Tag Archive: 2 star


Destruction by Sharon Bayliss

Alright guys, I have been MIA long enough. I am literally dragging my fingers across the keyboard to post this, but here it is!

destruction Destruction by Sharon Bayliss

Published April 14th, 2014 by Curiosity Quills Press

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books a Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.

Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Curiosity Quills!

This will probably be a short review because the book just wasn’t that good. My first annoyance with it was actually the blurb. It gives away so many big plot points. I mean, who writes these things? It tells me the entire arc of the story almost, guess I didn’t need to read the book after all.

I was highly annoyed with the magic in this book too. I hate it when books don’t give magic any consequences, it’s jut there to fix all your problems. The book claims that doing magic can make you deranged and evil, but the main characters seem to have no problem whipping out complex magic when it suits them…and seem to suffer no ill effects or other consequences. For example, fiddling around in someone’s brain? Well it was for their own good, so no consequences. The only possible consequence is that the person doing the meddling now had to remember all those bad memories they were erasing, oh the horror! End snark.

David was a fairly likeable character until he started excusing a rape (he’s a dark wizard, can’t help it) and then perving on a 17 year old (but she’s a fertility witch, he couldn’t help it!). Notice a pattern here? It is always the magic’s fault, not the character’s.

In the end, I didn’t care for this book. It was a fairly good idea but not executed very well. The characters were marginal but not unlikeable. The magic was poorly executed and seemed completely secondary to the story. I won’t be continuing with this series.

 

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surrenderSurrender by Tawny Taylor

Published May 27th, 2014 by Aphrodisia

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository / Books a Million

 

Synopsis:

I was his.
To touch.
Anywhere.
Any time he wanted.

Abby is ready to agree to anything to stop her brother from going to prison, but Kameron Maldondo, the owner of MalTech Corporation, is asking for the unexpected. Enthralled by his commanding brilliance, she agrees to be his assistant, at his beck and call for whatever he needs–whenever and however he wants. What that means is for him to decide and for her to submit to. Frightened yet fascinated by what he promises, Abby becomes a willing captive to his caress, undone by his peerless touch, a quivering submission to an aching need for complete carnal surrender. . .

 

Rating: 3 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Aphrodisia!

Warning: This book is an erotica and contains explicit sex scenes. It features light BDSM and dubious consent. Be advised this review might also contain some explicit material.

 

On the whole this book was okay. It wasn’t great and it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t the best erotica I’ve ever read. Honestly, on the sizzle scale it barely hit a simmer.

The sex scenes in this book were actually pretty alright. But I am not sure why the author termed this as a BDSM. The ONLY thing that happened was they used a few sex toys and he restrained her hands a few times….with some nibbling and nipple pinching. That is such vanilla BDSM that I don’t even know where to start. Then we have the issue of Kam and Abbie’s affair being started under dubious consent, he blackmails her into agreeing to his terms. Yes he retracts that very quickly and gives her back the choice but not before they had a few sexual encounters together. Also, there is no warning in the synopsis about it being a dubcon, bad author bad!

I had a few issues with the BDSM and I started to doubt whether the author had ANY knowledge of the BDSM community at all. You can’t choose a safeword after you already began play. You can’t start play without discussing what is and is not acceptable to the sub, where their hard and soft lines are. You can’t tell your sub that you respect that they are not comfortable with something and then press the issue and demand trust that it will be okay. All of these things make you a bad dom. If any of those things happened in group play, that dom would have to answer to the whole group before being thrown out of playing. These things annoy me, Google could have straightened all of that out. And all of those things happened in this book.

Another thing, while I’m on the BDSM topic, why do all people involved in BDSM in books have an abusive background? Literally all of them. That is not an accurate representation of the community at all. Not everyone who likes being tied up during sex was abused. Not everyone who gets horny when their lover takes a paddle to their ass was raped and beaten. Stop doing this already authors, seriously! Just one time I want to see a BDSM book where the participants had no abuse and just like it a little rough but are mentally healthy individuals.

Now, let’s move on to the characters. Kam was a typical alpha male character, but surprisingly not an offensive one apart from being a terrible dom. He takes care of Abbie, he respects her, and he protects her. These are things that a real alpha male does, and it’s sexy. Unfortunately Abbie is a moron. She seemed incapable of putting two and two together and not coming up with eight. She is responsible for getting the information that will free Kam from suspicion. She knows that her brother is to blame and then starts feeling funny (after being drugged once already) and has no clue what’s going on. Um hello dummy, this happened a handful of chapters ago. She also repeatedly asks herself whether something actually happened. Example, she almost gets shot. A few paragraphs later Abbie thinks to herself “Did I really almost just get shot? Like, for real?” No dummy, it was a hallucination. If you can’t be sure of what’s happening to you mere moments after it happened then you are beyond hope.

