Posted in Dystopian, sci-fi

The Girl in Red

Post apocalyptic Little Red Riding Hood? I’m so down.

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a postapocalyptic take on the perennial classic “Little Red Riding Hood”…about a woman who isn’t as defenseless as she seems.

It’s not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn’t look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined.

Red doesn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods….

I loved the idea behind this book, Aliens vs Predators recreated into Little Red Riding Hood AND mixed with the Hot Zone, what more could a person want?

Red is an exemplary female role that refuses to let anybody boss her around, including her parents and snotty brother.

After the news showed that people were coming down with a mysterious sickness, Red began packing her survival pack to be prepared to leave once the apocalypse hit. Her family scoffed at her, but she ended up being the lucky one.

Her mother contracted the Cough, but was murdered along with her father by a band of racists for them being an interracial couple. They sacrificed themselves so Red and Adam (snotty brother) could escape into the woods.

Oh, and did I fail to mention that in addition to being an absolute boss, Red is also an amputee and wears a below the knee prosthetic? Even more boos-like, right?

Anyways, Adam ultimately dies from his hive mind mentality and Red is left alone in the woods with only her small axe, her back, and her own determination left to get to her grandmother’s cabin 300 miles away.

Along her journey she discovers that the Cough isn’t the only thing killing people, that the CDC had engineered a parasite that lives in a humans stomach until it is ready to burst out and kill everyone,(here’s where Alien vs Predator comes in). She also takes in 2 children (8 & 10) and kicks some fake militia butt and she eventually finds Grandma’s house.

Now, for the criticism. Henry ended the story very abruptly as if she all of a sudden tired of writing and was like “OH, here’s a nice spot to wrap it all up 25 hiking days away from grandmas in which I will supply no detail or story as to what happened! Let’s do this!” So while the book was amazing, the ending fell short. I felt as if the story could have continued on for several more chapters, maybe by getting Sirois (which sounds like Cirrhosis) to spill the beans on what the stupid “classified” information about the Cough and the alien parasite bursting out of people’s chests were? Like COME ON, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO LEAVE THAT UNEXPLAINED!? *crying face*

I give it a 3.5 flower review.

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Posted in Dystopian, sci-fi

The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind

Ok. SO. I need to start this off with the fact that this book had SO much potential and it went straight to the crapper in the last 3 chapters. INFURIATING. I read that entire book about a bad ass feminine heroine, for it to end like THAT?!

I HOPE YOU HAVE A PROFESSIONAL RACING LICENSE BECAUSE YOU’RE ABOUT TO ENCOUNTER SO MANY PLOT TWISTS.

Per NetGalley, I cannot quote the book before final publication, but let me just say this. Don’t read this book if you are a feminist. I am so bothered by one paragraph that it diminishes every other amazing thing about this book, and I’m not even super feminist.

NetGalley Synopsis:

Full of imagination, wit, and random sht flying through the air, this insane adventure from an irreverent new voice will blow your tiny mind. For Teagan Frost, sht just got real.
Teagan Frost is having a hard time keeping it together. Sure, she’s got telekinetic powers — a skill that the government is all too happy to make use of, sending her on secret break-in missions that no ordinary human could carry out. But all she really wants to do is kick back, have a beer, and pretend she’s normal for once.
But then a body turns up at the site of her last job — murdered in a way that only someone like Teagan could have pulled off. She’s got 24 hours to clear her name – and it’s not just her life at stake. If she can’t unravel the conspiracy in time, her hometown of Los Angeles will be in the crosshairs of an underground battle that’s on the brink of exploding

Super intriguing, right? Yeah, I thought so too, who wouldn’t want super powers? Also, in the book it’s only every referred to as psychokinetic, so I’m not sure if this is a mistake in the synopsis or what.

Jackson Ford,

Never again make a book end with a woman this powerful deciding she should wait around for a man to love her. Talk about a REALLY crappy ending to an otherwise phenomenal book. This is also written at a wrong time for women who are actively having their rights taken away. I doubt the publication time was intentional by any means, but as a woman, I suggest that entire paragraph be taken out before publication. Because it is crap. Teagan has survived so much that she can be perfectly content without a man in her life that cannot accept her for who she is.

I am not a big enough person to move past this issue, so I give the book a 2.5 flower rating of 5.

Posted in Historical Fiction

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (Thank you Morgan)

Goodreads Synopsis: A folksy, funny and endearing story of life in a small town in Alabama in the Depression and in the 1980s. However, the novel’s laughter and tears are interrupted by a strange murder and a still stranger trial.

