Book Review

Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll By Thomas Kingsley Troupe | ARC Review

Hey Guys! It is Max here and I will be reviewing a book christened Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll By Kingsley Troupe today. I received this book via NetGalley and I am so grateful that the publisher- Jolly Fish Press, accepted my request to attain an eARC for this novel. So, before we dive into the review, I shall equip you with the genre, release date and the page count of the novel:

Genre: Middle-Grade; Horror

Page Count: 136

Release Date: September 1st 2019

So, without further ado, let us enter the realm of the review for this novel.

Disclaimer:

  • All thoughts and opinions are on my own and,
  • The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!

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Synopsis:

Alejandro Padilla isn’t superstitious and he doesn’t believe the stories that an old sailor doll in a Key West, Florida, the museum is haunted. Robert the Doll might look creepy, but that doesn’t mean the doll is cursed. So Al ignores the tour guide’s warning to ask Robert’s permission before taking the doll’s photograph. But it isn’t long after Al’s field trip to the museum that strange things start happening. Al is quick to dismiss the odd occurrences as coincidence and bad luck . . . that is until they become more frequent and more sinister. Is the doll tormenting Al? And if so, what will Al have to do to get him to stop? 

Every state has its own spine-tingling stories of ghosts and mysterious hauntings grounded in its regional history. The Haunted States of America series uses real-life ghost lore as jumping-off points to new, chilling tales. An author’s note provides historical origins and fascinating facts, but beware: sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.

My Introspections:

Although this is a middle-grade novel which I am slowly detaching from due to a constant change in my reading preference over the years, I was- surprisingly- able to fully immerse myself into this book and to take pleasure from the experience because of the atmosphere and the horror aspects that are enmeshed in the novel. In addition, I enjoyed the pacing and the style of writing entangled in this novel. Without those aspects, I would probably dislike the novel and I did not particularly like certain segments of the novel but we will converse on that later on.

“Robert thinks it’s rude to take his picture without asking. We’ve heard about the things that have happened to people who don’t follow the rule, and . . . they’re not good.” 

In this 136 pages novel, the pacing was adroitly composed. In the first chapter, we learn about a school trip to a museum that holds a doll that has a spirit imbued into it. Our main character named Alejandro Padilla travels with the school to the museum to visit this enigmatic doll. He snubs the rules and regulations surrounding the doll and snaps a picture of it, supplementing with insults to fuel the spirit’s seething disturbances. Therein, eerie instances start to occur. The story itself made me flip page after page until I reach the end because of how compelling the writing style was. OH! I almost forgot, there are gorgeous illustrations which expedite the pacing of the novel and keep readers invested in the story. 

“His breath rushed out of him like a balloon releasing all of its air in one sputtering gust.”

The atmosphere that enwreathes around this novel is thick and slick with suspense because with each sequence accentuating the scope of reality that the background story of the doll is real, the protagonist becomes more frantic and the readers of the novel continue to be encapsulated by the character’s distress and troubles. I definitely felt the atmosphere when I read the book because of, again, the writing style and the character’s decisions and to add on further is his intuition. Everything just coils around the theoretical box of the story conscientiously.

“Al managed a fake laugh that felt foreign coming out of his mouth. Nothing that had happened to him in the past day was funny, but he wanted to make it seem like nothing was bothering him.”

The style of writing for this novel which I had been gushing about for the prior three sentences finally make an appearance in this review. I enjoyed the panorama view on how Alejandro Padilla– the main character was handling the issue at hand since he does not believe in anything paranormal and uncanny that will provoke goosebumps to roam around the surface of your epidermis. For example, the quote above suggests that he is slowly sinking into madness due to the recent activities. The author provides us with a writing style that could easily be embedded in our brain and I relished on the way he hones the power to craft such intricate details of the novel.

“And end up on the “wall of shame” with all of the other dummies who believe in this supernatural garbage? Al thought. No way!”

However, several aspects of the novel that I did not savour were some of the horror scenes. Some of the scenes or rather, commotions were mildly run through without the character lingering in the situation to show his inner turmoil. Moreover, there were various horrifying scenes which I felt that they were a little too relaxed for the character. For example, a hand pops out from his locker and he, definitely, is shocked for a moment but the moment is quickly replaced by interruptions from his friends or acquaintances or family and nothing happens after those sequences. I was disheartened as I thought the petrifying uproars will last longer but it did not. 

“But when you see him in real life, you’ll see what all the fuss is about.”

Moreover, I thought the characters and family aspects of the story could be ameliorated as I came out of the story kenning the plot but not the characters and the protagonist’s family background. For example, the main character’s mother is not present in the story and I would love to know more about their family history and how it was waxed to be in this way. To be honest, I was waiting for the mother’s appearance but her presence was not adjacent in this novel. In addition, I cannot grasp the characters’ personalities as they were all very generic in my eyes and without their personalities, I cannot understand why they implemented various actions sometimes. 

In conclusion, I am furnishing this novel with a grading of C (60%). I did actually enjoy myself while reading this book but it could not appoint it with a higher rating due to the segments that I did not expressly fancy. Thus, the rating.


This is the end of my spoiler-free review for Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll By Thomas Kingsley Troupe! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

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Book Review · Masochist

The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner By Stephenie Meyer | Book Review

Hey Guys! It is Max here and lately, I inaugurated a series denominated as Masochist and in the very first article that I had composed for this fastidious series, I appended a table of books on my shelves that have low ratings on Goodreads and the book that I will be fractionating today had desisted on that list. The novel is none other than The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner By Stephenie Meyer who had written the Twilight Series, The Host and The Chemist.