The plot was what ruined this book for me. It was so dumb. And so predictable. I knew exactly what was going on as soon as we found out the gender of the accomplice within the company. It seems the only people who didn’t know were Kam and Abbie, probably because they were busy screwing.

Final grade, not very good but not offensively bad.

 

the here and now The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Published April 8th, 2014 by Delacorte Press

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository / Books a Million

 

Synopsis:

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Delacorte!

 

This book was a bit boring and not exactly that I expected. Overall, I enjoyed parts of it but a large portion of it made me scratch my head with the WTF. Warning, from here on there will be spoilers.

Characters: I did not like Prenna. She was so boring! She did not do anything really. She acknowledged over and over again “I really shouldn’t do this” only to do it a paragraph later. She was incapable of doing anything for herself and had to be bailed out by people through the entire book. Ethan was okay but he was really just a plot device to save Prenna from her TSTL. The other characters really made no impression on me because they were so pointless.

Plot: This thing had plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon. The premise of it was not bad. Horrible things happen to the world in the future and a plague wipes out most of the world and the survivors go back in time to prevent the bad things from happening….except what they are really doing is just hiding out and doing not much of anything. Boring. Prenna and Ethan also spend most of the book doing nothing. They are on a mission to save the future but then they sit around on the beach and play cards for the majority of the book. Also boring. Now for the plot holes:

– Prenna says that in the future they have no technology to speak of. They don’t use computers, they use paper and pencils. But then…how exactly did they figure out time travel?

– Prenna says that there is no new manufacturing so things like clothes are scavenged from the current time period. Except she says that the downfall of society didn’t happen until twenty years or so before they traveled back in time, which was like 90 years before the current time. So what happened in that 50 years exactly? Were there no new clothes for 90 years even though sciety only fell apart for the last 20 of it?

– This plague is described as dengue fever. The mortality rate for dengue fever is actually pretty low, by catching it early enough and getting proper treatment then you will most likely pull through just fine. It still isn’t pleasant but it is uncommon for it to be deadly. Now, Prenna explains this as the virus mutating into something more deadly. Okay, fine, but isn’t 100 years a bit to quick for that drastic of a mutation. I almost feel like the author spent most of their research time reading stuff like this: http://greenbugallnatural.com/wordpress/infected-mosquitoes-become-more-effective-carriers-of-disease/ Which has a definite “OMG MOSQUITOES ARE COMING!” feel to it.

– Prenna goes on loooooooong rants about how this was all caused by global warming. And I do mean long and boring rants. But then when they actually figure out the answer, it had nothing to do with global warming at all, it was someone from a third alternate future that carried a virus back with him and infected humans…who then infected the mosquitoes, who in turn started the plague. So what the hell did all that global warming garbage have to do with anything at all? Answer, I have no fucking clue and I don’t think the author does either.

This story was not well thought out. For an author as acclaimed as this one, I expected a lot better.

the traitors wifeThe Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki

Published February 11th 2014 by Howard Books

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository / Books a Million

Synopsis:

A riveting historical novel about Peggy Shippen Arnold, the cunning wife of Benedict Arnold and mastermind behind America’s most infamous act of treason . . .

Everyone knows Benedict Arnold—the Revolutionary War general who betrayed America and fled to the British—as history’s most notorious turncoat. Many know Arnold’s co-conspirator, Major John André, who was apprehended with Arnold’s documents in his boots and hanged at the orders of General George Washington. But few know of the integral third character in the plot: a charming young woman who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it.

Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold’s age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as military commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride’s beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John André. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former love and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold.

Told from the perspective of Peggy’s maid, whose faith in the new nation inspires her to intervene in her mistress’s affairs even when it could cost her everything, The Traitor’s Wife brings these infamous figures to life, illuminating the sordid details and the love triangle that nearly destroyed the American fight for freedom.

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, no compensation nor promise of a good review was made. Thank you Howard Books!

Summary:

As much as I wanted to like this book, I just couldn’t get there. It should have been so good. Some parts of it were good but unfortunately the bad outweighed the good much of the time. Everyone knows the story of Benedict Arnold, even if it’s just the basics. It has been speculated that his wife Peggy was a much bigger part of that plot to betray the U.S. than history gave her credit for. So I was very excited to read a story about her part in things and how she orchestrated the entire plot. Spying, betrayal, secrets, and traitors is what I expected. That’s not what I got though.

