Book Review

Harrow Lake By Kat Ellis | Book Review

Hey Guys! My name is Max and I will be manufacturing a book review for a book christened Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis today. I would like to thank Times Read for sending a copy of this novel to me. So, without further ado, let us get into the book review section!

Genre(s): Young Adult, Horror.

Page count: 305

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Synopsis:

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker – she thinks nothing can scare her. But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot.

The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map – and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.

And there’s someone – or something – stalking Lola’s every move.

The more she discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her…

My Introspections:

If I were to write a blurb for this novel, it would be this: “Kat Ellis has created a richly-filled landscape of 80’s horror films and it lingers on your skin long after you finish the novel”. I adored this novel and as an avid fan of horror movies, I think this novel does justice for that genre as this novel has a lot of that good stuff in it eg. Diminutive town, estranged family, a character going insane and crazy town with ghastly notions. However, I do have some criticisms to make and I will write extensively on that matter later. 

The writing style of this novel is atmospheric and gloomy with every shade of grey in it. The author has a way of incorporating words to craft a scene to make an innocuous scene seem ominous. In addition, I really enjoyed the references to horror films in this novel, it made my little horror heart leapt with happiness. Furthermore, I thought this novel was very well-paced as the author did not drag a scene out too long (which would make it boring) or cut short a scene during the horror scenes and that definitely made me adore the novel even more. However, the author uses the word – optimum – a lot and over time, it becomes repetitive and slightly annoying.

The atmosphere of the novel has a haunting inflexion to it and I thought that was the strongest point of the novel because it shows that the author has the ability to transport the readers to the head of the protagonist and allows the protagonist’s fears to be projected to the readers.

With aspects like the protagonist’s imaginary friend manifesting to life, a miniature-town which managed to make me feel claustrophobic, a town filled with superstitions and remarkably irrational people and most of all, Mr Jitters, it terrified me. However, I thought the horror aspect and the atmosphere faltered towards the end of the novel because it felt like the monster – Mr Jitters – did not add anything to the story but its main purpose is to terrorize the protagonist throughout the novel with literally no reason. BUT, I thought the people and their thinking and what they did were ten times more formidable than the actual monster of the novel so, those are the aspects that swooped in to save the ending of the novel for me.

The characters in this novel are multi-dimensional and complex. In this novel, there are Lola and Carter. Of course, there are more characters in this novel but we will only be focusing on both of these key characters in this review. Lola has a tendency to steal objects from strangers and write down her confessions on a paper and hide them in places where no one will look for but her. I thought the introduction to Lola was phenomenal and she has an amazing backbone to her character, for example, we learn in the novel that she adheres to her father like a leased dog with no freedom and as the story progresses, we see her character development and her flaws shining through the pages like a mirrorball and I adored it. Carter is a gentle person who assists people even though they insulted him with infuriating words. I thought his character arch was astonishing as well. Honestly, can Carter be my friend? He doesn’t even get mad when people insulted him.

Finally, there are several unexplained ideas that are thrust into the novel that make it seem like the author put them there for aesthetic purpose. For example, why does time slip away faster when Mr Jitters is around, why does Mr Jitters terrorize Lola since day one, is the urban legend about Mr Jitters real? The novel did provide some explanation to certain questions that I had posted but I do not think it is enough to justify Mr Jitters actions and his forces. Thus, I did not fancy the unexplained justifications of the novel.

Final Verdict: 80% (A)


This is the end of my review for Harrow Lake By Kat Ellis! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Bookish Fun!

Most Anticipated Reads Of 2020

Hey Guys! I am Max and today, I will be manufacturing one of the most celebrated series on my blog and that is called the “Worst, Best and Most Anticipated Novels of [said] Year”. I have decided to start off the series with my Most Anticipated Reads of 2020 before moving into the juicy section that is the Worst Books of 2019 because that is where I will rant and spill some hot tea of the books that had, unfortunately, landed on that list. If you would like to take a look at the order of articles in this series, I will record it down below:

  1. Most Anticipate Reads Of 2020
  2. Worst Books Of 2019
  3. Best Books Of 2019

[Ps.] Not all the books that are recorded on this list will be 2020 releases but I promise, a majority of the novels on this list are 2020 releases. 

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

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1. The Ballad Of Songbirds and Snakes By Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0)

Synopsis:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.

