I feel the need to clarify what I write about books and audio books. I write book or audio book reviews. I do not write reports. Every time I read a book report listed as a review on amazon or goodreads, I wish for the ability to unread it. A book report basically gives the whole plot of the book. After reading someone's book review, do I really want to read the book? I now know exactly what is going to happen.
What I write is a review. I try to say as little about the plot as possible. People have to read the book. But I will tell them if I liked it and why. If I didn't like it, I will also tell them. Honestly I am hesitant to write a bad review knowing that even if I did not enjoy the book, it is the fruit of an author's hard work and someone else may enjoy it. I just may not have the same taste. I try to highlight characters, whether than are well developed and believable. I also address if the plot is good but do not like to write about plot points specifically.
Final thought. I am not a professional writer. I have an associate in liberal arts from 1982. The courses I did best in school/college were English, literature or history. That is the sum of the expertise I possess. A Thirty plus year old education. In other words, I have no right to toss rocks at anyone's house and I am not attempting to do that here. I am just clarifying why I write what I write. Feel free to leave comments correcting me if you like.
I think my love affair with apocalypse literature has to do with being a child of the cold war. I have some many favorites from the old classics. When a new entry in the genre comes up, I am always eager to see how it stands up. For those who have a preferred method of ending the world, do not despair: The Dead Lands' apocalypse has two. It creates a unique post apocalyptic world.
Two of the main characters have the surnames of Lewis and Clark. They start the story in St. Louis, but due to a series of events/circumstances, they set out for the Pacific northwest coast. They are using maps that were from the world before. They do not know what dangers they will face from the elements, mutated animals or other humans. The one character, Lewis, keeps a journal where he is recording their progress and also what they find as they travel through the apt named dead lands.
I enjoyed that the characters were not two dimensional. Even a minor character had a more robust presence than main characters in some books I have read. The descriptions of the landscapes, animals and people were terrific. I had no problems picturing what the author was seeing when he wrote those descriptions. The explanation for how the world ended was believable. The science he used in explaining the apocalypse and it's aftermath was understandable and rational.
It wasn't until approximately the last fifty pages that I had an issues. I was left with a couple of unanswered questions and wasn't madly in love with how the resolution of the story was achieved or the epilogue. Quite honestly, it may not be the author's fault. When I read a book I enjoy, I tend to gulp it down. The questions that went unanswered by the end of the book may have been answered, I just missed them. I will have to reread it again in the near future.
I would recommend The Dead Lands to anyone who enjoys good fiction. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has a love affair with post apocalypse fiction. If you have read any of Mr. Percy's previous works, you will love The Dead Lands. Which reminds me, if you have not read the author's previous book, Red Moon, go buy/borrow,rent it now. Best. Werewolf. Story. Ever.
One for Sorrow was a very powerful book. The book is a ghost story, a coming of age story, and an exploration of the effects of bullying on adolescents. It is more than just that though.
I debated how to try to do it justice in a review; I really cannot since I am not that good of a writer. I decided the best way was to let Mr. Barzak's book literally speak for itself. The following passages touched me, or rather smacked me upside my head, to the point where I needed to write them down:
At one point in the story, the main character Adam is discussing how religion is viewed in his family. He starts by discussing his grandmother who he was close to.
"She was Catholic, but like in this really weird way apparently, which my mom says Catholics are in general because they tend to believe in a lot of magical stuff that she doesn't believe in, which to me isn't the smartest argument in the world because she has no proof there isn't magic in the world, she’s relying on an invisible faith that magic doesn't exist, which is the same thing in my opinion as having faith that it does."
Adam had scathing words for those people who ask how you are but really do not care nor wait for an answer.
"People traded words that meant nothing for more words that meant nothing, and you had to do it if you wanted to be considered a member of the group. . . .People say this stuff automatically, and how can words mean anything if you don’t think about saying them, if you don’t feel them as you are saying them?"
Before her death, Adam's grandmother had warned him that God's finger would point him out for sorrow if he was not careful. Adam, while crashing in a unused church, contemplates the statue of a crucified Jesus and compares Him to His Father.
"The thing I liked about Jesus was that he wasn't like his father. He didn't send storms or plagues or angels to destroy people’s lives or test their loyalty. He just loved everyone." . . ."Jesus didn't seem like the finger-pointing type. I would probably have gotten along with the guy."