Just to recapitulate what I had constituted in the last article, the statistics for this novel will be written below. This way, it will be more insouciant for us to distinguish what others had elucidated on this book and what I have to say about this book: 

Current rating: 3.5 stars

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Page Count: 178 pages

The number of people who rated this novel: 168,408

So, without further ado, let us get into the book review!

Disclaimer:

  • All thoughts and opinions are on my own and,
  • The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!

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Synopsis:

Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes, and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood…life before she became a vampire.

All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has few certainties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don’t draw attention to yourself, and above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn’t know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.

Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they only know as her. As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth?

My Introspection:

We shall commence with this review by stating on the scene that had transpired in the movie- Eclipse and to forge a contrast with the homogeneous scene that had occurred in the book. Honestly, the movie version of Bree’s persecution was remarkably desolating due to the outstanding performance of the actress who acted as Bree. In the movie, her inclination towards death was flaunted whereas, in the book, she embraced her death as if it was no big deal which also implored that she did not scream or cry or be afraid of the stages that will be taken place. Extra information: She is only 15 years old and her second life just originated. Clearly, it made no sense whatsoever because who would not be scared of getting persecuted- in this case, burned vigorously, innocently? Therefore, it concluded that I fancied the movie version of her death more than the cessation of her life scene in the book.

“I struggled to calm myself and shut my eyes again. There were things they didn’t want me to hear, either. I could live with that- if it meant I could live.” (pg. 155) 

The style of writing was, ditto, not pre-eminent as of the rest of the Twilight series. I do not apprehend on how to meticulously pinpoint whether or not the writing was imperceptibly better in this novella than the rest of the books in the series because I examined that the writing was more concentrated and rigorous in the first half of the novel and the next just exerted a nosedive. For example, the quote above noted that she wanted to live instead of dying. However, when you sedulously scrutinize the previous sentences, she transcribed that she craved to die due to the immense amount of pain that she tolerated from her dead one-day boyfriend. In addition, there is a paragraph in the novel that I could not believe it had accepted to be published:

“I turned off my brain. It was time to hunt. I took a deep breath, drawing in the scent of the blood inside the human below. They weren’t the only humans around, but they were the closest.” (pg. 9)

I turned off my brain. I TURNED OFF MY BRAIN. What in the world? Hold on, if you shut off your brain, does that not mean that you are incompetent with the tasks at hand and instead, become an effigy that stands on a pedestal? Do take note that after Bree ‘turned off’ her brain, she is still able to move about and draws in the scent of human blood. To further obfuscate the material, this redundant paragraph managed to slip through the clefts of the editor and be promulgated:

“Weird. Diego was weird. How he sounded like a person having a regular old conversation. No hostility, no suspicion. Like he wasn’t thinking about how easy or hard it might be to kill me right now. He was just talking to me.” (pg. 7)

This paragraph is not half as nefarious as the one we had conversed on above. Still, it was repetitive and I effectuated that it was the reiteration of paragraphs and words or information that had prompted Stephenie Meyer’s novels to be more longspun than it should be. For example, we already sanctioned that she called Diego a weirdo but Stephenie Meyer decided to supplement the word count by placing: ‘Diego was weird’ as if we do not already know that. Thus, the writing style for this novel was overall confusing.

“Kissing didn’t sound the same with Vampires as it did with humans. No soft, fleshy, liquid-filled cells to squish against each other. Just stone lips, no give. I had heard one kiss between Vampires before- Diego’s touch my lips last night- but I never would have made the connection. It was so far from what I’d expected to find here.” (pg. 71)

Frankly, I do not wallow in that many details. Details like these: Kissing for Vampires is like stone grinding against a stone, causing friction which would erupt into flames if you are not careful. I exaggerated there but candidly, I do not need to discern how kissing sculptures for Vampires. That is just plain repugnant. Also, it induced me to reminisce of these undesirable scenes: Bella kissing a stone who is Edward. You are welcome.

“He was pretty, with dark, dense, curly hair, big, wide eyes, and really full lips, but then, who wasn’t pretty?” (pg. 4)

As for now, Diego and Bree will be in our limited circuitous notoriety. I am not even ribbing, Bree had no temperament and I do not discern on why she is the cyanogen of the story. Bella’s personalities blanched opposed to Bree’s. Diego had an insignificant nature and an even minor cleft in his personality: He was loyal (and vacuous) up to the apex where he does not notice that the one he respected and trusted will hurt him the most. He was attractive and of course, he will fall for that one girl who had no disposition. Do not even get me enkindled on the less than one-day insta-love. Whatever, I am going to ramble:

They went hunting for food together + they conversed on random notions + they kissed + they will die for each other + Bree wanted to die when she realized that Diego died + all of these scenes in less than 24 hours = WTF-INSTA-LOVE 

The only positive point in this book that I could denote is the middle section of the novel. I thought the core segment of this novel was the strongest in this whole novel because I finally sensed something that I could clasp on- the perplexity of the situation. I fancied learning about the Victoria Army and the layout to ambush the Cullens and procure Bella as the prize. I presume that that was the only time where I truly let myself immerse into the world and experienced the tension that the characters were having. Unfortunately, it was short-lived.