Me:

The news of this novel blew up all over my Instagram story, twitter and Goodreads feed and I cannot help but feel invigorated by the energy inundating this series once again. Suzanne Collins, an author who had us waiting for her next novel since The Hunger Games trilogy ended, has finally resolved to bestow another book of hers in The Hunger Games series/trilogy(?) to us and I could not help but feel a flutter of joy in my tummy. I can’t wait!

Release Date: May 19th 2020

2. The Boatman’s Daughter By Andy Davidson

The Boatman's Daughter

Synopsis:

A “lush nightmare” (Paul Tremblay) of a supernatural thriller about a young woman facing down ancient forces in the depths of the bayou.

Ever since her father was killed when she was just a child, Miranda Crabtree has kept her head down and her eyes up, ferrying contraband for a mad preacher and his declining band of followers to make ends meet and to protect an old witch and a secret child from harm.

But dark forces are at work in the bayou, both human and supernatural, conspiring to disrupt the rhythms of Miranda’s peculiar and precarious life. And when the preacher makes an unthinkable demand, it sets Miranda on a desperate, dangerous path, forcing her to consider what she is willing to sacrifice to keep her loved ones safe.

Me:

That synopsis! It sounds fucking phenomenal and I cannot wait to read it! Apparently, the genre of this novel is supernatural-thriller and I am- *gulps* I am so excited for it because one of the television series I am watching now called Nancy Drew is shelved under that genre as well and I am so obsessed with the way the story is crafted in the show. Thus, I have high expectations for this novel (which is a bad thing but still…).

Release Date: February 11th 2020

3. Bone Crier’s Moon By Kathryn Purdie

Bone ​Crier’s Moon (Bone Grace, #1)

Synopsis:

Bone ​Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.

Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first, she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.

Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.

Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.

Me:

First of all, the cover of this novel is gorgeous. Second of all, the synopsis sounds really badass and that is all I really need to know to get bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about a novel. 

Release Date: March 10th 2020

4. The Deep By Alma Katsu

The Deep

Synopsis:

Someone, or something, is haunting the Titanic.

This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the ship from the moment they set sail: mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths. Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner’s illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers – including millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, the maid Annie Hebbley and Mark Fletcher – are convinced that something sinister is going on . . . And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes.

Years later and the world is at war. And a survivor of that fateful night, Annie, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Plagued by the demons of her doomed first and near-fatal journey across the Atlantic, Annie comes across an unconscious soldier she recognises while doing her rounds. It is the young man Mark. And she is convinced that he did not – could not – have survived the sinking of the Titanic . . .

Me:

The synopsis for this novel sounds like it could be a supernatural novel and I am here for it! I hope I get an ARC for this *cries*

Release Date: March 10th 2020

5. Follow Me By Kathleen Barber

Follow Me

Synopsis:

Everyone wants new followers…until they follow you home.

Audrey Miller has an enviable new job at the Smithsonian, a body by reformer Pilates, an apartment door with a broken lock, and hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers to bear witness to it all. Having just moved to Washington, DC, Audrey busies herself impressing her new boss, interacting with her online fan base, and staving off a creepy upstairs neighbour with the help of the only two people she knows in town: an ex-boyfriend she can’t stay away from and a sorority sister with a high-powered job and a mysterious past.

But Audrey’s faulty door may be the least of her security concerns. Unbeknownst to her, her move has brought her within striking distance of someone who’s obsessively followed her social media presence for years—from her first WordPress blog to her most recent Instagram Story. No longer content to simply follow her carefully curated life from a distance, he consults the dark web for advice on how to make Audrey his and his alone. In his quest to win her heart, nothing is off-limits—and nothing is private.

Me:

This sounds… like a nightmare. I want it to haunt my dreams.

Release Date: February 2020

6. Strange Exit By Parker Peevyhouse

Strange Exit

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Lake spends her days searching a strange, post-apocalyptic landscape for people who have forgotten one very important thing: this isn’t reality. Everyone she meets is a passenger aboard a ship that’s been orbiting Earth since a nuclear event. The simulation that was supposed to prepare them all for life after the apocalypse has trapped their minds in a shared virtual reality and their bodies in stasis chambers.

No one can get off the ship until all of the passengers are out of the sim, and no one can get out of the sim unless they believe it’s a simulation. It’s up to Lake to help them remember.

