Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

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Information:

Genre: Western, Fantasy,
Target Audience: Adult
Warnings: Language, violence
Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary:

Carol Evers ‘dies’ several times. Each death is coma-like and indistinguishable from death. Her new husband plans to take advantage of her latest ‘death’ and make sure this time she stays dead for good so he can get his hand on her money. James Moxie, Carol’s former love, tries to save her.

Review:

This book was provided for free by Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review.

Josh Malerman is the author of Birdbox a horror story that received world wild acclaim. So it was safe to say when I saw this book up for review on Netgalley I jumped at the chance. One thing I can say about Josh’s works is that there is always something extremely unique in them. With this one, it was Carol’s ‘illness’. It’s a very unique premise that leads to all the happenings in the book.

The writing is incredible as usual with Josh’s works. He has a way with words that makes it so easy to read. I went through it at a very quick pace which considering how much of a Western genre book this is it really works in its favor. I will say I did have some annoyance with some repetitive phrases throughout the book. It got very eye-rolling at points.

The characters were great but unfortunately, they weren’t really developed. Smoke and Carol were fun but we know so little about them it makes most of their actions confusing or frustrating. Carol while having her name in the title doesn’t have much time in the book. For most of it, she is a damsel in distress and we instead focus on the men around her which is annoying.

The pacing was odd which threw me off a little bit but it picked up by the second half. Sadly the book’s plot is fairly predictable especially if you are a fan of westerns. Some of the plot points felt very forced. One, in particular, that got the story rolling was a bit of lazy writing which annoyed the heck out of me because I know Josh is better than that.

I do think this is gonna be one of those books you’ll either love or hate. the minority of people will be those that fall in the middle. Still, I recommend this for the unique ideas and fun characters alone. Just be well aware of what this book is when you go into it. I saw a lot of people confused by the western aspect and that ruined the book for them.

For me, though this one is simply 3/5 stars. I enjoyed it but the little frustrations added up until it was just meh for me.

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Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen By Alison Weir

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Information:

Genre: Historical Fiction; Tudor-era
Target Audience: Adult
Warnings: Henry the VIII is an asshat
Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary:

The third book in Alison Weir’s Six Tudor Queen series. This one focuses on Henry VIII’s third wife Jane Seymour and her life and time as queen of England.

Review:

This book is an ARC from NETGALLEY I received in return for my honest review.

I’ve read an extensive amount of Alison Weir novels. I’ve also read an extensive amount of non-fiction and historical fiction books on the tudor era, war of the roses, ect. So it’s safe to say I walked into the novel knowing mostly what to expect.

I’ll be honest in saying this series has been a bit of an odd one for me. Now just fyi, you don’t need to read all the books in the series. You can jump in at any point so far. Most of the three books currently focus on the ‘Great Matter’, Henry’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon, and so while the books are told from different perspectives they cover a lot of the same events. The issue I’ve had with the series mostly is Alison’s huge bias against Anne Boleyn which was so bad it made the second book hard for me to read.

Jane is one of Henry’s lesser known queens. For several reasons one being that she was only queen for a year. During that time she wielded virtually no power as Henry was not keen on another Anne Boleyn situation. The one thing that would have assured her power might have been the cause of her demise. She stood up to Henry two times and was essentially shut down. Because of that and the fact, there is little from Jane herself and not too much written about her, she is often looked over.

So it’s interesting to see what Alison Weir’s interpretation of Jane is. She comes off as very pious which is one of the things we did know about her as one of the times she stood up to Henry was when she begged him on her knees to stop the dissolution of the ministries. She came off as hypocritical and just plain boring, unfortunately. You still get more of a feeling for Anne and Katherine then you do for Jane in her own book.  To me, this is the books greatest failing.

I understand it’s hard to make Jane as interesting and compelling as Katherine or Anne but for me to be utterly bored by the character not have a feel for them at all is just poor writing. To me Weir does a much better job with non-fiction then she does with fiction. She can’t seem to keep her biased opinions out of her fictional writing as even in this book her bias against Anne is clear. Even with Jane’s hypocritical side of her character, it comes off more as not a flaw per say so much as that this is how most people will interpret her.