In conclusion, I am bequeathing this novella with an E (20%). I presume that you will appreciate this novella if you adored the rest of the Twilight series but I, unfortunately, do not relish on some of the books in that series and this book had now been stacked on top on that list. Thus, the rating.


This is the end of my spoiler-free review for The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

Little Fires Everywhere By Celeste Ng | Book Review

Hey Guys! I am Max and a little while back, I was buddy-reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng with Jessica from Endless Chapters and I completed it before she does because she joined the ‘reading session’ when I was midway through the novel [Sorry, Jessica, for not waiting for you]. A quick shoutout to Jessica from Endless Chapters: She has an astonishing blog and she writes wondrous reviews on books (Don’t mind me fanboying here) and I am indubitable that you guys will cherish her blog!  

So, without further ado, let us get into the review!

Disclaimer:

  • All thoughts and opinions are on my own and,
  • The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!

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Synopsis:

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.

My Introspection:

This is the very first Domestic Fiction novel that I had read in my entire life and it did not foil. Note that I will be reading more novels dispense from Celeste Ng because everything from her writing style to the character structures was executed flawlessly- maybe not impeccable but this novel is adjacent to consummation. I will be getting my hands on a printed copy of Everything I Never Told You sometime soon as I was infatuated with how the story unfurled in Little Fires Everywhere

“Perfection: that was the goal, and perhaps the Shakers had lived it so strongly that it seeped into the soil itself, feeding those who grew up there with a propensity to overachieve and a deep intolerance for flaws.”

The strongest point in this novel was the root of each of the characters and their impulses and intentions. We have the Richardsons: Izzy, Lexie, Moody, Trip, Bill, Elena. Bill, the father of the four children, laboured for the erroneous side of the court to detach the mother essence from the baby. Elena, the mother of four children, who trailed after perfection and thus, resulted in the destruction of her home. Moody who betrayed his best friend. Trip who played with everyone’s feelings. Lexie who used people. Izzy who knew what was right and wrong.

In addition, we have Bebe, Mia and Pearl. Bebe who made a mistake and lost custody over her child and was determined to win her back from her baby’s adopted family and therefore, ended up in court. Mia who was passionate and meticulous in her artwork ran away with her child under certain circumstances and winded up in Shaker Heights. Pearl, Mia’s only child, was innocent. These are a class of characters with distinct personalities, each different from one another; each of them has their own motivation. Truth to be told, there are more characters outside of this globule and more stories to be told but I had just furnished you with the significant ones.

“A lot of times, parents are not the best at seeing their children clearly. There’s so much wonderful about you.”

This novel is definitely more character-driven than plot-driven as the author has given a chance for the readers to disinter the core of the characters and to answer questions as to why they behave the way they did. Let’s take Elena Richardson as an example, she is a perfectionist: she chases after perfection in everything such as family life, work life, college life, etc. and when a person comes in and disrupts the whole system of staying perfect, she is furious and somewhat afraid- thinking that she had missed out on something. It is that that drives her to exhume a person’s life, depositing that person unornamented. Each of the characters in this novel has their own personalities and they are again, distinguishable from one another and thus, making the novel enjoyable.

However, the first 100 pages of the book were tedious and somewhat boring. I conjectured that Celeste was trying to build up the atmosphere and the characters but I thought that certain scenes should be shortened down in order to make it more compelling. After the first quarter of the book, the pacing subsequently picked up and everything was much more enjoyable until the point where I almost forgot about the problems that I had in the first 100 pages. If you are someone who can tolerate slow pacing or is currently reading this novel but could not get past the boredom that is the first 100 pages, I highly recommend you to stick to the story as it will get better.

“How could these people, she thought, how could these people take a child from its mother? She told herself this all night and into the next morning, as she dialled, as she waited for the phone to ring. It wasn’t right. A mother should never give up her child.”

The crafting of the atmosphere was very adequately administered as the autochthonous setting which was set in a town dubbed Shakers Height yielded nostalgia for me because it exhibited a sense of hometown quality. For example, the streets that they walked, the way they talked and heck, even the phone that they used. It seemed to appear that I was there and this calls for the writing style: only a valid and conspicuous writing style would enable a reader who has the book in hand to be transported into the story and viewing the characters’ lives.  

“It came, over and over, down to this: What made someone a mother? Was it biology alone or was it love?”

The style of writing for this novel intumesced my affection for this novel and this particular story even more. Celeste dwelled and adopted words to weave around a subject to increase the precision and intricacy of each scene. The author crafted each scene delicately: the words in each of the scenes; every sentence could not have abstained because if one of the words is withdrawn, the whole construction of the scene is demolished. At least, that was what it suggested when I was reading the novel.

“Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.” 

In conclusion, I am bestowing an A (87%) for this novel. If you are into Domestic Fiction with a firm character-driven story and slow pacing, I urge you to pick up this novel as I am assured that you will be able to fully enjoy the experience with this book in hand. 


This is the end of my spoiler-free review for Little Fires Everywhere By Celeste Ng! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

Throne Of Glass By Sarah J. Maas | Rant Review

Hey guys! It is Max here and I will be making a rant review for Throne Of Glass By Sarah J. Maas today! I know this is an unpopular opinion but I have a handful of reasons on why I dislike this novel. I do not hate it per se, I just did not really like it. So, without further ado, let us dive right in.

Disclaimers:

  • All thoughts and opinions are on my own and,
  • The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!

