Review: Ugly As Sin by James Newman

Ohhhh, this book! Lovingly classified as ‘White Trash Noir’ this story shook feelings from me I didn’t know I could experience whilst reading! The story follows our protagonist, Nick ‘The Widowmaker’ Bullman, after he hits rock bottom.

Firstly, you may ask, what is white trash noir? That is a solid question and one I am not fully sure I can answer correctly. To me, ‘White Trash Noir’ is more of a feeling than a thing; if you read it, you will know it. I would describe it as gritty and tragic but oddly full of hope and humor as well. It feels real.

The story of Nick Bullman is beautifully moving – I felt such sympathy for him – he’s pretty much a good guy who had his outward ‘humanity’ stripped away from him due to an event completely outside of his control. Because of this horrific event his entire life is turned upside down and when we meet him, he is at the bottom of it all. I feel at its core this is a story of love, redemption and reconciliation. The writing style is fluid and compelling; it kept me glued to the pages. Ultimately, what I took from this book is if you can salvage anything from the ashes of your past mistakes, do it. Our relationships we form in life are what truly matter. They are what make life worth living. Well done, Mr. Newman, all the stars to you!


Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Yesterday I finished up listening to the audiobook of Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.  This book is the first of The Wayward Children series – the 3rd book, Beneath the Sugar Sky, was just released on January 9th so there has been a lot of buzz on bookish media outlets regarding this series. After listening to a few different booktubers proclaim their love of these books, and their excitement for the final book, I knew I needed to check it out for myself! (and I’m glad I did)

I decided to give this 3.5-stars but rounded up to 4 on Goodreads because for me it was closer to a 4-star than a 3-star read. My favorite aspect of the book was the incredibly bizarre cast of well-drawn characters. This is definitely a character piece. The setting for the book is Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.  Magical and dark, I loved hearing the different stories of each character’s times and travels prior to moving to the Home. There is a lot of great rep in this book and it just seems like a fun and comforting story for any young person who has ever felt misunderstood (which is probably all of us!).

I will continue with the series, as from what I have read, the books get better and better. I definitely enjoyed the author’s style, there just wasn’t as much action as I normally enjoy.

Cheers to the weekend everyone – this week has been exhausting! So ready for a book-filled next few days. What’s everyone reading this weekend?

Review: Wonderblood by Julia Whicker

Expected Publication Date: April 2018

Firstly, hello bookworld! I have been very absent lately on what I believed to be a 1-week Christmas vacation that has since turned into a 2-week Christmas vacation.  Yes, you read right!  Unexpected 2-week vacation. Due to inclement weather I have been unable to get back home – part of the joy of living on an island!

Okay, back to the topic – Wonderblood by Julia Whicker! I finished Wonderblood late last night and needed to sleep on it before I could formulate my thoughts into a coherent review. Firstly, this is a debut novel for Julia Whicker and although this book did not blow me away, I would certainly be interested in other books (unrelated to this one) that she may write in the future. I enjoyed her writing style a lot which was not just agreeable but at times absolutely lyrical.

At the beginning of the book, literally the first 10 to 15-pages, there was some content that almost made me give it up. It did not grab me at all and in fact certain elements of it turned me off. It is an adult sci-fi novel that is set in a very gritty, very harsh post-apocalyptic wasteland. There are triggers for abuse, child rape, sibling incest and/or sibling molestation; I could see this causing a lot of people to turn away very quickly from this book. If you can get by that, it does get a lot better and I am glad that I stuck with it.

The middle is where I feel the story is at its strongest, with political intrigue and an interesting “religious” system. The story does take place in a future United States, which has had its population decimated by a mad cow-like disease – this story picks up in the aftermath of that although we never learn too much about the chain of events prior to the current action. Quite generally, it reminded me of Mad Max meets The Road.

One of my biggest disappointments for this book was the lack of character development. I came away just feeling blah about all of the characters – there were none that I related too or even felt that I knew enough about to care for in any way. If this were a start to a series (I am not sure if it is slated as a stand-alone or a series), I would not pick up the second book, really because I just do not care what happens to any of these characters. Additionally, I didn’t feel like the atmosphere was strong enough to make up for the lack of character development.