When Lake reveals the truth to a fellow passenger, seventeen-year-old Taren, he joins her mission to find everyone, persuade them that they’ve forgotten reality, and wake them up. But time’s running out before the simulation completely deconstructs, and soon Taren’s deciding who’s worth saving and who must be sacrificed for the greater good. Now, Lake has no choice but to pit herself against Taren in a race to find the secret heart of the sim, where something waits that will either save them or destroy them all.

Me:

The synopsis of this novel sounds like it is from an episode of Black Mirror and that is wild and creepy. I love the concept of it and I cannot wait to read it! (I know I sound like a broken record but I am genuinely excited to read all of these novels okay… Don’t judge)

Release Date: January 14th 2020

7. The Woman in Apartment 49 By Ross Armstrong

The Woman in Apartment 49

Synopsis:

She’s watching you, but who’s watching her?

Lily Gullick lives with her husband, Aiden, in a brand-new apartment opposite a building that has been marked for demolition. A keen bird-watcher, she can’t help spying on her neighbours.

Until one day Lily sees something suspicious through her binoculars, and soon her elderly neighbour Jean is found dead. Convinced of foul play, she knows she has to act. But her interference is not going unnoticed, and as she starts to get close to the truth, her own life comes under threat.

But can Lily really trust everything she sees?

Me:

One word, YES. 

Release Date:  February 18th 2020

 8. Where the Crawdads Sing By Delia Owens

Image result for where the crawdads sing

Synopsis:

For years, rumours of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Me:

If you have been following my recent posts on Instagram (it’s okay if you haven’t), you would know that I bought Where the Crawdads Sing recently in Australia from a bookstore named Dymocks and I am so excited to read this book ever since I got it but somehow, I have not gotten around to reading it? Therefore, it is my goal to read it in January.  


And that concludes my ‘Most Anticipated Books Of 2020!’ Be sure to let me know what your Most Anticipated Books Of 2020 are down in the comment box below! I hope you all enjoyed this article and follow me with your email/WordPress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Bookish Discussion

Books Vs. Movies: Which Version Should You Experience First? | Book Discussion

Hey Guys! I am Max and we will be composing the age-old debate on “Books Vs. Movies: Which Version Should You Experience First?” today. The introduction to book discussion topics is always the hardest for me to manufacture because I do not know how to dispense a puissant sentence after “Hey Guys” so, do not judge me so hard alright? I am attempting to make everything fall like a cascade of water – smooth and crystal-clear. 

Oh, and it’s currently raining outside, what a transcendent time to blog and read!

I had researched this topic on myriad websites and I will link the ones that gave me solid ideas on what I will be conversing on below to give them commendations for their crafts. Moreover, I will (maybe?) take quotes from the websites that I have mentioned and assert my own opinions on this topic as well. In addition, I will furnish you with statistics on the sides that people had placed their coins on. So, without further ado, let us get into today’s topic!

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First of all, I would fancy conceiving a contrast between the time and length of a novel to the time and length of a movie. The time necessitated watching a film is normally more succinct than the time required to read and complete a full-length novel unless you are a remarkably agile reader. This happens due to the fact that a movie can only fit in so much important detail and discard the rest to fit a normal movie-length whereas a book can furnish the readers with character depth, developments, intricate details, sub-plots and a plethora of characters to encompass the readers with a more recondite desire to know the world and politics or the magic system in the novel work. However, movies are sometimes better than books because of certain repudiated information that nobody particularly enjoys and the metamorphosis of bad writing in the novel into something astounding in the film can be obfuscating to view but that is a sporadic sight as we are proffer with bad book to movie adaptations most of the time. For example, The Fifth Wave, Allegiant, Paper Towns & City Of Bones (2013) are not the most pleasant movies to watch but they are so much better to read about.

*The paragraph below is a little out of topic but it’s somehow related to the next, so don’t dismiss it!*

Secondly, I would like to announce that movies sometimes portray as a synergist for certain readers similar to me to accumulate novels that we have not hearkened or noticed before we watch the film adaptations of the novels. If the film adaptation is gallantly stunning to watch, it will give us an excuse to grab the novel(s) from the bookstore and start reading it/them or if the film adaptation is horrible, it will also coerce and motivate us to pick the novel up to perceive with our own eyes to judge whether or not the novel is as bad as the film which most of the time, is not. This paragraph, in turn, leads us to the next point.