Plot:

This part of the book was actually very good. The book begins by introducing us to Peggy Shippen, the future Mrs. Peggy Arnold. She is a society girl in Philadelphia whose entire existence revolves around the next big party and whether she’s been invited or not. She has been having a love affiar with a British office, Major John Andre. When the colonialists take over Philadelphia Major Andre is ordered to leave the city. With her main romantic match gone she fakes sympathies with the colonial cause in order to win the affection of the new big dog in town, Major General Benedict Arnold.

Eventually they marry but Peggy is not happy with this new lot in life. Her husband is accused of several crimes, most of which he is guilty of, but he manages to beat the charges with little more than a reprimand. They do not make enough money to occupy the vast estate that Arnold bought for his new bride and are forced to live on her parents’ property. Peggy mentions that she is a personal friend of John Andre, who is looking for colonial spies….and thus our treachery begins.

I liked seeing this side of a story, it was interesting and told from an objective POV, Peggy’s maid Clara.

Characters:

Peggy – I hated Peggy Shippen so much. She is vapid, shallow, selfish, narcissistic, manipulative, and mean spirited. Yet she had men falling all over her all the time, it was maddening. The only thought ever in her head was “How will that benefit me…and do I look pretty enough to do it?” It would have been different if she was subtle in her manipulations, then I could have liked her. But she wasn’t. She actually looked at her suitor one time and says, “if you love me then you’ll learn to walk for me. I don’t want to be married to a cripple.” Yeah, Peggy is about as subtle as a brick to the side of your head.

Clara Bell – Seriously, that’s her name. And EVERYONE insists on calling her by her full name too. I felt like I was watching an episode of Hee Haw. But the character was great. I found her to be observant, delightful, funny, and a great narrator.

Benedict Arnold – I don’t know what to say about this guy. What a pushover! I think Peggy took his cajones away and kept them in her jewelry box. He puts up with outright emotional and verbal abuse and calls it love. She insults him constantly, stokes the fire with his complaints about the colonial army, outright lies, and then puts him in correspondance with her former lover! This guy is a doormat with a capital D.

I have no real thoughts on any of the other main characters since they all seemed very secondary and I didn’t feel any particular emotion about them.

Writing:

This was the biggest problem with this book, the execution. Approximately 40 pages of this is told in flash forwards. We get a brief scene about what will happen on that fateful day that Benedict’s treachery is revealed, and then back to the main story. That’s fine on its own but the problem came at the end of the book when that same 40 pages is repeated again when the store caught up with itself. Either don’t do the flash forwards or don’t repeat it again later, that was massively annoying.

There were also some continuity problems with Peggy’s character. Yes she was petty and selfish and treated people poorly, but as far as the reader was aware she was never physically abusive. Then all of a sudden out of the blue Peggy hits Clara. And Clara goes on and on about how this is typical of her mistress and she’s been fed up with her abuse for years. But, wait, that’s the first time anything like that has happened. And it never happened again. So either it’s a pattern or a one time incident, it can’t be both.

I also felt the story took far too long to get going. I didn’t care about Peggy’s tantrums, I didn’t care about the next party she went to. If the author got rid of the extraneous details this book would have been half the length it is, and would have been a better story for it.

Overall:

This book was decent. I liked parts of it and I disliked parts of it. But ultimately it was my dislike of Peggy’s character that drove the rating down. The ending though was brilliant with Clara taking Peggy to task, I liked that scene a lot.

forever engine The Forever Engine by Frank Chadwick

Published January 7th, 2014 by Baen

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books a Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

London 1888. His Majesty’s airships troll the sky powered by antigrav liftwood. Iron Lords tighten their hold on Britain choked by the fumes of industry. Mars has been colonized. Clockwork assassins stalk European corridors of power. Far to the east, the Old Man of the Mountains plots the end of the world with his Forever Engine.

2018 Jack Fargo, scholar, former American special forces agent in Afghanistan. Aided only by an elderly Scottish physicist, a young British officer of questionable courage, and a beautiful but mysterious spy for the French Commune, Fargo must save the future, the universe, from destruction.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Baen!

I wanted to like this book, really I did. I am far more often reading and liking steampunk, so when I hear the words time travel, steampunk, and Nikola Tesla I was all over this book. But in the end it was just boring.