Mainly, I gave this three stars due to the writing style of the author and the unique ideas included in the world she was creating – for example, I loved that the characters worshiped NASA space shuttles and had Cape Canaveral as their holiest of sites – but the execution overall fell a little flat for me. Please note, I was given a copy of this book from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review. I certainly appreciate the opportunity to read it, comment on it and am excited to hear what other readers think of this story!

Review: Peach by Emma Glass

Expected Publication Date: January 23, 2018

I received an early release copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Unfortunately, for the book, that is what I am going to be – honest.  I gave this book two out of five stars on Goodreads. This is unusual for me and frankly, hurts my heart a little bit.  I usually at least ‘like’ a book, finding some reedeming qualities within its pages. This book however was very disappointing and I cannot think of one compliment to give it.

The description sounded interesting and powerful; it is the story of a young lady who it appears is sexually assaulted. It wasn’t only the stream of consciousness writing style that I found let the story down, I understand there are times when that writing style can be very impactful, but you should still be able to piece together what is actually going on. This book was so strange that you couldn’t tell what was real and what was imagined by the main character, Peach. The other characters in the story were all so strange it was laughable.  The ending was so bizarre with the most insane BBQ happening, I am still shaking my head about it.  Luckily, it was very short so I made it through the whole thing. Overall, I found it confusing, disturbing and utterly pointless. I cannot imagine to whom they are going to market this book. I wish them luck.

Review: The Wicked by James Newman

The Wicked. Oh how I love you! (I mean, look at this cover!) I finished this book yesterday and enjoyed it so much.  It is like nothing I have read in a very long time.

I received this book through my Nocturnal Readers Box subscription and I am so glad they included this. This book is true horror – the entire book teemed with the classic feels of 1980s horror. I grew up loving all things horror – watching movies like The Gate, Fright Night and Halloween over and over again, in addition to reading anything in the genre I could get my hands on.

In this one we have the classic tale of evil taking over and almost completely annihilating a small town- the pace of this book is very fast moving and the imagery is solid and disturbing.  Some of the deaths scenes….damn, that Moloch is harsh!  In the beginning I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the main characters, as they are very different from myself, but I did grow attached to them and ultimately was really rooting for them to survive the bloodbath. My favorite character was this older gentleman named George who was really just a smart-ole’ battleax (these types of characters always tended to be my favorites in old horror movies as well). They provide a bit of humor and a sense of comfort, being older, and that they always know how to tackle a situation.

If you are looking for a true horror read, I would definitely recommend you check out this book, you will not be disappointed! *One aside, there are some strong sexual elements in the story so if you are a more ‘sensitive’ reader to that type of situation, you may wish to steer clear.

Let’s Talk The Gunslinger

Happy November 1st bookworms!  Since this whole blog thing is new to me, I am trying to get in the habit of writing every day.  With this being said, I think it is necessary for me to look back a bit and discuss books I have read in the past – not just my current reads.

Let’s talk The Gunslinger.  I finished reading The Gunslinger (Book 1 in Stephen King’s hugely popular The Dark Tower Series) on October 1st of this year.  This was a reread for me.  Originally when I read this story, I was in my early 20’s, just out of undergraduate school and to be honest, I just didn’t get it. I didn’t like the atmosphere, I didn’t like the strange dialogue, I didn’t like the ending for Jack – I had read a lot of King and this just was different for me.

Rereading it now, on the cusp of 40, I loved it! I love the world-building, I love Roland, I understand what happened to Jack, I understand where this is going. The palaver between Roland and Walter at the end…..chills. Where once I may have given this book 3 stars, I now give it 5 (easily). I put it down and immediately went to my bookshelf and got The Drawing of Three: The Dark Tower II and started reading it (staying up way past my bedtime in order to do so). I need to get to this tower!

I have not seen the movie that was recently released and frankly, I am a little hesitant to watch.  I have heard so many negative things about it and I don’t want it to have any effect upon my current experience with the series.

Happy to hear anyone’s input/comments on the book to movie comparison to this one and whether or not you feel the movie is worth a watch!

May your November be fruitful – may you get many pages, many chapters, many books read!