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Synopsis:

After serving out a year of hard labour in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

My Introspection:

It has been forever since I last composed of a book review and I am finally back to reviewing the novels that I had read. So, from what I have heard, this book is grouped under the category of High Fantasy and I thought it did not warrant to be among that category and instead, be categorized under light fantasy. Although I could see the potential in the later books to be shelved under high fantasy because the ending of this novel hinted at it,  I thought the first book should still be placed under light fantasy instead of High fantasy and I will explain why.

“While he might be a Hallivard, he was… Well, she still very much wanted to kiss him.

Throne Of Glass has a lighter tone to it and it did not offer the darkness that high fantasy demands. Its tone lightens due to the heavy romance that was thrown into the plot of the novel. In order to not shy away from the truth, there is a love triangle in it and the love interest that she ended up with is beyond ridiculous. It was something like love-at-first-sight because I personally thought that they had zero chemistry together; it just happened due to mutual affection. Almost 15% of the novel deals with their kindling romance and they do not even know each other. Not one bit… Well, maybe a little but it is far too less to start snogging on each other faces. What if Calaena resolved to kill you? Huh? I don’t think the other love interest will even acknowledge it.  On the other hand, I thought the second love interest is better than prior as they had more chemistry together and they know each other.

“Are you fond of dogs?” asked the prince. She nodded. Why was it already so hot? “Am I going to be blessed with the pleasure of hearing your voice, or have you resolved to be silent for the duration of our journey?”

“I am afraid your questions didn’t merit a verbal response.”

However, what I do actually enjoy about the novel is Calaena insolence and the way she lashes out at people who did her wrong but that could be identified as a flaw as well as she is very stubborn with the ideas- always insisting that they are right even though they are, very clearly stated, not.

Leaving her act of impertinence behind, her precinct of qualities for being an assassin will now be commented on. Calaena who is the notorious, brutal and merciless slayer is recruited by a Prince- who she despised since she hates on the Royals vehemently,  perpetually and incessantly, for a competition which would lead to death if the ‘Champions’, also known as competitors, are not well aware. In court, Calaena the assassin dresses like a court-lady which is unnecessary and well, as if it could not get any worse, she dwells on the seams of the dresses and the softness and comfort that they offered instead of practising her skills to become the winner of this God-forbidden competition. 

Furthermore, she reads books in her spare time and readers of this novel almost never get to experience how she endures her training and how she practices her killing tactics except for certain instances which I thought those scenes were really well written. This novel mostly covers her spare time in which she would lend books from the library and piles of them will be all over her bed- a way to abolish the spines of the titles if you ask me. In addition, she plays the piano in her spare time and I can apprehend that she is a human with emotion and soul too but really? Do you have a death wish in which you would like to die in a competition? If not, you would use all the time in the world to train in order to maximize your chances of winning instead of dying. 

Moreover, you will think that she is an assassin, a pretty good one at that as she is being trained by Adarlan’s own hands. However, there are a copious of scenes which I thought her skills of being a slayer failed her and I definitely questioned if she is actually an assassin. Take a look at this quote:

“One! She slept that long? What about lessons with Chaol?”

Just to give you extra information, there is a monster roaming around the castle, killing off Champions like they are just another piece of wasteland and our protagonist knows that it is out there, somewhere, killing them off one by one on the precipice of their fingers. And here she is, deep in her sleep, the monster could just barge into the room and annihilate her. Where has her assassin qualities gone to? Isn’t an assassin, a good one, supposed to be alert at all times? I guess the prince has gotten all over her head since she is so love-drunk.

To be more optimistic, the pacing of this novel is fantastic. A 404 pages novel that moves with a speed of a 200 pages novel and I thought it was astounding that I would read this continuously without taking any extra break unless it is necessary. That is how addicted I was with the novel but that does not mean it is a good book. If you are a fast reader, you would devour this in two days. If you are a slow reader, you will consume this novel in three days because of the addictive quality of the book. 

Now, I want to talk about Calaena as a protagonist. To be honest, I feel a certain disconnection with her as a reader due to the fact that we did not get to know her as much as a person would like to. For example, her past is obscured and Sam, who I assumed is her ex-lover, is only ever mentioned once in the novel. Also, her childhood- the part where she was ‘bathed’ in her parent’s blood is only declared once and I thought that section intrigued me as it would give us information as to why she becomes the person she is as of today. But alas, information like this is not given and that disappointed me.

In conclusion, I am proffering this novel an E (46%) as a rating that would be suitable for my taste in novels. I will continue to read the series as I am intrigued by the ending of the novel and I heard other reviewers raving about the second book in the series and therefore, I would pick the book up from a bookstore someday soon.


This is the end of my spoiler-free review for Throne Of Glass By Sarah J. Maas! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

The Stars Never Rise By Rachel Vincent || Book Review

Hey Guys! It is Max here and Happy New Year to each and every one of you! I hope this year will be ebullient for you and your reading experience will surpass and enhance its focus on the good books instead of the bad.

As for today, we shall review a book called ‘The Stars Never Rise’ By Rachel Vincent and I pretty much enjoyed the process of reading this novel. So, without further ado, let us dive right into the review! 

WAIT!

There is an announcement in which I would like to make. The reviews that I will be hosting from now onwards might differ from the ones that I did last year as I would like to manufacture a discrete style for my blog posts and reviews. Therefore, if you have grown accustomed to my older reviews and blog posts style, I would like to make an apology here for transmuting it.