I did find Weir’s theorizing on Jane’s death interesting. It was really the only thing that surprised me about the book. Weir has a way with words that makes you want to keep reading. She has a rare insight into Tudor history that most historical fiction authors could only dream of.

So while I can’t really recommend this book I can’t really not recommend it either. It’s just very middle of the road for me personally. Maybe people who are newer to Tudor history will find more to enjoy in this book. Please let me know if that’s the case for you.

The Broken Girls By Simone St. James

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Information:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fiction, Gothic
Target Audience: Adult
Warnings: Dark themes (giving away more then that would spoil XD)
Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary:

Idlewild Hall was a girls-only boarding school that was meant for young women no one wanted. The school has always been rumored to be haunted. When girls go missing or wind up dead on its grounds it’s no wonder. Fiona Sheridan is a journalist covering the restoration of Idlewild hall. The story is personal for her as her sister was the girl found dead. Even though her sister’s boyfriend was found guilty of the murder she’s going to learn things might not be so clear-cut.

Review:

I was given a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.

*rolls around* It’s soooo good. I’m a huge fan of gothic and mystery reads and this book combines the two beautifully. I rushed through this book as I simply couldn’t get enough. The author clearly did a bunch of research. She was able to seamlessly work between the two periods of time, 1950 and 2014,  the book jumps between.

The characters are fascinating, the atmosphere is creepy, the mystery is engaging, and the prose is perfection. I recommend this to anyone wanting a creepy mystery filled read. I’m dying to go into more detail but the mystery is so good I dare not spoil it. So go my pretties read! READ!

 

Gaming Masculinity by Megan Condis

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Information:

Genre: Nonfiction, Pop Culture, Feminism
Target Audience: Teen to Adult
Warnings: The harsh reality women face
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Megan examines the toxic masculinity women, pocs, and people of different sexual orientations face in the gaming community.

Review:

I received a free copy of this book through netgalley for my full and honest review.

I’ll be honest in saying this was a hard read for me. I’ve been playing video games since I was two years old. It’s something that is a very big part of my life. Problem is I’ve faced a lot of the toxic masculinity described in this book. As a female who enjoys gaming, you’re treated like an oddity by the community which is bullshit but it’s, unfortunately, the truth.

Megan does an interesting examination of the whys behind the actions of males and even females who participate in this behavior. You learn about all sorts of absolutely disgusting incidents that have sadly become a meme, a joke, or forgotten about completely.

I do wish that with all the discussions behind the whys of such behavior that there would have been a conversation about the effects of such behavior aside from ‘such and such woman was harassed’. Women go through such hardships in the community that I feel it’s an injustice not to talk about the everyday mental effects such actions have on them.

Also somehow dick pics never made it into mention. Which I find a little odd. Still, overall the book is really solid and the psychological research provides interesting insight. I’d recommend this to all who want to learn a bit more about pop culture and feminism.

Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston

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Information:

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Target Audience: Adult
Warnings: Piss your pants laughter
Rating 10 out of 5

Summary:

Shelly Laurenston is back continuing in her Pride world with a new series. When Grizzly shifter Berg Dunn first meets Charlie MacKilligan she’s buck ass naked and demands his best gun. Things only get crazier from there.

Review:

I received an arc of this book from netgalley from my honest review.

BLESS THE LORD SHELLY LAURENSTON IS BACK. I am a huge fan of Shelly Laurenston/G.A. Aiken. I’ve been following her since the Magnus pack was published. That lead to the Pride series which led to it being completed and me in a corner weeping in the fetal position. Now she is back with a brand new series set in the Pride world. Now you don’t need to have read the pride series to jump right into this one but it adds so much to it as we see some ole faves return.

Listen I’m just gonna gush about the amazingness of this book. The humor had me in tears. The bond between Charlie and her sisters is just amazing. Berg is great. The romance between him and Charlie is hot hot hot. Overall it’s everything I wanted.

I will say I was surprised by the amount of romance in the book. It’s a lot less than previous entries in this world. There was only one sex scene even. While that’s not a negative those going into this just for the romance and the sex should be warned.

Personally, I can’t recommend this book or Shelly Laurentston in general enough. This is for everyone who needs a laugh and some excitement in their life. NOW GET READING. *tosses copies at people* Also Shelly if you are reading this, Please miss can I have some more?!

