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Creepy and Heavy

The Bird Eater - Ania Ahlborn

This was quite an interesting read to say the least. If you are looking for creepy, then just like the cover implies, you get creepy.

 

Positives:

 

-Easy read. I read this within a 48 hour period, even while juggling a couple of other books. The pages just flew by.

 

-Vivid.  The fact that the pages just flew by is a testament of how well the story was told. It read just as a movie might. I really could visualize the entire story as well as the characters within.

 

-It sucked me in. Once I started this read, I just didn't want to put it down. I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next.

 

 

Negatives:

 

-It was heavy.  I did anticipate that this story would be dark but I did't realize how dark. As the book progresses is gets darker and darker.

 

-It was depressing.  It seems that all of the characters never seem to get a break. Even when reading dark novels, I do hope to see someone, even if just one person, conquer evil. Not here. Not by a long shot.

 

-It left me feeling yucky.  Toward the last few pages I just wanted it to end. Not because it wasn't a good book or that it wasn't written well, no, because I couldn't bear anymore negativity. I know that horror is horror, but books such as "It" or any other horror novel, there is a sense of some excitement or fun. No fun here what-so-ever. You have to prepare yourself for this type of read, or at least I do.

 

So all-in-all, it was a very well written and engaging book. I am a bit torn because I was sucked in but I was left feeling drained...completely drained. If you are looking for a truly dark read then this is the one for you. I liked this book but I don't think that I was quite prepared by how heavy it was.

The Frozen Dead

The Frozen Dead - Bernard Minier I have not been able to find a really good mystery thriller in quite sometime, so it was quite a pleasure to come across this book.

The story is mostly based around the life of Commandant Servez, a Toulouse city cop, who is investigating not only the murders of two men, but a very expensive horse as well. These crimes were heinous in nature and it seems to be of no coincidence that they are all happening in close proximity to the local asylum that houses some of the most dangerous criminally ill inmates that the prisons wouldn

Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town

Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town - Beth Macy What sparked my interest in this book was a number of things. One being that I lived in Martinsville Virginia for a few years (around where the story takes place) and that I have a fascination of how so many American companies choose cheap furniture made oversees in order to fill their pockets full of more money. I just can't imagine putting my name on something of such low quality just to have that extra summer home that I would only visit once in a while.

I had no idea, shame on me, that John Bassett III of Bassett Furniture Company took on China... and won! I, for probably the first time, was proud to say that I once lived in an area where a company actually cared about saving hundreds of jobs and keeping the quality that the furniture deserves.

What impressed me most about John Bassett III was that doing something this daring comes at a cost. Since so many companies are offshoring their businesses, this made many of his colleagues and competitors very angry. Not only that, but he lost a lot of business due to companies not carrying his furniture because of this. It was so refreshing to see someone not give into the pressures of others and sacrifice his own money for the welfare of his employees.

Bravo to the author for her great research and a definite bravo for John Bassett III. Stories such as these are rare, but I hope that he has laid down a foundation for other companies to come.

The End of Eve: A Memoir

The End of Eve: A Memoir - Ariel Gore It

The Girl with All the Gifts

The Girl with All the Gifts - M.R. Carey Buddy Read with the lovely Anasylvia :)

I must admit that I went into this read blind...completely blind. I had no earthly idea what it was about but I noticed the high ratings and I was a bit intrigued by the title. Had I known the genre, I would have avoided it at all costs and that may be the reason why the synopsis is slowly revealed throughout the book.

I absolutely loved the build up of the story and throughout most of the book, I wanted to know what would be revealed next. I found this book to be intense and exciting and also endearing. And because the author made a huge effort to slowly reveal the storyline, I am choosing to avoid all spoilers as I think that everyone should go into this one as I did.

I really enjoyed the medical and scientific aspect that is presented in this clever and original novel. Having worked in the OR myself, I found it so exciting and refreshing to read about the human anatomy and physiology in such a way that was creative and thought provoking. What I appreciated most is how highly researched the way the body ticks is as well as the microbiological/biochemical components and how they were explained and presented in a very specific way rather than in vague terms. I appreciate authors who treat the reader as though they are smart enough to 'get it'...because we are...thank you author. I like a book that makes me use my brain and doesn't vaguely explain things or over specify as if the reader were dumb.