Time travel is a tricky issue in any book. It can be done well and in certain aspects this was done well. It plays with the idea of infinite universes, that somewhere out there is a universe where the exact opposite of every decision and outcome in this world has taken place. However, time travel can also be used as a crutch to aid lazy writing and suspense building. To a larger extent this book did that too. Toward the end I felt like the time travel aspect was the go-to answer to creating drama and tension. That was annoying.

The characters were very thin and had no real life to them. I had a hard time keeping track of who everybody was because they were largely so interchangeable. Even when we started learning more about Fargo’s past I just felt……confused I guess because it was so out of the blue.And I HATED that the author kept trying to give everyone an Asperger’s diagnosis. First off, you’re a history professor and a former soldier, not a psychologist or psychiatrist so shut up. And second, I don’t get it. These two characters seemed more Obsessive Compulsive to me. And believe me, I am speaking from personal knowledge here. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and my brother is an Aspie. Yes, there are areas where the two things overlap but I didn’t see the Aspie in these two characters at all. I think the author just wanted to use it to force us to see the similarities between the two characters, which didn’t make the ultimate connection he gave them any more realistic.

If the blurb didn’t tell me this was steampunk, I probably wouldn’t have known. There was a few pages in London where we saw steam powered airships, and coal engines, and everyone having to wear goggles out in public. But after that the entire cast of characters were in the middle of the desert with weapons that actually existed in that time and so…..that’s it? That’s my steampunk? Cause that’s a pretty poor effort if it is.

The ending was stupid. I felt like the final climactic finale was very contrived. The most obvious and logical course was discarded as a trick and the most complicated and unlikely to succeed course was taken, more than once. And the ending didn’t seem realistic to me. After 300 pages of Fargo going on and on at length about missing his daughter and being willing to do anything to get back to her, he totally screws over any chance he has of seeing her again and just happily moves on in the other universe without even mentioning her again. Wait, what? And what about his theory that him and Thomson could recreate the device and get him back to his own time anyway? What happened to that? I didn’t like or understand this ending at all.

Overall it wasn’t terrible, there were some enjoyable moments. But I felt the book was much too flawed for me to enjoy it enough that I overlooked the problems.

 

 

 

night harvest Night Harvest by Michael Alexiades

Published September 26th, 2013 by Turner Publishing

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository / Books a Million

 

Synopsis:

A riveting debut thriller from one of New York’s most eminent surgeons, Night Harvest follows the bizarre disappearance of patients from a Manhattan hospital into the murky underground of the city.

Fourth-year medical student Demetri Makropolis has been assigned to cover orthopedics at Eastside Medical Center, one of New York City’s finest hospitals. Just as his surgery team begins to operate on New York’s leading drama critic, F. J. Pervis III, the patient suddenly goes into cardiac arrest. The team fails to resuscitate him, so the corpse is moved to the hospital’s morgue. But before the autopsy is even performed, the body vanishes from the morgue and mysteriously reappears a day later—with the brain surgically removed. Even more disturbing is the medical examiner’s discovery: Pervis was still alive when the ghostly craniotomy was performed.

With their reputation at stake, the hospital assigns NYPD’s Detective Patrick McManus to the case; meanwhile, Demetri learns of an eerily similar century-old unsolved mystery that leads him to an enigmatic figure lurking in the bowels of the medical center. With Pervis as his experiment, the perpetrator initiates a chain reaction of chaos and murder in Manhattan.

A gripping tale filled with ambition, romance, jealousies, and black humor, Night Harvest is a thrilling ride that culminates in the long-abandoned elaborate network of subterranean rooms and corridors that still lie beneath present-day Manhattan.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Turner! Past this point this review contains spoilers.

 

This book was kind of boring. The idea was that this medical student gets involved in the plot of a serial killer when a local celebrity dies on the operating table only to have his body go missing. Then later they find out he wasn’t dead at all and was killed later. Other people go missing, medical student plays detective and we all know how it proceeds from there. I wouldn’t really call this one predictable, because it was just so random. But, I present you the pros and cons of this book.

Pros:

Writing – The writing is not bad. It is adequate for a story of this type, although I felt like it tended to ramble a little too much without really going anywhere. But largely I have no complaints about the writing, it accomplished what it needed to accomplish.

Characters – Again, no complaints but nothing truly spectacular. The characters were decent and not too cookie cutter like. I did really like Demetri and McManus, I would have preferred that the POV was strictly kept between the two of them. The other characters I didn’t really care much about either good or bad. They were just set pieces for the greater story.