In that case, here is what is to be expected for my later posts:

  • Book-related Discussions 
  • Different type of reviewing style
  • More ‘blogging’ my experience with a book
  • and more…

Thus, let us commence!

Disclaimers:

  • All thoughts and opinions are on my own and,
  • The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!

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Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she’s too busy trying to actually survive. Her town’s population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she’ll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie’s sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can’t survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.

My Introspection:

This novel was marketed as a Young Adult, Paranormal Romance and those elements were definitely ensconced in this novel but the genre that had a blind drawn to it was the dystopia ambience. Let us take a look at the society that the characters were existing in:

“Of course blasphemy is a sin. A lesser infraction than fornication and heresy, but grievous offense a strict matron like Sister Camilla would never let slide. Even in a five-year-old.

Especially a five-year-old who’d already demonstrated a precocious gift for profanity.

Sister Camilla dragged Matthew onto the stone dais in the center of the courtyard, then forced him to kneel. She was still scolding him while she flipped a curved piece of metal over each of his legs, just above his calves, then snapped the locks in place, confining the five-year-old to his knees in the freezing rain.”

In what world would you allow a child to freeze to his death in the rain? I can comprehend that it is not right to sacrilege but to punish a child this way is basically child-abuse. Moreover, this is a society controlled by the church itself because the world was overrun by demons and only the church could produce exorcists by training people to fight against them and send them back to Hell. Either way, it is still child-abuse to say the least.

In this book, we follow two sisters as they struggled to survive from the society and their mother who neglected them. Due to the lack of dime, they journeyed around their neighbourhood and the stores around that perimeter to steal items in which they found useful for the either school or living purposes. 

School, which was again, jurisdiction by the Church determined whether or not a boy or a girl gets to keep their sexual organs and they will inspect in detail on a boy’s sperm count or a girl’s ability to bear children or their genetic features, if they failed to receive the appropriate measurements, their sexual organs will ultimately, undergo the final process: sterilization.

Those declared fit would be given a second assessment before marriage, and a third when they applied for a parenting license.

Those declared unfit would be scheduled for sterilization. Immediately.

And, unfortunately, it was the year where Nina’s (protagonist) sister- Millie will be going through the test and that’s where the story starts because Nina’s sister was pregnant and Millie ran away from her designed position as fornication was a sin and thus, resulting in a thousand thoughts through Nina’s mind.

One day, the year I was nine, Clare had refused to  kneel for worship. They gave her three chances. Brother Philip said refusing to recognize the Church’s authority was the first sign of possession. He called in an exorcist, and two hours later, Clare was sentenced. The exorcist said that since her possession was recent, her souls could be returned to the well of souls- if it were purified by fire.

They forced her to her knees on the dais, closed the steel cuffs above her calves, then burned her alive in front of the entire school.

She was seventeen years old.

What if they thought Melanie was possessed?

Now, I would like to talk about the pacing of the novel. I read this novel in the course of two days due to the jam-packed action sequences, the suspense and ultimately, the atmosphere of the novel. Moreover, the information that was given throughout the novel did not fall into the prey of ‘dump-n-go’ instead, it came by smoothly and allowed us to understand what’s actually going on before leaving for its goal. So, if you are a fast reader, this book will most likely take a day for you to finish. If you are a slow reader, at most 4 days. 

The world-building and the writing style were what I liked most about this novel. The style of writing was lyrical and it ran as lustrous as a silk word after word and because of its sleek state, it had contributed a huge factor to the world building of this book due to the descriptions that were punctured around the protagonist’s line of vision and the explanation adjoined to the system of its world and what had made it the way it was since a century or more ago. From the useful information to the tectonic writing style, it is hard to dislike this novel.

The complex family dynamics in this story were portrayed realistically and it offered a glimpse at what it was like before and what it was like now, how drastically different can a relationship be from a young age to an older age:

Since she’d stopped eating, talking, and coming out of her room even to yell at us. Over the past year, her angry, resentful tirades had faded into listless neglect as my mother retreated into her own head, into her room, and into nights spent out and days spent sleeping. Or unconscious. Or both.

The function of a demon was being explained in length and unlike other novels which usually just brush off the abilities of a demon or what will happen if a demon overtakes your body, this novel explains it in detail:

Disembodied demons have to find someone who’s sick or hurt or under some sort of chemical influence. Or even just someone sleeping. If the demon finds a body before he’s sucked back into hell… ta da! You have a newly possessed citizen, which means the ‘exorcists’ have failed.

I know I had already said my ‘favorite’ part of the novel but I have one more to share with you guys before we move into the dislikes that I had with this book. And that is: The characters! All of them are so likable and I had such a great time reading about how they team up to kick some demon ass. Take Nina as an example: She is a strong female lead with much independence and had a headstrong personality that dared people to contradict her beliefs. 

I wanted to be as straightforward and bold as he was, because he deserved that, but I had no experience with being straight forward and bold. I had experienced lying, and clothing myself in the darkness if in nothing else, and stealing, and paying high price for the things Mellie and I couldn’t survive without.

The team consists of: Finn, Maddock, Reese, Grayson and Devi. All of them had vastly different personalities and I would note on Devi, most of all. She was the most stubborn girl in the group and she, kind of or may, enjoy contradicting Nina which most of the time exploded in up rage. 