The second to the last paragraph in the book contains the following lines:
"Right then I thought, You can live again. You can take the steps towards the finish line without too much fear or sadness. And even if you sometimes fell in the process of getting there, it didn't have to mean you were done for. It didn't have to mean you’d fallen from grace, but that maybe you’d had the grace to get back up again. To go toward it. To cross the finish line without knowing what come after."
They way that Mr. Barzak articulates how someone with depression struggles to just survive each day is incredible. I read those lines and they resonated with me personally. They resonated with where I am as an individual who has struggled with depression for over twenty years. It was almost as if Adam was sharing his struggle with me and in doing so giving me some of his strength.
I really have not done a very good job in expressing how wonderful and strong this book was. Please do not pass it up based on my poor writing. Please read the sections I included of Mr. Barzak's own words and then get the book. You will not be sorry. This is one book that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.
This was a very disturbing but excellent movie. The acting was very good. The cinematography was perfect. I loved it. It was only disturbing because of the subject matter. I would recommend this movie for adults and older mature teens. There is some nudity and language but I think the issue is an important one that needs to be discussed. The movie is based on the novel One for Sorrow by Christopher Barzak. There are some differences between the book and the movie but both work well. You will be enriched by either book or movie if you can only access one of them.
The Graveyard Queen Series by Amanda Stevens
The Restorer (The Graveyard Queen Book 1)Mar 1, 2012
The Kingdom (The Graveyard Queen Book 2)Mar 27, 2012
The Prophet (The Graveyard Queen Book 3)Apr 24, 2012
The Abandoned (The Graveyard Queen)Apr 1, 2011
I checked The Restorer out of my local library. I saw it recommended by someone on my twitter feed and decided to check it out. I loved it. The characters were well written and likable. It was different than the other "I see dead people" books. It had suspense and twists. I finished the first one after two days and immediately checked the next one in the series out of the library. The Kingdom is the second book in the Graveyard Queen series. The second book in the series did not fail to impress. I loved it as much as the first one. As with the first one the characters were well written. Questions I had from the first book were answered and new mysteries arose to be carried into the next book. I have read all four books and enjoyed them immensely. I highly recommend the series. I am eagerly awaiting the newest book in the series due out later this year.
Dominion of the Damned
I really enjoyed Dominion of the Damned. The universe it is set in was a nice spin on the usual monsters vs humans theme. The characters were well done. The backgrounds given made the characters actions in the story believable. The author's short story "Scarcity" was my introduction to this universe. I hope she writes more in this setting; not only with the characters from Dominion but literally an entire world of possibilities.
This is a collection of short stories or flash fiction. I enjoyed it.
The stories are:
1) Snack Machine - a delight which reminded me of Stephen King at his best "bet you never look at that everyday thing again" scare the crap out of you moments.
2) Scarcity - marvelous; absolutely marvelous. As soon as I see the authors book Dominion of the Damned, set in the same universe, on sale I will snatch it up.
3) Blood - very interesting; would be cool to see if the author continues the story in the future; I would interested in knowing what happens to the two characters.
4) Devil's Promenade - good but I am not wild about mockumentaries or found footage things so this one was not my favorite; still a good story.
5) Eucha Falls - very interesting story; reminded me of Ray Bradbury. When you read it you will see why but I am not providing any spoilers.
I recommend this collection for a nice rainy afternoon of weird/horror reading.
"This hit me like a Hallmark commercial and a sappy love song and a particularly powerful episode of a Joss Whedon show all packaged together and topped with a PMS bow."
The entire book was as witty and entertaining as the above sentence. I really enjoyed it. A combination of a mystery and a ghost story, both genres well done. I will be checking out more of Ms. Bauhaus books. Give yourself a fun visit to a haunted house, filled with mystery and a pretty hot dead guy.
London Falling and The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell
London Falling is the first in what I hope will be a long series. Excellent story. Great concept. I picked it up from the library because of the cover image (yeah, the cover designer hopefully gets a percentage of sales). It was a mystery, a paranormal, a group of individuals becoming a team. It kind of defied categorization. It held my interest through out the entire book. When it was done, I immediately requested the sequel "The Severed Streets" from the library. I was quite happy to find the sequel was equal if not slightly better than the first book. I think I like "The Severed Streets" slightly better because I was already familiar with the characters, cared about what happened to them and found the adversary much harder to predict. Great books have at least one line that makes you stop, come to a full stop, and consider what you just read. In this book it was, "To Londoners, bombs and riots were just an extreme form of weather." What an excellent image it gives me of the spirit of the people who live there. Read "London Falling" and then jump right into "The Severed Streets".