Reading a full-length novel gives you a better insight into the intricately crafted plotlines than watching a film systematise the plot and the connections between the characters. Due to an overabundance of sub-plots, tension and drama in the characters’ lives, (provided that the author has given a detailed layout of their lives and carefully embedded their personalities and traits in the cleft of their skull) films are unable to render an effect the same as novels could. Therefore, films have to trim the edges and monopolise the critical points furnished from the novels to provide us with a coherent storyline instead of expediting a plethora of plotlines at the screen viewers and making an incongruous hodgepodge with plotlines. I think it’s more restorative to accommodate you with an example: The Harry Potter Movies made advancements towards certain topics that were sequentially left undiscussed in the movies but they were well explained in the novels. Thus, in order to watch the films, you must first read the novels to understand a wider scope of the world and its system.

Speaking of explanations, books make you think and visualise the settings in your head and the plot twists in them can be even more influential than the twists proffer to you in the movies. Unlike films, you have the freedom to decipher the author’s words in any way you want and it also capacitates your imagination to go beyond the wildest corners of your brain. The plot twists may be harder to decode in novels than in films due to a plethora of plotlines blemishing the truth. However, there may be exceptions. For example,  I thought the television series for Sharp Objects obscured the truth better than the novel ever did but I enjoyed both of them nonetheless. 

Lastly, you would exhume more dreamy words or capricious vocabularies from novels than you would in films. The reason behind this is because novels tend to explain and provide you with every little detail of an object or architecture that the protagonist lands his/her eyes on and that requires a lot of words to describe which will most of the time, lead to flowery language and gorgeous purple prose. In contrast, a film could not perform such an act as we are perceiving the surrounding of our protagonist in the film with our bare eyes while the film regurgitates information to its viewers – in other words, spoon-feeding the information to us. 

Well, in conclusion, both of them are for entertainment purposes (or educational purposes) and it is unmistakably up to you to select whichever material you want but I would highly recommend you to pick up the novel before you see the film to experience the vastness of the world, the flowery language, etc. that the author has to offer to you. 

I will now prescribe you with a few “book-to-film or TV series adaptations” that I personally enjoyed for you to chew on during the weekends:

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale (TV series)
  2. Big Little Lies (TV series)
  3. Call Me By Your Name (Movie)
  4. Before I Fall (Movie)
  5. Shadowhunters (TV series)
  6. YOU (TV series)
  7. The Fault In Our Stars (Movie)
  8. The Hunger Games Series (Franchise)

STATISTICS: I am not going to draw a graph because this is not a maths class so you are going to see a rough percentage here: Film – 11%; Books – 74%; Both – 15%. 

Websites that I gained several ideas from:


This is the end of my ‘Books Vs. Movies: Which Version Should You Experience First?’ bookish discussion article!  I hope you all enjoyed it and let me know what genre you tend to go for down in the comment box below! Follow me with your email/WordPress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

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!

Book Review

Lady Of The Shades By Darren Shan || Book Review

Hey Guys! It is Max here and I will be producing a book review for a book that had recently managed to burst my brain with hot glue and made me never trust an author ever again (Just Kidding) and that book is called ‘Lady Of The Shades’ By Darren Shan.

Lady Of The Shades is an adult horror story woven with the essences of a thriller novel that follows a writer named Edward Sievieking who travelled to London to get inspiration from the said-to-be haunted places for his next novel but instead, he was driven into the crazy world of lies and manipulation.

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!

Image result for lady of the shades darren shan

“I know that no matter how lonely I get, I’ll never be truly alone again. Our loved ones don’t leave us. They just move out of sight for a while, and wait…in the shades.”- Darren Shan, Lady Of The Shades.

Synopsis:

Ed, an American author on the hunt for a story for his next book, arrives in London looking for inspiration. A stranger in a strange city, he’s haunted by a deadly secret that refuses to stay buried, and no matter how hard he tries he cannot escape the manifest sins of his past. 

What Ed wants is answers, what he finds is something he definitely didn’t bargain for: the beautiful and untouchable Andeanna Menderes. Andeanna is a woman who is dangerously bound to one of London’s most notorious crime lords, and if they are caught together it could mean death for them both.

Ensnared in an illicit affair that can only be conducted in the shadows, Ed’s world is turned upside down as a series of shattering revelations blurs the line between what’s real and what’s not…

My thoughts: Introduction

Let us commence on this review by conversing on the fact that this book is extremely underrated and underappreciated. Honestly, this is a book that deserves many readers because of the amount of effort and work put into it. Everything from the storytelling to the writing to the structure of the characters stood out among the pile of the books that are in the similar genre and I will be ticking off the list today on why you should read this wondrous novel.