 

 

Unicorn Food by Sandra Mahut

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Information:

Genre: Cooking
Target Audience: All ages
Warnings: None
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

A cookbook based on colorful ‘unicorn’ food.

Review:

I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley. This has in no way affected my opinion or this review.

I’ll be honest in saying this is my first time reviewing a cookbook so hopefully, if there is an issue with the review you’ll leave a comment.

This cookbook obviously came about due to the unicorn trend. It seems to be catered for pinterest and instagram. It is filled with recipes for vegans and vegetarians. Which I thought was a nice touch as it promotes a more healthy style of cooking even teaching you how to make the food dye.

I tried a few of the recipes and they turned out great. I made the mocktail (which I added some rum to). It was colorful and tasty. I also made the unicorns though mine had the horns coming off. I’m not the best at making cookies.

There is something in here for everyone. They’ve got sweets, drinks, pasta, and so much more. So if you can’t find at least two recipes in this book then you are just being picky.

The only real criticism I have for this book is the pictures. The cover is great which I find funny considering the cover uses a picture for one of the recipes yet the picture inside the book is poor quality. Some of the pictures are such poor quality it’s hard to tell what some of the objects in the photos are. For a cookbook especially one that is trying to target pinterest and instagram users that is a big drawback. I want to be able to see clearly what the food is supposed to look like when it is done.

I will state that the copy of the cookbook was an ebook. So it is possible that the pictures are better in the physical copy but since I have no way of knowing that I’m docking a star.

Still, I’d recommend this cookbook to anyone who loves unicorns, color, vegetarian/vegan dishes, and those who have kids. It’s a fun little find.

Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodríguez McRobbie

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Information:

Genre: History, Nonfiction?, Feminism?
Target Audience: Young adult to adult
Warnings: It’s history so there is murder, incest, and so much more.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Summary:

Mini-biographies on princesses who didn’t obey the rules.

Review:

I received a free copy of the book from Netgalley. This does not influence my opinon or review in anyway.

If you can’t tell from the two question marks in the genre section I’m a bit conflicted about this book. The book is an interesting premise. A book that gives mini-biographies on princesses who broke the rules of their time. Unfortunately, it’s executed very poorly.

Part of the problem is the fact that even though the book is supposed to be about real princesses it includes princesses from folklore and mythology. Considering how many interested queens and princesses the author could have featured instead this is more than a little disappointing.

Another major issue I had was how some of the women are talked about in this book. Despite claiming to be a feminist book there is more than a little anti-feminist ideals attached to the book. One chapter is even titled, floozies. We also have the author crapping on Disney princesses at the beginning of the book and those who wanted to be them.

We also have portions of certain topics where the author embellishes on things to make the book more exciting. When talking about Princess Margaret the Countess of Snowdon she brought up a bank robbery in 1971 that has in recent years been rumored to be a job by M15 to retrieve compromising pictures of the princess. The problem is that there is no evidence of this. So when the author titled her section on Margaret, the princess who caused a bank robbery, it seems more than a little misleading. This is done several times throughout the book.

Some inclusions outside of the fictional princesses also caused me to raise an eyebrow. The former Princess Nori, now Sayako Kuroda, is included in this book. Yes, she gave up her title for love, which is the section the author put her under, but she never ‘behaved badly’ or broke rules so she doesn’t seem to fit this book. The author made the mistake of calling her Princess Sayako. She was never Princess Sayako she was given the title of Princess Nori.

The books writing style was an issue for me. It came off as if I was reading a gossip magazine or the section of Seventeen where they talk about celebrities. It just felt very off from what the introduction said the book wanted to accomplish. It did make the book easy to read.

The book was riddled with grammar errors and spelling mistakes.  I had to double check that this book came out in 2013. There is no excuse for any book to have this many mistakes after publication.

Despite my complaints, I did enjoy certain parts of this book. I liked the fact the author acknowledged the fact that Juana the mad’s family claimed she was mad to steal political power from her. There were also several princesses I had never heard of before this book.

It’s hard for me to really recommend this book. The historical errors, editing mistakes, and other problems make it one I think readers should skip.