a book about our hand palms, about chirology (the art of reading hands) and with additional scientific research, it expands upon commonly known chirology topics. The book talks about the structure of the hand, the palm lines and their appearances, the fingers, and the story they have to tell.
The chapters become increasingly more detailed and for a newbie to this topic, it’s a bit much to take in all at once, but when you reread the book you’ll probably remember most of it. I do plan to revisit it when I have more time. I’ve always been interested in palm reading although I don’t really “believe” in it, or that we can know what all the lines mean. I do have a better understanding of the topic now, and I’m less skeptical.
If you’ve ever wondered about palm reading, or about what those lines on your palm mean, read this book....more
Ahe’ey was originally released in episodic format, starting with “Beginnings”, the first episode which was released in September 2016. This book is the complete collection of all the episodes, bundled up in one book. Each episode has several chapters. In the navigation on the first page, it’s easy to see where each episode begins, and the chapters, so you can easily jump to the spot hwere you left off. A necessity, because this book is huge. 551 pages on Adobe Digital Editions. But the chapter navigation easily allows you to go to the chapter where you stopped reading (even if you want to continue on another device not synchronized to your first device – like I did; I read this partially on the computer, partially on my tablet). The book also has some helpful tools, like a map of Ahe’ey, and a royal family tree.
Anyway, that’s the technicalities. I do like the idea of serials being combined into a complete book. And the blurb intrigued me right away, so I was eager to start reading. Once I started, I didn’t really want to stop, but I had to take a few breaks because 551 pages is just too long to read in one sitting.
On to the story. Morgan is a dreamer. She’s a romantic feminist, an art lover, and she’s full of contradictions and insecurities. That’s how the blurb describes her, and it’s indeed how she comes across. She’s very realistic. Her actions too are realistic, and she could just be the woman living next door or someone you run into at the local supermarket. She discovers the world of Ahe’ey, where women are in power, and where magic exists. But this dreamlike world may turn into a nightmare as it challenges everything she’s ever known. On top of that, there’s Gabriel, stunning good-looking, and Morgan doesn’t know how long she can deny the chemistry between them.
While I enjoyed the fantasy aspects, what really pulled me in where the topics relevant for today’s society, now masked in a dystopian society but equally as important. Topics like patriarchy, like nature vs nurture, feminism. Part of the book reads like criticism on today’s society, and I quite enjoyed that. The plot is quite complex, and it took almost the entire first episode to make me fully understand what was happening. Once I did, I was fully engrossed in the story, but at the start I struggled a bit to keep track of what was what and how it would all fit together.
I enjoyed the story, the links to today’s society, and the characters. It’s definitely worth a read, especially if you’re a feminist, or if you enjoy reading dual-world fantasies with links to the current world, and that are not afraid to give criticism and demand social change....more
In Double Interest, three young scientists are developing a genetic formula that can alter the world – for btter or worse. But they receive threats because of this formula, and have to find their way out of a chain of plots, lies and schemes. They get targeted by armed drug lords, and the dark side of politics alike. These three unlikely heroes can only trust themselves, and each has to face tough choices and difficult decisions.
Spanning three continents and three different point of views, this was an interesting novel that played with the question: do you release a formula that can help millions of people, when it can also cause significant harm? These questions and other ethical dilemmas are asked and answered in the background of the story, while the fast-paced plot shows our scientists targeted from all sides by people out to steal their discovery.
The writing wasn’t 100% my cup of tea, but I can forgive that in light of the strong plot and interesting characters. Recommended to fans of technothrillers...more