The ambience around this novel had the azure of suspense, excitement and most of all, goosebumps plummeting down on your skin. My reading experience for this novel was enhanced by these determinants and it will give you all an assistance on interpreting the novel and concede its readers to be addicted to it until the very end of the novel. However, the first 30 pages or so had a dearth of atmosphere but from there on, it swells up and steers the ambience into your eyes.

The pacing for this novel which we will be talking about next had a quintessential balance between the segments of the story where the author felt should take it slow and other parts where the author took the story in a rollercoaster ride. This book took me two days to finish due to how addicted I was to the story and how fast the pages and words flew passed my eyes and brains. Genuinely,  I wonder how my brain cells were able to take in the information but either way, it was a pleasant ride to be in. 

Diving further into the review, I would like to discourse on the world building that this book had bestowed upon itself. The world, like what the synopsis of the blockbuster had stated, was set in London and there were not any real ‘world-building’ needed as it was set in our world, however, the description of the streets and the pavements were described marvellously, it felt as though I was a visitor of London, pondering on its streets and looking for direction from locals. Therefore, I thoroughly enjoyed how the author set up and described its location and surrounding.

Now, we will be counterbalancing on the plot, the plot twists and the plot holes of the novel. The plot centres around a writer who has disembarked on a trip to London to acquire ideas from the surrounding to receive new information that would be useful for his upcoming novel. However, as time passes by, he fell in love with a woman named ‘Daleena’ and slowly but surely, he uncovers the truth beneath her and understands that she has a sort of motivation getting close to him. 

Even that mini description of the book makes me wary of delivering the foremost plot and its plot twists away. So, I have decided to stop describing and move on with the segment where I confer on the plot twists.

The plot twists which were the most consequential strength of the novel, mess with your brain until you challenge yourself on which is valid and which is altered. The complexity of the well-crafted plot twists was astutely managed and they were strung together and tied to a knot in the end. It was pretty bizarre how they all tied up perfectly because there were so many plot twists and it launches readers off their tracks and oftentimes when I thought I had the flimsiest idea of what was going on and Darren accomplished to twist the story around again. The writer contrived to keep track of all the twists and turns he had inscribed and therefore, we shall applause Darren for such crazy twists.

Before we reach the final paragraph of this section, I would like to discuss the relationships factor of this novel. Ed and Daleena affection for each other was too much of an insta-love for me considering the fact that the author described the main character as secretive and ‘keep-to-himself’ type of person. However, I enjoyed the friendship between Ed and Joe (not going to spoil but something definitely happen here) and thought that Joe was a good friend for Ed’s mental health. I, for once, loved the bad blood between Ed and Dash, it definitely was entertaining to see the sub-plot driving the story forward and provided such a significant amount of work for the primary plot. Therefore, I enjoyed the relationship factor of the novel.

Finally, I will be giving out some iconic quotes that I found in the novel that are instantly my favourite as my eyes landed on them:

“John Nilson dos Linos was brushing dandruff from his hair when he was executed.”– Darren Shan, Lady Of The Shades.

“I’ve been grinding away on the plot of the book, trying to figure out why my lead character was killed. It can’t be random. The story is crying out for a reason that will drive the narrative forward, but I can’t decide what it should be.”– Darren Shan, Lady Of The Shades.

Writing: Middle Section Of The Review

Just a side note, I would not recommend people who are under the age of 15 to read this novel as it contained a plethora of vulgar language and plenty of ‘scenes’ that were unpleasant to the children poor eyes. So, do keep that in mind if you are picking this novel up.

The style of writing for this novel was lyrical, easy to read and sometimes, messy. It was lyrical and easy-to-read because of the way it was written. I should now present to you a snippet of the passages from the novel to allow you all to view on the wondrous writing style:

‘Oh stop.’ I grimace, and lay my free hands over hers. ‘How’d you like to become my agent?’

‘What’s the starting salary?’

‘Nothing.’

‘I’ll take it.’- Lady Of The Shades, Darren Shan.

This conversation made me laugh out loud and it was such a good time between the characters and the interaction was marvellous before everything began to fall between them, starting from the trust factor to the relationship factor.

Simon Dale?’ I gasped.