I loved this book immensely and it is one of my favorites for 2014 and quite possibly my very favorite. So, what's this book about? Read it and find out...you'll be glad you went in blindly because the author did a fantastic job of revealing just enough as the story progressed. It doesn't disappoint.

Jane Austen's First Love

Jane Austen's First Love - Syrie James 4.5 Stars

I haven't read that many "romance" novels as of late, but it was so refreshing to read this historical fiction of Jane Austen and her first love, Edward Taylor. With Austen's love of life and adventurous side, this book wasn't smothered in romance but quirky and fun in addition to the excitement of courtship in the late 1700's.

This novel was written very well and although I received this book through Netgalley, I will more than likely buy the audiobook just to get swept away again with those lovely British accents of this time period. I highly recommend this book, especially for those who love Jane Austen novels.

The Martian

The Martian - Andy Weir Great book! Review to follow :)

The Fracking King: A Novel

The Fracking King: A Novel - James Browning I am honest when I say that I am a bit torn with this book review. I have seen other reviews that weren't so pleasant and I don't think that this book was horrible at all...I have read bad books and they didn't keep my interest in the least, unlike this one.

Basically this book is about a teenager, Winston Crwth (rhymes with truth), who is attending a boarding school on a scholarship provided to him by a gas company that is responsible for local hydraulic fracturing also known as "fracking". Luckily I knew what fracking was, otherwise, I would think that it could be a bit confusing as it isn't entirely explained in this book. Maybe that is why I didn't understand the very low ratings and reviews. I am sure that this book could be a bit confusing without some prior knowledge of fracking and its consequences on someone's health when the chemicals released from fracking mix in with the local water supply.

In some ways, Winston reminded me a little of Holden Caufield from "The Catcher in the Rye" but I am not entirely sure why. Maybe it was the whole coming-of-age and trying to fit in although he wasn't cocky like Caufield and definitely wasn't sure of himself.

This story was great in how it was able to grab my interest and hold it until the end. I will admit that at times during the end I didn't know really what direction this story was headed toward or the message that it was conveying. Was it about fracking, anti-fracking, or about a kid trying to find his voice? I don't know and I can see how that can be frustrating for readers. Although in the end I am still not sure where the book was heading or its seemingly arbitrary message (although I am pretty sure it isn't meant to appear arbitrary), and I didn't find the other character's in the book to be very developed, I found it interesting enough to really not care. I felt mainly like I was learning about Winston and following him through his journey of ups and downs.

Winston is consumed with Scrabble and has been playing it since he was about 4-years-old. He sees everything in terms of tiles and scrabble boards. He cannot even read an article without first viewing it as he would a Scrabble board. I found this important in Winston's development in the story but it did become a bit redundant to me in various parts of the story and this was my personal hangup but it was minor really.

I would recommend this book if only to be curious of various opinions and to help me piece it together, but if you do and don't know much about fracking, then I would highly recommend polishing up on this term. I actually would recommend getting to understand this term regardless of whether you choose to read this book or not!

The Day She Died

The Day She Died - Catriona McPherson 3.5 Stars

Jessie Constable is in her 30's, childless, loveless, and has a mother who is completely off her rocker and pretty much evil. Due to experiences in her past she has Pteronophobia, a fear of feathers. Yes, a fear of feathers. She happens to be somewhat minding her own business one afternoon at the grocery store, well no, she went out of her way to spy on a guy that she has crossed paths with a few times here and there. He confesses to her that his wife, Becky, has left him, and once Jessie offers to buy some items for the daughter by his side, he suddenly realizes that his son may be left alone at his house and he urgently needs a ride.

Being the ever desperate helpful person that she is, Jessie piles them in her car and she is really taken for a ride herself. They soon learn that his wife ran her car off of the road in an apparent suicide and she somehow takes over the role of being a care-giver for his children.

Okay, I was torn with this book. There were so many reasons why I enjoyed this read and so many reasons why I thought the main character was a bit naive perhaps, but I did like her. For instance, she just takes off with this guy (Gus King) and his daughter and although he acts bizarre and very rude at times toward her, she puts up with it and starts taking over the role of the children's mother, yes, the one who just died. His wife just died and he starts coming on to Jessie and I just can't understand why she didn't find that odd in the beginning. So many strange and quite suspicious scenarios surround her and yet she convinces herself that it isn't what it seems and is always making excuses for him. I feel that if you just met someone and don't know them, these suspensions would be huge red flags and a reason to get out of there, but when she overlooks them or falls for a man who yells at her quite a bit, it comes across as Jessie is desperate and has no self-respect.