Well, on to my dislikes:

The freaking insta-love. I cherished the characters and how they handled the situations that they were positioned in but with the two of them that had barely known each other, was together for less than 24 hours and the mutual attraction mostly comes from Finn’s eye colour and Nina’s looks, it was pretty quixotic. If only they had known each other before all of these were pushed forward… If only the romance comes a little later in the novel, the story would get 95% from me. 

Another one of my dislikes was the fact that towards the end of the novel, the plot points started running thin and it was easy to discern as the author started stretching out certain scenes and it resulted in a slope on the hill for me. In other words, it fell flat. If only the ending was a little more epic, the story will be extremely fantastic.

And those are my only complaints.

In conclusion, I shall award this novel a 70%. I enjoyed almost everything that was presented in this novel and it is confirmed that I will be reading the next book in this duology because I need to know how it ends. So, I highly encourage you to give this wondrous novel a try!


This is the end of my spoiler-free review for The Stars Never Rise By Rachel Vincent! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN BY PAULA HAWKINS || BOOK REVIEW

Hey Guys! It is Max here and I will be doing a long-awaited review on a book called ‘The Girl On The Train’ By Paula Hawkins. This is a highly-acclaimed novel and it was frequently compared to ‘Gone Girl’, another screw the pooch book that I had yet to read. Truth to be told, I did not like this book as much as everyone else seemed to enjoy and I will tell you why later in the review.

To be honest with you, I do not know how to summarize this book but all I can tell you is that this is an ‘Adult, Psychological Thriller’ novel that will make you either addle your brain with a concussion as a friend or make you dispute yourself on why you even read this book in the first place. I am the latter.

So, without further ado, let us get into the book review!

Disclaimers:

  • All thoughts and opinions are on my own and,
  • The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!

The Girl on the Train

Synopsis:

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

My Thoughts: The Beginning

This novel was frequently compared to Gone Girl for its plot twists and messed out plotlines. However, after I had experienced reading this book, I do not know or I highly doubt that I would enjoy the process of reading Gone Girl because I did not exactly relish on how the story was unfurled here and I shall let you all know why.

By the way, this review will not consist of the usual segments such as Writing Styles and Characters as I would like to try combining both of those segments in this section. Furthermore, this review will be kept short because it is a twisted thriller novel and I do not wish to spoil you with the knowledge of this novel that I had in my mind. Thus, let us begin! 

➵ Pros

I savoured the writing style that the author had provided for us in this novel because not only was it easy to read and get through because of the addictive element that the author had annexed into the making of this novel which of course, made this novel entertaining but the author’s writing style was perfect for concealing some facts about certain characters and later used it to confuse the reader and ultimately, reveal her genius plan to make everything right. I thought it was well done and I would, honestly, give Ms Hawkins another chance on reading her latest work if not for the ‘Cons’ which I will later share with you all. 

Moving on, I would like to converse on the atmosphere of the novel. I enjoyed the ambience of anticipation, suspense (as long as it lived) and the feeling of desire in this novel. The air of perplexity will be spoken more about later in the Cons section and as for now, I would state that I appreciated it while it lasted because it commenced dispersing when the book progressed. However, the ambience of anticipation and the feeling of desire were there throughout the novel and I thought it was blended conscientiously and agilely. The constant hit of the atmosphere would have you wanting to feel bad for the characters and thus, I enjoyed the ambience of the novel.

Now, I would fancy addressing the idea of the novel. The idea was immeasurable albeit, the execution of the novel was amateurish. I loved the fact that this was included: A random passerby witnessed a ‘crime-scene’ and thought she was to be involved as she had valuable information to provide to the police but little does she know that she was actually involved in the whole situation. 

The idea was great alright! I thought it could do the idea justice if the execution was not half as bad as what this book had provided. Oh, wells, another idea had gone to waste, at least, that is what I thought. 

Finally, I savoured on the pacing of the novel. This novel was fast-paced and thrilling in the first 100 pages as you would like to acquire information on what in the living world is going on and in the last 200 pages of the novel, certain scenes were dragged and thus, it tarnished the golden plate of being ‘fast-paced’ but still, it went on decent speed. If it was not for the pacing, I thought I would end up DNF-ing the novel right there on the spot because the characters did not hold my attention as they do not have anything special to share and bestow on their readers. So, if you would love to read a thriller that is fast-paced, do give this novel a read, I guess?

➵ Cons

The characters’ developments in this novel were almost non-existent. We had three narratives in this novel: Rachel, Anna and Megan. One is a drunk, another is a cheat and the last is a liar. None of them is reliable which I thought, when I was reading the first 200 pages of the novel, was the strongest point of the novel but as the story proceeded, my mind started to wonder whether it is actually the most influential point of it all and here is why I thought it was not as mighty as it had appeared:

Anna, who was regarded as the third protagonist of the novel had the least page count and therefore, I dismissed the fact that she was a protagonist and placed her, in my mind, as a side character. Now, side characters in novels can grow too but Anna only had a minimum development when the last page was disclosed. Her attitude towards Rachel had a slight improvement and I thought that was great to see but that does not terminate the fact that she almost had no development. Also, her character was not as well-built as I initially thought it would. Her character was just there to play the role as a cheat and that’s all it is. No dwelling into her family history and her life before she became a cheat, just purely her cheating self.