‘Wait,’ Andeanna interrupts. ‘The guy who killed your friend in the army?’

‘Yes.’

‘What the hell was he doing there?’- Lady Of The Shades, Darren Shan.

This was amusing as well but the tone of the novel had eclipsed over here. The story went from all sunbeams to a cryptic and dreary day in London. They were conversing on their past and the number of deaths that the characters were responsible for and how in the world they would be able to live and cope with it and what would their future hold for them?

However, the writing style was a little all over the place due to the phonetics used. Sometimes, I had to grasp what the author was trying to shed light on but other than that, I thought it was a very well-written novel.

Finally, I would love to discuss the ending of the novel. I did not like the epilogue of this novel because it ended on a note that does not make sense and it almost ruined the story for me but I thought 95% of the novel was gorgeous and the last 5% messed it up for me. Therefore, I am taking 10% away from the rating mainly because the epilogue frustrated me to no end.

Character: 4/5 Section Of The Review

Edward was a reticent person who had an obscure history and he could perceive the horrifying spirits that delved and loitered around him. He would sometimes be an absolutely vicious person when he dissed on Joe’s scars that were caught from the fire and threatened to murder the humans that were getting in his way. He had also loomed on the fact that he aspired to maltreat Daleena, a person that he loved, for not showing up on a specific occasion. I would add that he was a grey character as he knew what was wrong when it was performed and sworn not to do it again unless it was necessary. Given his violent history, it would not be surprising to see it being re-enacted on the people he loved but he definitely had some character arc that was perfect for the story.

Joe and Daleena, uprightly, I do not even know how to speak about their characters because these characters screwed me up so badly that they made everything hard to converse on. Well, I’ll try!

*sips ginger tea*

Joe was smart, witty and is obsessed with Ed’s books. He was a friend that Ed made in London and they loved to exchange plot devices and discussed on the places where Ed could visit to make a new perspective on his book. He was covered in beard because he wanted to conceal the scars that burned his body when he was younger. He does not have a character arc because he does not need it because at the end of the novel, everything will be explained and you will understand what I meant by it.

Daleena was a beautiful young lady who was also obsessed with Ed’s books, was very ‘said-to-be-naive’ and pressured. Her abusive husband often laid hands on her and she could not get away because he was part of the mafia and would find her if she had gotten away. She had a son named Greygo and would risk anything to protect him until Ed came along and she fell unconditionally in love with him and if you thought that was the end of the story, well, it’s not. Daleena was manipulative and would do anything to get what she had wanted- revenge. She plotted everything to allow her husband to be killed and framed on innocent people to escape from the crime that she had produced. Thus, I would call her a grey character as well.

Overall: The Ending

I am giving this novel an 80% rating for its combination of excitement, suspense and how clever this novel was created. However, it has its flaws and therefore, the rating. I will be checking out more of Darren Shan works as he is an absolutely fantastic writer. I think you guys should check this novel out as well! 


This is the end of my spoiler-free review for Lady Of The Shades By Darren Shan! 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

IT By Stephen King || Book Review

Hey Guys! It is Max here and I will be doing a review for ‘IT’ by Stephen King today! I bet most or maybe all of you know who Stephen King is, unless you live under a rock. So, if you really have no idea who Stephen King is, he is the author of numerous famous horror books such as The Running Man, Carrie, The Shining, etc. and all of them are successful horror novels which I originally thought that I will not read… until ‘IT’ came along and changed my mind about that thought. So, let us jump into my mini summary for ‘IT’ before we dive into the review!

IT is a Horror novel following seven kids who were named Bill, Ben, Beverly, Stan, Richie, Eddie and Mike as the place- Derry, they were living in was haunted by a creature which killed children every 27 years and it was up to them to destroy that thing- IT, they called.

Now, without further ado, let us get into the review for ‘IT’!

Disclaimer:

  • All thoughts and opinions are on my own and…
  • This is a spoiler-free review. So, feel free to stay until the end!

Image result for IT book

“Kill you all!” The clown was laughing and screaming. “Try to stop me and I’ll kill you all! Drive you crazy and then kill you all! You can’t stop me!”- IT, Stephen King.

Synopsis:

To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.

It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .

The adults, knowing better, knew nothing.

Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

My thoughts: Introduction

Let us start off with the pacing of the book. I would not say that the beginning of this novel, let’s say 300+ pages of the novel, is fast paced because those pages are for you to learn about each of the characters and how they will react to the monstrous nightmare of their childhood. However, as you venture deeper into the novel, for example: 400-500+ pages, the pacing will start to pick up and eventually, it will become neutral again. Therefore, I did not like the pacing in the beginning but loved the others besides of the beginning of the novel.

Moving on, we are now going to talk about the tone of the book. The tone which is very underrated in reviews, was very complexed and sometimes demeaning because it contained a bunch of slurs directed towards black, Jewish, and gay people which was hard to read at times but other than that, I found the book to be a great read.

Furthermore, we are now going to discuss about the scary portion of this novel. Personally, I do not find this novel to be the ‘scared-the-crap-out-of-me’ type of horror books because I have watched numerous horror movies with my family since I was a child and I am now very hard to be scared due to the reason that I have stated above. However, some scenes in the book really did scare me and I found those scenes to be fantastically written! Therefore, I am a little disappointed with the scary segment of this novel. 

Moreover, it is time to talk about the atmosphere and world building that this blockbuster had contained within its pages. So, the atmosphere of this novel was filled with mysteries of the deaths of the children in Derry and it also had this chilling vibe to it that will make you turn and look at your back while you are reading this book because you cannot stop thinking about IT in your house. Therefore, I liked how well-rounded the atmosphere of the book was.

In addition, the world-building for this book was executed perfectly! Stephen King described the town with words that appeared to be springing into live and it actually felt like I was in there with those characters instead of reading about them! Therefore, I loved how well executed the world-building was.

Moreover, we will now give voice to the plot of the novel. I found the book to be extremely intriguing because it is about this town which children are murdered every 27 years. I did, in fact, enjoy everything that was placed in this story. However, the ending set me off a little because it felt like a weak ending and there were some unexplained things, also known as plot holes, that were a major part of the story left unexplained. Therefore, I did not enjoy the plot holes but the overall plot of the book was great!

On top of that, we have the relationships that were presented in this book. Everyone in this book had a great relationship and I was glad that it was so because I really loved it when all of them were happy together. However, when I read the ending for this novel.. *sigh*… I felt that the relationships were forced and it just does not sum up to what I was expecting and I know I sound like an old man saying this but the ending felt disjointed from the rest of the novel. Therefore, I did enjoy the relationships in this book except for the ending. 

Diving deeper into the review, I discovered that there were mini illustrations in the book that I really loved because they were a great substitution to the story which I also meant by saying: making the book more livelier than it already was. So, if you have no idea what illustrations I am talking about, I will display a photo to you now:

Image result for IT by Stephen King 25th anniversary edition illustration in the book

Unfortunately, I cannot find the mini-illustrations that I wanted to show you all on the internet but the above picture is a 25th anniversary edition of ‘IT’ with colourful illustrations that I, personally, think that they are beautiful. So, I am sorry that I cannot find what I have originally intended to show you all.

Finally, I would like to share an iconic quote (which I loved) that this book had contained within its pages and the quote starts and closes off with:

“Want your boat, Georgie?’ Pennywise asked. ‘I only repeat myself because you really do not seem that eager.’ He held it up, smiling. He was wearing a baggy silk suit with great big orange buttons. A bright tie, electric-blue, flopped down his front, and on his hands were big white gloves, like the kind Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck always wore.

Yes, sure,’ George said, looking into the stormdrain.

And a balloon? I’ve got red and green and yellow and blue…’

Do they float?’

Float?’ The clown’s grin widened. ‘Oh yes, indeed they do. They float! And there’s cotton candy…’”- IT, Stephen King.

Is that quote not iconic? To me, it is and I loved it! And… Now, let us move into the audiobook section of this review!

Blink! Blink! Blink!

Sorry guys! I know I have already stated that ‘Finally’ word out, but I have one more topic that I would like to discuss before we move on with the review and what I would like to debate is the cheating element in this novel.

[Minor Spoiler coming your way]

Well, I disliked it because Bill cheated on his wife by having *a thing* with Beverly and as you can see, cheating is never a good thing and I do not see why this element had to be in the book because it just does not fit the overall story. Therefore, I am wholly dissatisfied with this element in the book.

Now, let us proceed into the Audiobook section of this review!

Audiobook:

The audiobook which was narrated by Steven Weber was fantastic! He had all sorts of emotions poured out while he was narrating the book. For example, when Beverly cried and mumbled a few words, Steven Weber was able to capture the emotions perfectly!