I have to say, though I dearly love the fantasy genre, I was beginning to get a bit burned out on dragons and unicorns. I found the “back to reality” book I needed in Fannie Flag’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

A few months ago, my friend Morgan suggested that we do a book swap of one of our favorite books. Her being her brilliant self sent me Flagg’s book. I have to admit, I was leery at first because it WASN’T a fantasy novel, BUT, of course, it turned out to be the book I needed.

Flagg sets the scene in Rose Terrace Nursing home with Ninny Threadgoode, temporary resident of the home, and Evelyn, weekly visitor of her mother-in-law, who subsequently got ditched so that Evelyn could spend more time with Ninny.

Through Ninny’s stories and weekly sweet treats, Evelyn learned about the small town of Whistle Stop, Alabama, and is taken away on a journey through time, that leads her to also go on a personal journey for herself.

Fried Green Tomatoes was a delight to read, and is now on my Favorite books list of all time. (An ever growing list, of course, so don’t try and ask me what number it is on the list).

I give it Five Green Tomatoes. (Thanks Mo!)

ALSO.

Image belongs to artist.
Posted in Fantasy

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Goodreads Synopsis:

“In the early 1900s, a young woman searches for her place in the world and the mystery behind a magical door in this captivating debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world, and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own. “

Alix E. Harrow has written the story that my soul has been waiting for. Per rules of being allowed access to an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC), I am not allowed to share any quotes, but people, consider buying this book once it has been released in September. Pre-order it now (I have attached a link to the bottom of this post). It is an epic tale of discovery, betrayal, homecoming, belief, and magic that will have you pausing every few pages to fully absorb the tale that you have become so immersed in.

I will not be posting a spoiler-y synopsis of my views, or give any great detail about the events that occur in this book, so you, reader, will have to take my word for it and trust me when I say that this tale is 1,000,000,000& worth it.

I tend to be the reader that plows through a book with attempts to finish it in one sitting, never savoring the words, but The Ten Thousand Doors of January forced me to slow down and feel every word written.

I have read some amazing books, fantastic books, heart wrenching books, in my time, but never one that has captivated me so fully as Harrow’s.

5 Flowers.
Posted in Biography, Humor

Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay

Alright. I’m not even going to review this book outside of the Goodreads review. What I’m going to do is provide a few of my favorite quotes below, and if those aren’t enough to convince you to read this book, then you’re sorely missing out.

Warning: this post include some crude but amusing quotes. Read at your own discretion.

Goodreads Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author and star of 2 Dope Queens , Phoebe Robinson, comes a new, hilarious, and timely essay collection on gender, race, dating, and a world that seems to always be a self-starting Dumpster fire.

Wouldn’t it be great if life came with an instruction manual? Of course, but like access to Michael B. Jordan’s house, none of us are getting any. Thankfully, Phoebe Robinson is ready to share everything she’s experienced in hopes that if you can laugh at her topsy-turvy life, you can laugh at your own.

Written in her trademark unfiltered and singularly witty style, Robinson’s latest essay collection is a call to arms. She tackles a wide range of topics, such as giving feminism a tough love talk in hopes it can become more intersectional; telling society’s beauty standards to kick rocks; and demanding that toxic masculinity close its mouth and legs (enough with the manspreading already!), and get out of the way so true progress can happen.

Robinson also gets personal, exploring debt she has hidden from her parents, how dating is mainly a warmed-over bowl of hot mess, and maybe most importantly, meeting Bono not once, but twice. She’s struggled with being a woman with a political mind and a woman with an ever-changing jean size. She knows about trash not only because she sees it every day, but also because she’s seen about one hundred thousand hours of reality TV and zero hours of Schindler’s List.

Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay is a candid perspective for a generation that has had the rug pulled out from under it too many times to count, as well as an intimate conversation with a new best friend.

“Harassment is not just about harming you that one time; it’s about lingering around for every time afterwards and chipping away at you without you realizing it.”

“Not to get all Game of Thrones on ya, but you can call me Phoebe of the House Robinson, First of Her Name, the Blerd, Drinker of Rose and Also Chardonnay when Rose Is Not An Option, Khaleesi of Ignorance, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Trash.”

“It was so hot that I get why the devil leaves hell to take an Airbnb vacation to the polar ice caps and melts them because he’s mad at living in such a hot-ass home.”

@bodyposipanda
If you haven’t heard of her, look up her amazing story.