 

Cons:

The Bad Guy – This was just weird. He kills because he has found the secret to immortality, but then he alternately kills other people and rapes them just because. He seemingly has no preference for male or female victims to rape, not even seems to care if they are alive or not at the time. This is so out of synch with everything that makes a sexual predator what they are, they have very specific preferences. It just, I don’t know. Oh yeah and did I mention that he is supposedly like 100 years old? Weird.

POV Jumping – We spent time with at least 6-7 different characters and we seemed to jump between them every 2-3 pages. It was so confusing. I still don’t think I know who half of the characters are and how they related to the story. And it seemed like the author wanted to give every character a back story, so it is just a long line of one page of plot and one page of backstory then on to a new character. I found that I learned absolutely nothing about any of the characters as a result.

Plot – Meandering and aimless. I wasn’t sure what the actual point was except to just set us up for a sequel at the very end. Nothing really was accomplished. And I found that I cared less than I should.

Overall it was not a bad book but it was not very well executed. It needed a lot more work before being put on the market to really tighten up the story and characters. So I would rate it as slightly less than average.

Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

cobweb brideCobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

Published: July 1th, 2013 by Norilana Books

Buy this book at: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Books A Million / Book Depository

Synopsis:

Many are called…
She alone can save the world and become Death’s bride.

Cobweb Bride is a history-flavored fantasy novel with romantic elements of the Persephone myth, about Death’s ultimatum to the world.

What if you killed someone and then fell in love with them?

In an alternate Renaissance world, somewhere in an imaginary “pocket” of Europe called the Kingdom of Lethe, Death comes, in the form of a grim Spaniard, to claim his Bride. Until she is found, in a single time-stopping moment all dying stops. There is no relief for the mortally wounded and the terminally ill….

Covered in white cobwebs of a thousand snow spiders she lies in the darkness… Her skin is cold as snow… Her eyes frozen… Her gaze, fiercely alive…

While kings and emperors send expeditions to search for a suitable Bride for Death, armies of the undead wage an endless war… A black knight roams the forest at the command of his undead father … Spies and political treacheries abound at the imperial Silver Court…. Murdered lovers find themselves locked in the realm of the living…

Look closer — through the cobweb filaments of her hair and along each strand shine stars…

And one small village girl, Percy—an unwanted, ungainly middle daughter—is faced with the responsibility of granting her dying grandmother the desperate release she needs.

As a result, Percy joins the crowds of other young women of the land in a desperate quest to Death’s own mysterious holding in the deepest forests of the North…

And everyone is trying to stop her.

Rating: 2 star

Review:

I received a free copy of this book by the publisher in order for an honest review.

I have literally no idea what to make of this book. It just….I don’t know. The idea behind it was just so interesting and intriguing. I read the synopsis and thought, wow this sounds so good. And it just wasn’t. It had its good points to be sure, which is why I gave it two stars but at the end I was just left shaking my head and wondering what the hell was going on.  Be warned, BEYOND THIS POINT THERE BE SPOILERS!!

The characters in this book were really good. I fell in love with them and wanted to hear more about them.  Well, okay, most of them. Some of the characters seemed completely useless but most of the main ones were good ones. Percy was fun, though I think she was trying too hard to be philosophical and that got old after awhile. Grial was funny and amusing so I liked having her around and frankly I thought she was around for much too short a time. Beltain was alright but he struck me as a complete wuss. He caved in to his father, he caved in to the Princess, he caved in to Percy…this man is an expert flip flopper. And most of the other characters were so vacant that I hardly noticed or cared that they were there.

I was really pissed off by the only romantic angle in this book. So basically the Princess (Claere) is stabbed to death by a Duke who believes that his family has been hard done by her father. But she can’t die because Death is no longer taking souls. So she talks to him and takes him with her on her journey to Death’s castle and…..falls in love with him. Dear God seriously? This goes so beyond the YA addiction to showing abusive love relationships. This is violent from before they ever even talk!? He killed her for the love of God! I was so angry about this I couldn’t even speak. I predicted that it would happen and it pissed me off when it did.

I was thoroughly confused about many aspects of this book and frankly, I still am puzzled. It makes no logical sense at all. For example, Death shows up and says that he is not taking souls anymore until they find his Cobweb Bride and brings her to his keep. So I tried to think why everyone in the world wouldn’t just say, alright fine we’ll just live forever then. Apparently the author wondered this too so decided to force the world’s hand by making animals unable to be slaughtered or cooked…which makes sense because animals have living souls. But then also says that plants can’t be cooked….um why? Do plants have souls in this book too? That was never addressed. And there are plenty of plants and vegetables that don’t need to be cooked to be eaten so why are we not eating those instead? And even if you couldn’t eat why would the world still not just say screw off we’ll live forever? I don’t understand this at all.

