The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams | Book Review

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The Chosen One is a Young Adult book follows the story of a young girl named Kyra who lives in an isolated polygamist community. Unlike her family who follow all the rules of the community, she shows a bit of a rebellious streak by visiting and reading forbidden books from a mobile library and having secret meetings with a boy named Joshua. The women have no say in who they marry and to Kyra’s horror the prophet says that she must marry her sixty year old uncle who already has six other wives. As the story goes on it becomes more and more intense as Kyra faces punishment for her disobedience.

The book is a quick and easy read that most should find engaging. Everything’s pretty simplistic as in the book doesn’t really go deep into any of the concepts. The basic premise of how things work in the community is given but there’s not really much of in depth look into it. Prophet Childs and The God Squad are the bad guys of the story but not much is explained about them, we see them doing terrible things and for the most part that’s it. I would of like to have seen the psychology behind everything, if that makes sense. Especially Prophet Childs, being that he’s the evil prophet and all. The dreaded Uncle that Kyra has to marry in my opinion wasn’t looked into enough either.

Another issue is Joshua, he has next to no character development which caused me to care very little about him. It seems he just exists to give Kyra a big reason to rebel, but other than that he’s hardly a character at all, he’s just seemed like an afterthought. So basically, he was somewhat pointless and needed to be more fleshed out character.

With all that said, The Chosen One is overall a satisfying book. The writing’s also simple, I think most people should get through this in a day or two. The build of is great and the thrills keep on coming till the end. Kyra’s voice is pretty emotional and I never felt annoyed or frustrated with her. Although I sometimes forgot she was so young. The book’s pretty much pulls the reader in from start to finish so it’s definitely a good recommendation for someone who’s not sure they’ll like reading. 4/5

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The Duff by Kody Keplinger | Book Review

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The Duff is a Young Adult book about a girl named Bianca Piper who is best friends with two beautiful girls and is “plain” by comparison. She gets labeled a Duff (designated ugly fat friend) by a popular, attractive boy named Wesley who’s known in school for sleeping around. Bianca throws cherry coke when he he gives her the label and claims to be repulsed by him. But things aren’t so good at home and soon sex with Wesley becomes a distraction for her issues.

This book is definitely a page turner, Bianca’s drama really pulled me in. I think many teens could relate. Even though I’m an adult now a lot of things in the book reminded me of my own teen years. Bianca’s bad attitude annoyed me at times, I understand why she was this way but it was still a bit much at times. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like her, she’s definitely a decent character and someone I could see myself being friends with.

Bianca’s friendship with Jessica and Casey (the pretty, popular girls) was something I really liked. I love seeing good female friendships in books and this book does a good job with that. They’re all supportive of each other and care about one another. Normally in books like this they’d make the pretty girls shallow and stupid but in here they actually have substance. Now as for Wesley, I liked him overall even though at times I wasn’t sure. I don’t usually like the whole falling in love with the jerk/man-whore thing but here it was somewhat tolerable.

Another great thing about this book is it’s stance against labels often given to women like “duff” and “whore” all meant to make women feel bad about themselves. It’s great to see a YA book without the slut shaming. The Duff has been on my “to read” list for a year now and I’m really glad I finally read it. 4/5. 

Top 5 Worst Books of 2016

I didn’t read that many bad books in 2016. I try to only read books I have a good feeling I’m going to enjoy. Struggling through a bad book isn’t something I have the patience for these days. With that said the a few of the following books aren’t really “the worst” more like “disappointing” instead.

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
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Wide Sargasso Sea is probably the worst book I read in 2016. The more I think about it, the more I dislike it. At this point I’d probably downgrade it to one star. Really, it does very little with its premise and its source material (Jane Eyre). In the end, it’s overdramatic and unfulfilling. Someone else should tell the madwoman in the attic’s story. Full Review.

Jasmine by Bharati Mukherjee
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This is a novel that starts out good but then becomes very soap opera-like. I wouldn’t have a problem with that except it fails to be entertaining enough. Maybe if the story was written in a more coherent structure I might have liked it more but it isn’t it’s told in a fragmented way that just didn’t work for me.

