Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: A Fatal Likeness by Lynn Shepherd

Title: A Fatal Likeness
Author: Lynn Shepherd
Published by: Delacorte Press
Released: 2013
Summary: Detective Charles Maddox is hired to investigate aspects of Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley's life and finds more than he bargains for.
My Thoughts: So the way I came to this book was a little different. I found it at my library and decided to pick it up because it looked interesting. I enjoy mysteries and historical fiction and this one seemed to fit the bill. Then I came across an article Lynn Shepherd had written. An article that very much rubbed me the wrong way. (article here ). Shepherd pretty much told J.K. Rowling to stop writing adult books because every book she writes sells like hotcakes and pushes other lowly writers works into obscurity. Shepherd then went on to admit that she'd never read anything Rowling had wrote, including Harry Potter, and then went on to put adults reading YA down. It was mainly a sour grapes article that was very irritating to read. So, I was nervous going into this book. I wanted to judge the book by what was inside the pages and not based on the stupid article Shepherd wrote.
In the end, I just thought this book was okay. It was interesting in places, but it wasn't the most amazing, unputdownable book I've ever read and there were definitely things that irritated me.
Irritation #1: The way that the narrator talks directly to the reader in little asides, forays into modern times, and the use of terms and facts that the character's had no way of knowing at the time. It was just a little weird and kind of pulled me out of the flow of the story.
Irritation #2: The way the story dragged at various points. The "mystery" we unravel doesn't really contain all that much excitement or resolution and does cause the story to drag and sort of prolong itself. Also, I don't really think this is a mystery.
Irritation #3: I didn't really like any of the characters. Some were just despicable people and others just thought too much of themselves in their talent and intellect department. Some characters were obnoxiously full of themselves.
Irritation #4: The way the author fictionalized the life of the Shelley's as villains and despicable people. Shepherd took known facts and then wildly invented things about the Shelley's and their life. I don't claim to know anything about the Shelley's, except that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, or this group of "Romantics" the Shelley's belonged too. This book just kind of messed with my mind and insinuated and accused things of the Shelley's that might not be true. If you're interested in knowing about the Shelley's, then don't start with this book, because Shepherd makes up a majority of things about them that might hamper your views on them. Is Shepherd right in her assumptions? Who knows! Even she really doesn't. It's a dark, make-believe of the Shelley's lives that tries to confuse fact with fiction. It felt like a reporter who writes libel on persons with no ability to defend themselves.
So yeah, this wasn't my favorite book ever. I found parts of it interesting. I would suggest that Shepherd really think things through before writing articles about other authors. And if she's gonna make stuff up, make the whole thing up so people don't have a confused view of historical figures. But what do I know, I'm just a lowly reader.
Not Blown Away.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: I Don't Want To Kill You (John Cleaver #3) by Dan Wells

Title: I Don't Want To Kill You (John Cleaver #3)
Author: Dan Wells
Published by: TOR A Tom Doherty Associates Book
Released: 2011
Summary: John Cleaver called a demon on the phone and challenged it to a fight, so it's no surprise when another killer shows up in Clayton County. John now has to find out who Nobody is before Nobody finds him. John also has to figure out if a sociopath can really feel anything. As much as John has explored evil and death, he must now explore love. In this final installment, we find out just what kind of person John Wayne Cleaver is destined to be.
My Thoughts: I really love this series. It's deliciously creepy, at times very disturbing, and always compelling. John Wayne Cleaver is such a great character to get to know and grow with in these books. Seeing how it all ends and what he's really become was such an enjoyable process. Dan Wells' writing sucks us into the mindset of a teenage sociopath, who goes from scary to noble in the span of these three books. I really enjoyed this ending, and yet, at the same time I didn't want it to end. I could see myself reading about John Cleaver and his work for so many more books. This end gave me a little closure, but definitely left me wanting more.
I really like how John had some humanity and feeling mixed in with his monster hunting tendencies. The relationship came a little out of left field, but I really did enjoy it. It was nice to see John happy.
I also enjoyed the hunting serial killers and other things that go bump in the night aspect to it. It's so creepy and fascinating. One of my questionable guilty pleasures.
The ending kind of tore me apart. I'm glad to see shadows of John's future mapped out, but all the stuff he had to go through made my heart ache for him.
This entire series is creepy and fantastic. For anyone that loves reading about the darker side of human nature, this book series is for you. Get introduced to John Cleaver and grow with him on his journey. Also be prepared for many instances of embalming. 
Why did this series have to end!?! I want more of John Wayne Cleaver!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Review: Invisible Murder (Nina Borg #2) by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