But then it gets even more confusing when they arrive at Death’s keep. Death says that he can’t keep taking souls because every time he takes a soul he gives them a part of himself and then when they die that part comes back to him. But this woman, his Cobweb Bride, was supposed to die and he gave a piece of himself to her and then she didn’t die. Which rendered him incapable of taking souls until she returns that piece of him. So, if he is incapable of taking souls then why did he say that he was CHOOSING not to take souls? Which is it? I still don’t know. But then he manages to give a piece of himself to Percy so that she has some of his powers and can go find his Bride and bring her back…and somehow that means she can take souls. How? If Death isn’t capable of taking souls then how can he give that ability to Percy? Or if Death really was choosing not to take souls then why would he give that ability to Percy and why would he say that it was because he couldn’t?

I am just so confused by this book. I wanted to like it, I did like certain parts of it, and the rest just confused me. I won’t be reading any more of this trilogy, even if I was promised to get some answers.

sex workers uniteSex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to Slutwalk by Melinda Chateauvert

Expected publication January 7th, 2014 by Beacon Press

Pre-order this book at: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository / Books A Million

Synopsis:

A provocative history that reveals how sex workers have been at the vanguard of social justice movements for the past fifty years while building a movement of their own that challenges our ideas about labor, sexuality, feminism, and freedom

Fifty countries treat sex work as a legitimate job, and it has been legalized (with restrictions) in eleven others. The United States is one of the few industrialized nations that continues to criminalize prostitution and, as Melinda Chateauvert reveals, these laws have put sex workers at risk. Documenting five decades of sex-worker activism, Sex Workers Unite puts prostitutes, hustlers, call girls, strippers, and porn stars in the center of civil rights struggles. Although their presence has largely been ignored, sex workers have here been recast as key activists in struggles for gay liberation, women’s rights, reproductive justice, union organizing, and prison abolition. By foregrounding labor, Chateauvert reframes sex work as work and argues that sex-worker rights are ultimately human rights.

Rating: 2 star

Review:

I gave this book my very best, I went into it with the most open of open minds, and I just didn’t like it at all. Now, let me explain a little about myself here. I believe that prostitution and sex trade work will exist no matter how illegal we try and make it. It always has existed and it always will as long as there are people willing to pay for sex. I believe that a lot would be accomplished by legalizing prostitution. It would allow workers to be law abiding citizens again, taxes would be collected for the work, mandatory STD testing and condom use can be enforced, and prostitutes can work in safe environments with pre-screen clients and panic buttons and security on site. These are all great things that I think would be accomplished by legalizing prostitution.  So with that in mind, this book should have been right up my alley.

The material in this book wasn’t necessarily bad. In fact i found a lot of what was presented interesting. I just couldn’t stand how it was presented. It felt like I was reading a dissertation about the tax code. It was so bland and dry and boring. Nothing about the writing captured my attention. It was fact, explanation, opinion, fact, fact, fact, explanation, opinion. There was nothing to make me want to keep reading no matter how interesting the actual material was. I nearly fell asleep and drooled on my Nook a few times during this book!

The book came across as preachy and prejudiced. Very early in the book I ran across this ‘….exploited by savage (read: black) pimps’  Um, so you as the author assume that I assumed savage pimps meant they were black. Nice job assuming that your audience and society at large is racist. And this didn’t just happen once, it happened at least once every 3 pages. It annoyed me a lot. The writer used the word “queer” more times that I cared to count. Supposedly this was being written with the mind of being an advocate for the sex worker’s community, which means a decent percentage of them are part of the LGBTQ community. I’m fairly certain that using the term “queer” is offensive, so stop using it. I can sum up this book in one sentence….”blah blah blah, prostitutes are great, blah blah blah, everyone is a bigot, blah blah blah, you bigot!, blah blah blah, everyone is a hooker, blah blah blah, you bigots!” That’s how I felt when reading this.

I also fell off course with the author on several other points. 1. The author states several times that all woman are prostitutes, some are just smart enough to hook for money instead of a ring, love, marriage, or whatever else. Yeah, that’s not offensive and off-putting at all. 2. The author doesn’t seem to believe that it’s possible for people to be trafficked into the sex trade or people cannot be coerced into prostitution. That bothers me for way more reasons than I care to enumerate. But I’ll leave you with this quote: “the FBI arrests sex workers as trafficked and claim their associates held them in sexual slavery.”