The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancy
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A very disappointing book since the first novel was so amazing. Sure, it has its shocking moments but I don’t like the character development of the main characters. I don’t like the direction the relationship of the two mains went and hate that Dr. Warthrop had some lame love interest.

A Nightmare on Clown Street by R.L Stine
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I read this out of nostalgia. I must face the fact the goosebumps books just don’t hold up because this book was dumb beyond belief. Almost incomprehensibly dumb.

Alice by Christina Henry
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This book is not bad or the “worst” , in many ways it is a very good read. But for me it could have done more. The pieces are there but in the end the book just doesn’t do anything great. Full Review.

Top 5 Favorite Books of 2016

I read quite a few great books this year. I decided to make a list of five instead of ten this time but it was a challenge to narrow them down. These are the books I felt stood out to me the most. In no particular order!

Flora and Ulysses  by Kate DiCamillo
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This is what a great children’s book should be like. I can’t praise it enough. It has a fun and silly premise but still carries a great message. I wrote a full post awhile back.

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
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I’ve read loads of King’s books but I didn’t read one of his most famous until 2016. Weird, I know. This is definitely one of his best. It moves at a slow pace but I was captured by the atmosphere of the book. This is one of the best vampire and horror novels out there.

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy
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It’s great to see such a creative and original book in the YA category. This novel is shockingly gory and is reminiscent of the old fashioned gothic horror novel. There’s pretty much nonstop suspense and horror I loved it. Unfortunately, I thought the second book in the series was “meh” and not as good so I’m a little wary about moving on to the next books in the series.

The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi
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“Wondla” is an amazing sci-fi adventure accompanied with some good illustrations, it’s surprising that this book isn’t more popular (I’ve never heard anyone talk about it!). I loved the main character and her robot mom along with the world in general. This is also one book that begs to be made into a movie. I hope to purchase and read the next books in the series soon.

The Child Thief by Brom
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 This is one of the best retellings I’ve ever read (maybe even the best) There’s so many layers and great characterization, another book that I think deserves more attention. I also did a full review.

So that’s my top 5, I hope everyone will read them and enjoy too 🙂 Up next will be a worst of 2016. 

Joyride by Jack Ketchum| Book Review

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Spoiler-ish.

Joyride is about a woman named Carole and her lover Lee who end up murdering her abusive ex-husband as an act of desperation. A death-obsessed man named Wayne witnesses the act and hopes to commit more murders with them.

The two protagonists of the novel don’t have a really good plan when it comes to murdering Carole’s ex-husband. The whole set up seemed extremely sloppy. Basically the plan is: Bludgeon him to death with a bat on a hiking trail and make it look like a hiking accident. They do a very poor job. Especially since the ex-husband puts up a fight.

Both of them have a lot to lose, so I would have thought they would have come up with a more full-proof plan. Not to mention, Carole is friends with an officer that checks up on her every now and then (because of the past issues with her ex-husband). So, that is one of the glaring issues with the novel.

I also didn’t feel a lot of chemistry between the two leads. And if their willing to commit a murder together, I would think that they would have a more intense relationship. In fact, at times they hardly seem into each other. Maybe this was intentional but I still didn’t like it.

Then we have Wayne, the antagonist. He’s a man who feels intense excitement for the act of murder. He comes close to strangling his girlfriend but before that it seems he never built up the courage to go through with killing a person.

That is until he witnesses Carole and Lee. He’s impressed that they’re able to murder someone. He even covers up the body better for them. Eventually he finds the two of them and wants to go on a killing spree with them. Not surprisingly, they aren’t into it.

Next comes the series of murders. Wayne seems to want to abandon their normal lives in order to go on a road-trip style killing spree. However, he soon realizes that Carole and Lee do not want to be his friends and so he turns on them.

Wayne is the most interesting character in the book – from a psychological stand point. Especially when something very creepy about his mother is reviled. The sections of the book inside his head were the best. He incites a certain level of sympathy (but only a little), and I like when writers do that with the bad guy.

Joyride has a few flaws but it’s a good book. At times, I felt it didn’t go as far as it could have gone but it was a satisfying read in the end.