Title: Invisible Murder (Nina Borg 2)
Authors: Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis
Translated by: Tara Chace
Published by: SOHO CRIME
Released: 2012
Summary: It all starts when two boys discover something in an abandoned hospital that really shouldn't have been discovered at all. What happens next is a case of crime, terror, and race issues for all involved. Nurse Nina Borg just wants to help some sick Roma children suffering from a mysterious ailment, but she gets sucked into something bigger than she could have ever imagined.
My Thoughts: This is another one of those Swedish/Danish/Nordic crime mysteries that I've been loving lately. Although, I did manage to do something stupid (again!) and pick up the second book in the series. That's okay though, because I don't think you necessarily have to read the first book to understand the story in this one.
This book was just an okay read for me. I didn't love it and I didn't hate it. The first half of the book was really slow and jumped around from character to character. I knew their stories would merge at some point, but it felt like it took forever to do so. Also, the crime aspect of the book didn't kick in until a good chunk into the book. I guess I just figured that with a title like 'Invisible Murder,' there would be a murder to begin the story.
This story also covered a lot of issues. There was racism, terrorism, sex trafficking, kidnapping, chemical weapons, just soooo many things. It was hard keeping up with everything. Once everything came together, it was a very enjoyable read. The ending was a little depressing though, it seemed like none of the characters really ended up happy or that their lives were better off.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It wasn't my favorite Nordic crime fiction that I've ever read, but it was good. None of the characters really stood out to me as favorites and some of them felt sort of thrown away in the end. If you're a fan of Nordic crime fiction, then give this one a shot. Just be warned that the beginning is a slow one.
Just an okay, Nordic crime read.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Review: Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand

Title: Hallowed (Unearthly #2)
Author: Cynthia Hand
Published by: HarperTEEN
Released: 2012
Summary: In this second book in the Unearthly Trilogy, Clara has to deal with being a half-angel who has failed at her purpose. After the events of the last year, Clara is uncertain as to what this year has to offer. Is there a punishment for failing at your divine purpose? Clara then starts getting another vision, one that involves a graveyard, black shoes, and an all-consuming feeling of sorrow. It seems someone in Clara's life is going to pass on from this life. Clara also has to juggle two boys, Christian and Tucker, as they fight for her affection. Two boys who each offer something different to Clara. Who knew being a half-angel could be so complicated?
My Thoughts: I remember reading Unearthly and really enjoying it. The half-angels, divine purposes, and two hot boys. I was very excited to go into Hallowed, to find out just what was going to happen to Clara next.
This book was just very depressing for me, I guess the blue cover suits it well. This book has a death in it that takes up the majority of the story. The whole story is pretty much focused on death and sorrow and it was just sort of depressing to read about. Also, the person who died is someone that I don't want to think about dying, not the character as much as the role he/she has. It was just a downer kind of a book and I don't like thinking about those things or dwelling on them. I guess sad books aren't my first go to for reading pleasure.
Also this romance, love triangle thing was a little blah. I understood the two sides and I felt bad for the situation she is in. In Unearthly, I was firmly Team Tucker, just because he's such a genuine, nice guy. In this book, Tucker doesn't get a lot of scene time and his awesomeness is just kind of replaced with mushy kiss scenes. I think I know which way Clara's heart will go and I kinda understand it. I think Tucker is going to be heartbroken, but maybe staying with Clara would hurt him more in the long run. Tucker is still an awesome guy though!
All in all, this book was just an okay read. It was majorly sad and depressing which made it not the most fun story to read. I really can't wait to see what happens in the last book and what happens with Jeffrey. I think Jeffrey is hiding some secrets. For those of you that haven't read Unearthly, go do it! This is an enjoyable YA series with beautiful covers.
Sad. Be sure to have a box of tissues handy.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Reading Right Now! (#16)

Here's what I'm Reading Right Now!
Title: House Of Leaves
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Progress: This one is a little difficult to say, because this is a very different book. I just finished the introduction to the story, so I'm probably less than 1% done with the book. Just to clarify, it's a huge book at 709 pages.
So what I'm Reading Right Now! is a book I've heard about and had my eye on for awhile. I requested it from my library through the consortium/inter-library loan program. I don't really know a lot about this book either. I do know that it's supposed to be very stylistically and differently written. It's supposed to be a horror/mess with your mind book. And a lot of people either really like it or aren't impressed by it. I don't think there is very much middle of the road when it comes to this one. All the synopsis really mentions is that a couple buys a house and the house is larger on the inside than it is on the outside. It also says something about their children coming back with stories of some kind of beast. So I'm interested. The book is sort of told in a way that sets out to make it look real, but all the text and authors mentioned are fictitious. I just finished the introduction written by Johnny Truant and I'm definitely curious. Truant starts by explaining how messed up he is and talking about the death of Zampano that started it all. I can't really say much about this book because I just started it and am really in the dark. I can't wait to read this sucker and see just what I think of it. I'm also a little scared that it could scar me for life. In one of the praise blurbs, they mentioned being scared of their closet after reading it. I hope that doesn't happen to me because I don't want to be afraid of my closet. So that's it for what I'm Reading Right Now! Let me know what you're reading and let me know if you've read House of Leaves and what you thought of it!