Also, I sincerely hope this gets a really good editing before it’s released. The grammar and spelling were absolutely atrocious. The punctuation was worse. I could barely understand what the book was trying to say. So if this get a good editing it will be fine, but if it’s released as is then dear God.

 

I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher, no guarantees or promises were made in exchange.

daysatancalledThe Day Satan Called by Bill Scott

Published October 11th, 2011 by FaithWords

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books A Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

THE DAY SATAN CALLED is Bill Scott’s account of an excruciating 18-month period in his life. Out of Christian love he and his wife invited a young lady who was demon possessed and the member of an active satanic network into their home. They prayed the sinner’s prayer with her and believed that they could help redeem someone who had witnessed and experienced unimaginable rituals and abuses.
What happened instead were death threats and the loss of their home as a sanctuary. Voices. Threats. Objects falling and moving. Strange visitors and callers. A loving church falling into turmoil. And yes the voice of Satan. Every day was filled with the dread of nightfall. Once you’ve invited someone filled with demons that aren’t leaving her into your home what do you next? Where do you send her? How do you protect yourself and your family? What do you do after she’s finally gone but the demons haven’t left?
This is the account of a terrifying and incredible phenomenon. But ultimately, it is a testament to the power of God’s love, even over evil spirits.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

Ask anyone who knows me (including my husband) and they will tell you that I am an incredibly open minded person when it comes to the paranormal and supernatural.  I’ve always been that way but it really came home when I became a practicing Pagan over 10 years ago. But there is just one thing that I didn’t believe in as a practicing Christian or as a Pagan, Satan and demons. To me, it makes no sense in the context of Christian beliefs. God is perfect, therefore God cannot contradict himself/herself/itself. God is also all-loving and all-forgiving…but is ready to condemn billions of souls to eternal torment at the hands of Satan and his minions for not following the rules. Is it just me or does that sound like a contradiction? So, one of those things cannot be true. Either God is not perfect, not all-loving and forgiving, or there is no devil. Can’t have it both ways. I have always viewed Satan and demons as convenient inventions of the Christian establishment to scare people into behaving themselves. Yet, in spite of this belief, I was willing to be open minded about this book. And good heavens was it painful!

This book just wasn’t very good. It centers around Christian radio host Bill Scott, telling a story that happened over 20 years ago in the mid 80’s. A week before Halloween he received a phone call from a 16 year old girl named Lacey who claimed to be a prisoner of a Satanic coven and was going to be sacrificed on Halloween. She also claimed to be demon possessed. Bill talks to her for two days and then she asks him to meet her at this church in person and thus begins a year and a half long saga of trying to help this girl, who actually is a 30 something year old woman named Roxanne, apparently Lacey is one of her demons.  Let’s break this book down by good points and bad points.

Good:

1. For once the demons aren’t possessing good, faithful Christian folks. I have always posed this question to Christians who believe in demon possession, why do demons only seem interested in faithful Christians?  Surely there must be easier targets! The only answer I’ve ever gotten was that non Christians were already going to hell and so their soul was already in jeopardy, okay then whatever. But here we have a natural target for a demon, a Satanic witch who willingly invited the demons to possess her. Great!

2. Three words: Demon of Nicotine. No I’m not kidding. This made me laugh so hard! And guess what accompanies his arrival….the smell of cigarette smoke. Oh no, the giggles are coming back. This alone made me give this 2 stars instead of 1 because it was just so funny. Too bad he was trying to be serious, this would have been a great comedy.

 

Bad:

1. Signals that what you’re hearing is a bullshit story: 16 year old claims to be part of a Satanic coven and has no birth certificate to prove she ever existed. Somehow she is being held prisoner against her will but has constant access to a phone for over 48 hours and can leave the coven at any time to meet you. Another “witch” shows up to tell you that she’s been sent there to kill the 16 year old girl except…she is the same person as the 16 year old girl who never existed.

2. The author actually used this sentence, “taking home a member of the opposite sex was threatening to my wife”. Uh, I think I have a clue why your marriage didn’t go so great Bill. Maybe because you announced to your wife that without discussing it with her you were bringing home a woman who claimed to be possessed by demons, a high priestess of Satan, has participated in human sacrifice…and you insist that she’s threatening because it’s a woman. God, how condescending.

3. The book also says of itself, “The lines seemed to be coming from a bad script or a bad movie”. Yes, I agree, a very bad movie indeed.