3.5/5

 

Let’s Go Play At the Adams’ by Mendal Johnson | Underrated Horror Book

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Let’s Go Play At the Adams’ is a horror novel about a babysitter named Barbara who is kidnapped and held captive by a group of kids whose parents are away. While Barbara is completely helpless and afraid the kids have many awful things in store for her. That’s the basics of the plot and before reading I was expecting just a non-stop torture and gorefest. In fact that’s exactly what I was looking for so I went in with high hopes. But the book turned out to be a lot more than that.

There is torture, of course but not much gore. And that’s fine because the most terrifying thing about this book is the psychology of the kids and Barbara’s fear. It’s told in third person omniscient so the reader gets to see the thoughts and feelings of all characters. It’s very well written and one of the best horror stories that I have read.

It’s also insanely underrated. Most people seem to have completely forgotten about this great book, except for a few horror fans that is. It seems to be out of print and I had to get a copy from one of the libraries in my state. I really want to own a copy of my own, it would be great on my bookshelf. However, the used copies on Amazon their selling are about $40 and up, no way I’m paying forty dollars for a single book.

Despite sadly not owning my own copy, I feel like this novel is a real treasure. It was the author’s one and only novel and there doesn’t seem to be much information on him.  I know it was published in the 70s but I wish it would somehow get more attention than it does. It’s not just some cheap horror book that gives you a quick scare, it actually stay with you. At least, that’s how it was for me.

Let’s Go Play at the Adams’ was possibly inspired by the Sylvia Likens case. There are some similarities due to the fact it involves suburban kids terrorizing someone. Although In the book there’s no adult leading them. A fairly well known horror book inspired by the case is The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum which I have read and own a copy. The two books can easily be compared.

So when I compare the two I definitely enjoy Mendal Johnson’s book a lot more. In fact despite all the praise it gets from many horror fans, I didn’t like Ketchum’s novel that much. It’s still good and definitely a page turner but it wasn’t as shocking or as terrifying as I expected…it just wasn’t deep enough for me. The narrator was annoying and maybe that was intentional but the book just wasn’t what I wanted it to be.

Adams’ on the other hand wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be but it was definitely something I wanted.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | Review and Fanfiction Nostalgia

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is one of the most recent books that I’ve read. I had heard about it again and again on Booktube and the premise really interested me as a former fanfiction writer. I went in with pretty high expectations and overall the book pretty much met those expectations. It’s a very good story that I’m sure many people can relate to, including me.

Fangirl was an engaging book with some great characters. Even though I found Cath annoying at times, she was actually a lot like me. In terms of being introverted and writing fanfiction. But the great story aside, the best thing about this book was the memories it brought back of my fanfic days.

The Simon Snow series/fandom that Cath writes for in the book is probably based on the Harry Potter fandom. Well I’ve written a few fanfics for Harry Potter along with other fandoms but the main thing I wrote for was InuYasha. In the same way Cath loved Simon Snow, I loved InuYasha and even though I no longer write fanfiction for it, it still means a lot to me.

In the book Cath’s really popular on the fanfic site that she writes for. Well, I wasn’t that popular but I still got plenty of reviews and hits. I remember how great it was reading and writing the fanfiction, being able to do what I wanted with my favorite characters. Also like Cath, I often shipped same sex pairings (but unlike her I often did femslash aka girl on girl) although my OTP (One True Pairing) for the InuYasha fandom was a heterosexual ship.

I think many people don’t understand how much a fandom can mean to someone, for a lot of people it’s just entertainment. Simon Snow is more than just entertainment to Cath, it’s a big part of her life. InuYasha was/is a big part of my life, it wasn’t just some anime to me. It was something that consumed me and helped me when I was down. Even though I’ll probably never write fanfiction again, I still watch my InuYasha dvds over and over again. It will always be with me.

One thing I don’t have in common with Cath is that she preferred to write fanfiction over original works. That was never the case with me, I always preferred writing original stories over my fanfics. And now I just strictly write original work. Reading Fangirl made me consider writing fanfiction again and maybe I might write a few one-shots sometime in the future.

The reason I stopped writing fanfics in the first place is hard to explain, I guess I sort of got caught up in other things and lost the motivation. But being involved was still a fun time in my life that I’ll always remember. In the end, Fangirl is amazing maybe not perfect but still great. It will definitely click with all the fanfiction writers or former fanfiction writers out there.

Note: I posted this review on my old blog awhile ago.