Rachel, who was the main protagonist of the novel had the most page count and we are mostly in her head. Gosh, she was such an imbecile. I enjoyed her flaws, initially, as it made the characters more fleshed out and real but as the story progressed forwards, I thought otherwise. Here’s a question: If someone understands that they require full attention on something, they would not- first thing, run to drink alcohol, that would only make the situation worse as it would cause drowsiness if one does not handle the amount of liquor they consume. This person is, with no doubt in mind, Rachel! She was conscious that she should not drink when she is going out to ‘interrogate’ someone but she did it anyways! When I thought she would quit drinking, like what she had said in the book, she went out and disappointed me. Clearly, she continued drinking until the novel ended. So, there was not any character development. However, she was better built than Anna, her history and experiences were written on the page and we could somehow sympathize with her but that is it. No character development in sight.

Megan, who was the liar that had ill intentions. I will not go in-depth with her character as she was twisted and you had got to read the novel to understand her but I would say that she does see the light in the end. She understood what she did was wrong and somehow made a really minor character development by rectifying her past mistakes. By mistakes, I meant to say lots of them. Her history was clearly written on the pages as well, perhaps even more in-depth than our main protagonist’s history. So, if I were to choose one character to root for, not that I liked any of them, I would have to choose Megan as she was the most developed character in this novel.

Moving on, I hated the fact that I knew who the killer was even before it was revealed. Now, I am not an avid reader of the genre of thriller, I tend to gravitate towards Fantasy and Young Adult Fiction novels and even I seem to notice who the killer was before it was unveiled. I thought this was to be blamed on certain plot details that were exposed in the first 100 pages of the novel which was when the book switched protagonist to Megan’s. I cannot help but kept some important points in my head and when the killer was revealed to be this ‘person’, I completely lost interest from this book because of how noticeable it was. So, in truth, the plot twist did not surprise me at all and I hope it does not do the same to you.

The relationship was something that I absolutely despised in this novel. Again, the first 100 pages of this novel, the author allowed us glimpses of the broken relationships and the abuses that some of the characters took on from their partners but after a while, everything just suspended. The bonding between characters does not mend, not that I want them to, but realistically, if you have been through something traumatic with someone and they shared the burden with you, you would find the bond between this human being to strengthen but in this novel, it does not. So, that is all I am going to say.

Moreover, there was some plot hole in this novel and it hindered my mind that it was so prominent. I do not want to spoil the book but the plot hole is about: one of the main characters in the book is cheating on her husband with 2 guys and when the killer was revealed, everything had gotten muddied. If you have read the book, you would know what plot hole I am conversing on.

Finally, I would like to discuss the atmosphere specifically, the air of suspense of this novel. The air of suspense was thick when this novel first introduced us that one of the prominent figures in this novel had died. It kept us reading to find out how the plot would escalate from therein. However, as the story progresses, the ambience of the novel started thinning and that made the ending flat because the air of suspense just evaporated. It happened because there was not much plot to support the backbone of the story and somewhere in the middle, the story dragged with Rachel being a drunk. Therefore, I did not really like the ambience of the novel except for certain parts of it.

Overall: The Ending

With my flaming hatred for this novel, I shall award this book with a 29% rating as it had some redeeming qualities and I thought it was not half as bad as some books that I had read this year. Thus, the result for this novel is uttered.


This is the end of my spoiler-free review for The Girl On The Train By Paula Hawkins! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

THE NEST BY KENNETH OPPEL || BOOK REVIEW

Hey Guys! It is Max here and I will be reviewing a book called ‘The Nest’ By Kenneth Oppel today! I found this novel randomly in a book sale and the cover had latched itself on to my brain and before I knew what I was doing, I placed it in the cart. And thank goodness I placed it in the cart and did not have second thoughts about it because I enjoyed this novel immensely!

The Nest is a Middle-Grade, Magical Realism novel that follows a boy named Steve whose family is going through a depressing period due to their New Born baby’s health condition and how it affects Steve’s mood as this sort of thing continues to occur.

So, without further ado, let us get into the book review!

Disclaimer:

  • All thoughts and opinions are on my own and…
  • The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!

Image result for the nest by kenneth oppel

Synopsis:

For some kids, summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.

All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?

My thoughts: Introduction

Let us initiate this review by conversing on the World-building and the atmosphere of this novel. There, honestly, was not any need for world-building as this world coalesced with the real world but the landscape which I will talk more about later on in the review, was described beautifully and every scene was crafted as if they were canvases filled with wonderful art. 

In addition, the atmosphere of the novel was dark and sometimes, fun. It was dark because of the materials that the author had resolved to annexe to the book and the insane approach behind new specimens producing a baby using their own way and letting the baby eat odd viands to fill their stomach to provide minerals for the body to function. It was fun because it is a middle-grade novel and the characters’ have an obnoxious and naive mindset that allows its readers to Laugh Out Loud. Therefore, I truly enjoyed the combination of dark and fun surrounding the ambience of the novel.

Furthermore, I would like to converse on the pacing of the novel. The pacing was expeditious because of the darkness and the addictive quality that the book has to it. The darkness of the book, like what we had discussed earlier, had a ting of what felt death and pain and the addictive quality of the novel had made the pages to fly through faster than it ought to be. The fonts for this novel was gigantic and the writing was easy to read and if you are a fast reader, the estimated time to finish reading this novel is 2 hours. If you are a slow reader, the estimated time to finish reading this novel is 3.5 hours.