4. There is absolutely no logic in this book at all. He invites a demon possessed woman into his house then seems stunned when a demon tells him that he was invited into his house. Um, duh! He believes that the key to defeating the demons is destroying Roxanne’s old Satanic items, commands a demon to bring the jewelry to him, is stunned to find it in his garage when he gets home.  But then he’s also equally stunned that destroying it doesn’t get rid of the demons. WHY WOULD THE DEMONS BRING YOU THE KEY TO THEIR DESTRUCTION!?

5. The author is clearly trying to convert people to Christianity, despite the fact that he claims Roxanna was a catalyst in dozens of divorces, churches falling apart, and didn’t actually manage to cure her of her demon affliction. There’s a whole chapter at the end about how to keep yourself rid of demons and living a God centered life.

6.  Everything goes Bill’s way as soon as he prays to God or Jesus. He claims that this whole period was horrific for him, but in every example in the book he prays and gets what he’s asking for. Doesn’t seem so hard to me.

7. Any and all evidence or supporting statements that Bill might have had to prove he’s not full of shit don’t exist anymore. He had recordings of the phone calls from the demons, he destroyed them. Roxanne must exist because she was able to get an apartment and numerous other people were in contact with her…all of them have been silent thus far.

8. Bill admits several times that he thinks Roxanne is mentally ill yet never once does he go to a psychiatrist or doctor for help. He self diagnoses her as Multiple Personalities and uses that as his reasoning for why the demons don’t go away, one or more of her personalities must be allowing the demons back in. The only time a mental health professional gets involved they are too scared to continue working with her….yeah because that happens all the time. Mental health professionals aren’t accustomed at all to dealing with unstable people. *insert massive eye roll here*

9. The book shows absolutely zero understanding whatsoever about what witchcraft or Satanism are. Witches do not believe in Satan, they do not believe in demons, they do not believe in hell. The first tenet of witchcraft is “and if it harm none, do what ye will.” So this rules out that witches are killing and eating babies or asking demons to possess them. I should know, I’ve been a practicing witch for over a decade. And I’m not one of those “new age, Wiccans” unlike what Bill Scott believes. Satanism is the same, I’ve never ascribed to Satanism but I’ve known a lot of people who do. Satanists don’t believe that Satan or demons exist either. They view Satan as symbolic for self indulgence, living in the now, absolute truth not filtered through dogma, kindness to deserving people not all mankind, vengeance not turning the other cheek, and that man is just an animal like any other. So Satanists do not worship Satan, they live the tenets of what Satan represents. And so a Satanist would not be harmed or frightened by Christian symbols because they view the Christian church as ridiculous nonsense that inhibits one’s life for no reason. Even the littlest understanding of witchcraft or Satanism immediately turns this book into nothing but fiction.

Okay, I’ve ranted and raved about this enough here. End note this book was laughable in its ignorance. But ultimately I was amused by how utterly cliche it was.

 

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

magisteriumMagisterium by Jeff Hirsch

Published October 1st, 2012 by Scholastic Books

Buy this book at: Books A Million / Book Depository / Amazon / B&N

 

Synopsis:

On one side of the Rift is a technological paradise without famine or want. On the other side is a mystery.

Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn’s only friend, Kevin, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft, but magic isn’t for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn’s mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father’s work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send Glenn and Kevin on the run—with only one place to go.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

This book was sooooooooo boring.  I really don’t have much to say about it, so this review should be short.  Admittedly, the book started off well.  I initially quite liked heroine Glenn, until I got to know her a little.  I liked her ambition and her dreams of a better future.  But I quickly realized that her “dreams” were nothing more than an excuse not to deal with her present.  That annoyed me. Yes, she has a father who has been distant since her mother’s disappearance but she seemed to make no effort to get him help or change the situation.  She just went along and then thought of the day she could escape.

Once we start to learn more about the Magisterium, I was hoping that the book would take an exciting turn.  I mean, what could be more exciting than being chased by the bad guys into a land that you never thought existed, only to discover that things aren’t much better over there either.  It sounds exciting, but it wasn’t.  Glenn made EVERYTHING boring and dull.  Her narration almost put me to sleep.  She seemed to have no feeling about anything that she encountered.  And the situations she was thrust into weren’t all that exciting to begin with.

Along with being dull and boring, it was also painfully predictable.  I knew about 100 pages before they told me what happened to Glenn’s mother. I knew how it would end about the time they crossed into Magisterium.  All I can say for this book is that it was a fantastic idea but never quite lived up to its potential.  And there was no insta-love or love triangles.  But beyond that, there was nothing redeeming about it either.