Also, his accents for the book were rich and strong. It just held on until the novel ended. Therefore, I loved the audiobook and I highly recommend you to listen to it while you are reading this thick novel or listen to it while you are doing the chores but I would also like to say this: The narration for Pennywise the dancing clown voice was freaking freaky and scary.

So, I will say this again, listen to the audiobook on audible!

Now, let us move into the writing section of this review!

Image result for IT gif

Writing:

“No good friends, no bad friends; only people you want, need to be with. People who build their houses in your heart.”- IT, Stephen King.

I, for once, am really surprised by the style of writing in this book! It was able to capture every scene perfectly in my mind and the visualizations in my brain were so clear that I found myself reading page after page and just.. Not stopping. Also, the descriptions were fantastic and they were part of what kept me on the edge of my seat when I was reading the book because it felt like I was there, with the characters even though I was sitting on the sofa, reading.

Furthermore, I loved the flip between their childhood and adulthood. It was truly magical because it was not confusing and everything fell right into place except for a few scenes but still, all the scenes clicked together easily with a nice clicking sound.

In addition, the writing style was not clean because there were sex scenes and a huge amount of vulgar words which did not add much to the story but they are there. So, if you are below 15 or so, you should not read this book or if you still insist on reading the book, just keep in mind that the writing style is not clean. That is all. 

Finally, I found the writing style to be very articulate and descriptive because as I have said earlier, all the scenes were represented clearly and due to the fact that they were encapsulated clearly, everything felt real. Therefore, I really liked the Stephen King’s writing style!

Now, let us get into the characters section of this review!

Characters:

“Eddie discovered one of his childhood’s great truths. Grownups are the real monsters, he thought.”- IT, Stephen King.

Bill: I do think that he was the perfect leader and the perfect protagonist because he had one of the most memorable personality among all the other personalities that he had and it was his focus and trust. Everything that he did was all according to the focus and trust of his friends because if you do not trust your friends, how are you going to defeat Pennywise? Therefore, I loved his character in this book!

Beverly: She is one of my favourite character in this book! I loved how brave she was and how she fought for her rights and although some actions that were brought out by her were stupid and inexcusable but she learned from her mistakes and that was what it took me to love her more than ever. However, there was a scene near the end of the book that she had suggested doing that I really cannot understand why and if you have read the book, you will know what scene I am talking about so.. Just a tip for the scene: pleasure. 

Eddie: I liked him enough although I think that he was the softest among his friends and he was, also, very obedient to his mother which I loved because many books had shy away from parents love for their children in the book’s plot line and I am glad that Stephen King brought it breathe life into Eddie’s mother. Therefore, I do think that he had a great personality and character!  

Richie: He was hilarious and I think, at least to me, he is the third most likable character in this book because his sincerity for Pennywise and his friends were always wandering off to somewhere and due to that fact, he had a special personality which some of you guys can relate to. So, I liked his characterization in this book! 

Mike: I did not appear until 500 pages or so into the book because Stephen King wanted to show how Bill buddies’ lives intersect with Mike and the intersection was a great part of the story (which I will not spoil). To comment more on his personalities, I thought he was friendly and sometimes, awkward because the no one was talking. Therefore, he was a remarkable character in this book!

Ben: He was gentle, curious and the only thing I did not like about him was the jealousy that he had between Bill and Beverly. I felt pretty unnecessary and I know that he liked Beverly very much but sometimes, you just have to let it go. Other than that, he was a great character! Therefore, I will give a 45/50% rating for his character.

Stanly: He did not appear much in this gigantic novel but I relished his character nevertheless because he had a down-to-earth personality that I rejoiced about in books! Thus, great element to his character!

Henry: Ew. I hated him. He was a mischievous, sinister, brutal bully who enjoyed watching people fall and he also adored abusing animals which disgusted me so badly because those people and animals were innocent and Henry just… UGH. Thus, I hated him in this book!

Pennywise: Need I say more? Okay, fine. I will just say that it had so many layers of evil personalities under its many appearances in the same skin. So, yeah. 

Overall:

I really loved the book although there were a few unnecessary scenes and some actions in which the characters had taken that I disliked but still, I  loved the book! So, my rating for IT will be given as a solid 80% and I highly recommend you to read this book if you have yet to read it!

Image result for IT gif


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