Jessie does, however, have a likability to her and therefore I kept reading. The novel is very well-written and contains the level of suspense that keeps you hanging on for more. I feel that this book is very original in every sense of the word and the various subplots weave together effortlessly.

I would recommend this one for those of you who enjoy suspense and a well constructed novel. Although I struggled and shouted at the main character when she would do things to disappoint me, it only made me realize that I was completely invested in her story.

I received this book from Netgalley.

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr It has been awhile since I have found a book that I wanted to read slowly so that I could soak in every detail in hopes that the last page seems to never come.

When reading the synopsis of this novel, I never imagined that I would feel so connected to a book where one of the main characters is blind and the other a brilliant young German orphan who was chosen to attend a brutal military academy under Hitler's power using his innate engineering skills.

This novel was so much more than the above states. The idiosyncrasies of each individual character is so well defined and expressed in such ways that come across the page almost lyrically. I was invited into the pages and could not only imagine the atmosphere, but all of my senses were collectively enticed from the very first page until the last.

I was so amazed with the way that the author was able to heighten all my senses in a way that I felt like I knew what it was like to be blind. In most well-written books you get of a sense of what the characters look like and follow them throughout the book almost as if you are on a voyage, but with this novel, I could imagine what it was like to be in Marie-Laure's shoes. The descriptives were so beautifully intricate that I could imagine the atmosphere through touch and sound. It was amazing, really.

There were so many different aspects of the book that are lived out in separate moments and in different countries that find a way to unite in the end. What impressed me most was that I could have never predicted the outcome. It was as though all cliches were off the table and real life was set in motion. Life outside of books can be very messy and the author stayed true to life but in a magical and symbolic way.

I have said in other reviews that just when I think that I have read my last book centered around the Second World War, another seems to pop up. I should emphasize that this book created an image of war in a way that I have never imagined before. I truly got a sense of what it must have been like for children who lived a happy life and then suddenly were on curfew and barely had food to eat. It also showed the side of young children who are basically brainwashed by Nazi leaders and made into animals who seem to make choices that they normally wouldn't in order to survive. And by survive, I mean dodging severe abuse by their own colleagues.

This book may haunt me for some time. I can't express enough how beautifully written the pages are. I highly recommend this read as it is my favorite so far for 2014.

I received this book through NetGalley

Torn Away

Torn Away - Jennifer Brown Jersey's life is flipped upside down, literally, when a massive tornado rips the foundation of her family home in more ways than one. She is left to find a new path in life and with the support (or lack thereof) from complete strangers who happen to be related to her. In this journey, Jersey comes to terms with her life and the role that she has played in it, and before it is all over, she is then introduced to the other side of her family, still strangers to her, and it is there that she makes a huge transition and learns to accept the life that she has been dealt as well as learning to forgive.

I found this book to be very engrossing and definitely worth reading if only to get a realistic glimpse at what life is like in the aftermath of a massive tornado, long after the news cameras stop rolling.

The Unwitting

The Unwitting - Ellen Feldman The very first pages drew me completely in the book, but almost immediately after, I slowly lost that eagerness. I don't know if I was wanting to find out much sooner what happened to the MC's husband, Charlie, but it just seemed to get a bit wordy and I didn't know what direction the story was going in because it seemed to jump around a bit in the beginning. It soon grabbed my attention again only for the same to happen and it just seemed like a cycle throughout the book.

I liked the book, don't get me wrong, I think by the first couple of pages that I had expectations that were probably too high. It's quite an intriguing story that dwells quite a lot on politics in the 60's and I always like walking away from a book feeling a bit smarter. I do plan to maybe read this one again in the case that I went in with the wrong mindset and if so then my review will be a lot less vague.

I do recommend this book, especially those interested in books that involve politics and how communism played a role in America and the Cold War.

The Hiltons: The True Story of an American Dynasty

The Hiltons: The True Story of an American Dynasty - J. Randy Taraborrelli Much thanks to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing/the author for allowing me an advanced copy.

I didn

Deadliest of Sins: A Novel of Suspense

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The Shadow Queen: A Novel

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I will admit that I don

The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense

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