Before we move into the final paragraph, I would like to discuss the relationship factor in the novel. The relationships between the characters are a little broken and disconnected. For example, the broken relationship between the protagonist and his family members due to the baby’s illness. Also, when Steve finally connected with someone or something that he thought was at his side to make amends to his sad life, the ‘thing’ went and stabbed him in the back. I enjoyed the portrayal of this kind of relationships in books, it showed a side of the world and widen the horizon of our imaginations.

Finally, I would appreciate bestowing some of my favourite quotes from the book:

“The baby was warm against my chest. I knew I was broken too. I wasn’t like other people. I was scared and weird and anxious and sad lots of the time, and I didn’t know why. My parents thought I was abnormal, I was pretty sure. They said I wasn’t, but you don’t get sent to a therapist if you’re normal.

Sometimes we really aren’t supposed to be the way we are. It’s not good for us. And people don’t like it. You’ve got to change. You’ve got to try harder and do deep breathing and maybe one day take pills and learn tricks so you can pretend to be more like other people. Normal people. But maybe Vanessa was right, and all those other people were broken too in their own ways. Maybe we all spent too much time pretending we weren’t.”

The above Quote is important as I will be talking more about it later in the review…

And…  

“A feeling is not a fact.” 

Writing: Middle Section Of The Review

The style of writing for this novel was conversational, emphatically and articulate. Like the review that I had posted before this, we shall break down each of the styles that were used to compose this book. 

↠ Conversational

This novel had more ‘tell than show’. Most of the information that we garner comes from the conversation or speech that the protagonist has with a person other than himself. I thought it was easy to read and was swiftly glimpsed through and it would appeal to a child in Primary school to easily grasp what the book was prattling about. 

Furthermore, I thought this type of writing style was fantastic for a middle-grade novel and it could easily hold a child, who has no love for reading, to start reading! Thus, I enjoyed the conversational style of writing for this novel.

Emphatically

Here’s the definition of this distinct writing style:

Making your meaning very clear because you have very strong feelings about a situation or subject.

I had placed ‘Emphatically’ here because I thought the story was written clearly and the meaning and feelings behind the story had a clear indication and would allow younger readers to get the message on what the author was trying to say.

↠ Articulate

The description of the protagonist’s surrounding and landscape was well described. You can totally picture the main character’s house, the Queen’s nest and what the baby was feeding on. With those images in mind, it radiates off a sense of excitement and horror that will make you both squirm and widen your pupils with delight. 

The writing style articulates the feelings and allows us, readers, to feel the landscape and to find it authentic. Thus, I enjoyed the writing style for this novel.

Character: 4/5 Section Of The Review

Steve

He is an eleven-year-old kid who suffered from OCD even though it was just briefly glimpsed through in the novel, it was clear that he was suffering from it because of this sentence:

At school, I drank only from some certain water fountain, and I washed my hands between every class. I also had hand sanitizer with me, just in case.

The thing that I did not really relish this novel was the fact that the mental illness was just quoted once in the book, and never again. I thought it would be ampler, since it was a children’s book, to elucidate what it is to adequately understand the terminology.

Other than that, I thought he was a strong boy who was going through the process of family depression and the battle with his mental illness. Although he did break down sometimes because it was too much for him to handle, he still continued to rise back up to his feet to fight for what is right and proceeded to live on with his life! Thus, I thought Steve was a great role model in this novel.

The Queen

She was a complex character, alright. Initially, she was a warm and kind-hearted ‘angel’ or ‘wasp’, whatever, but the thing was that her motive had gradually changed over the course of the months to so-called ‘repair’ the baby so that it will be healthier and livelier. 

I thought her characteristics were really well planned because it was unexpected that she was a two-faced wasp and actually did not give a crap about other people’s feelings and expectations except her own. Therefore, I enjoyed her as a character in this book!

 Parents

In the course of this 244 pages novel, the parents were present most of the time and spent those page time being depressed, disappointed and afraid and it was realistic as I responded the equivalent behaviour when the baby was first acquainted as sick due to a congenital disease that threatened the child’s life.

Their sorrows and frustrations were understandable and reasonable. For example, the dad being short-tempered with Steve because he was going on about a bee sting and how it hurt and more. However, he always made up to him and announced that he was sorry for being so mean.

The mom, on the other hand, had sorrows too but was coping better than the dad. She was not short-tempered but she had times where the mention of the baby caused her to go rigid and spin which was, again, understandable, given a child of her own circumstances.

Thus, I liked the portrayal and the roles that the parents had in the book.

Venessa

She is the babysitter of Steve and I thought she had a wonderfully rich history about her university life and more but it was, unfortunately, not explored. However, she did discuss her organ failures and how it might, possibly, happen again and she taught us a valuable lesson with it: 

All I’m saying is, sooner or later we’re all busted-up in some way.

It meant to say that we will eventually come to an old age and our bodies will die. No matter what diseases a person had, that person is still a human and that is all that matters. No one is perfect and that’s ok. 

Venessa is pretty much this only one in the novel that teaches such valuable lessons to the children and I thought it was a great way to drive the plot forward! Thus, I enjoyed her characteristic.

Overall: The Ending

I am very much in love with this novel and even though it had some minor flaws, I am willing to overlook it due to the hard-to-get enjoyment that I had experienced with this book. Thus, I shall award this novel with 90%.


This is the end of my spoiler-free review for The Nest By Kenneth Oppel! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!