“…women are conditioned to waste hours, days, weeks, months (although, truth be told, it’s most likely years) doubting, undermining, and ultimately hating parts, if not all, of themselves based solely on “problems” with their bodies that can be solved by buying products from an industry that invented these problems in the first place. How fucking convenient. And when all is said and done, what is the prize for this self-torture? Fitting neatly within society’s destructive narrative about the female body.”

“For some women, the mere thought of a dong makes their vajeens let out the driest of coughs.”

4.5 Sunflower Rating’
Posted in Fantasy, Mystery

Wild Beauty

Goodreads Synopsis:

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and fam

ily.

If any of you readers have ever seen Stephen King’s Rose Red, Wild Beauty definitely gave off those same creepy vibes. Rose Red is a mansion with a mind of its own, much like the land of La Pradera. CREEEPPYYYYYY. I didn’t sleep for a HOT minute after watching Rose Red.

All the women in the Nomeolvides family are named for flowers. Calla, Gloria, Azalea, Dalia, except for Estrella. She is named for the stars. All these women are cursed with the power to grow flowers at will, except for Estrella, whose blue borraja flowers grow through her rafters as she sleeps. Her power is wild and unpredictable, and her family is wary.

The Nomeolvides were tormented for years accused of being witches because of their green thumbs, but they eventually met the Briar family, who in exchange for them tending their barren land, allowed the Nomeolvides to stay and make La Pradera their home.

It comes to light that all 5 cousins, are in love with the same person, a young woman named Bay Briar, the bastard of the family banished to La Pradera as punishment for her bloodlines. La Pradera takes those that the Nomeolvides women love, so in attempts to save Bay from the curse, all the girls give up their favorite items to the land as offerings. La Pradera is their god.

In return for their offerings, the land game them back a boy, Fel. He appeared where Estrella had buried her offering. With Fel’s help, the mystery of the evil land is solved, and all is made well.

Wild Beauty is not a book I would normally read. I picked it up as a cover buy and because it was the OwlCrate edition. McLemore writes in a very lyrical style and her words are very poetic. I prefer straightforward text, but McLemore’s style allowed for a change of pace to my typical reading.

I love that all 5 main characters are atypical in their love interests and that they are such empowering women. There are very few men in this story since all of them are destined to disappear if a Nomeolvide falls in love with them, so the women have had to adapt and learn to be self sufficient and rely on themselves. Their lives and family are their responsibility, not that to be shared between a male partner.

Besides, women appear to be the only safe choice for love as no female lover has ever been taken by La Pradera.

I would recommend this book to fantasy lovers, but also to those who love flowery writing (pun fully intended). McLemore’s writing is absolutely beautiful. It is not an over the top, “must recommend to every living soul”, kind of book, but with that being said, it is still worth it if you’re looking for a different sort of story.

Posted in Dystopian

Four Dead Queens

Holy cow. Amazing.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A divided nation. Four Queens. A ruthless pickpocket. A noble messenger. And the murders that unite them.

Get in quick, get out quicker.

These are the words Keralie Corrington lives by as the preeminent dipper in the Concord, the central area uniting the four quadrants of Quadara. She steals under the guidance of her mentor Mackiel, who runs a black market selling their bounty to buyers desperate for what they can’t get in their own quarter. For in the nation of Quadara, each quarter is strictly divided from the other. Four queens rule together, one from each region:

Toria: the intellectual quarter that values education and ambition
Ludia: the pleasure quarter that values celebration, passion, and entertainment
Archia: the agricultural quarter that values simplicity and nature
Eonia: the futurist quarter that values technology, stoicism and harmonious community

When Keralie intercepts a comm disk coming from the House of Concord, what seems like a standard job goes horribly wrong. Upon watching the comm disks, Keralie sees all four queens murdered in four brutal ways. Hoping that discovering the intended recipient will reveal the culprit – information that is bound to be valuable bartering material with the palace – Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, to complete Varin’s original job and see where it takes them.

Scholte has created a world like no other. While giving off Hunger Games and Divergent vibes due to the separation of the countries people, Scholte allowed for pure motives in the Queens that rule, rather than the typical conniving nature seen in the previously mentioned series.

Keralie is the daughter of sailors who’s hearts belong to the sea, but she hates it with every fiber of her being and chooses instead to become a famed pickpocket and thief, the very best Mackiel has ever seen. Too bad Mackiel is a literal piece of crap.

Mackiel manipulates Keralie and then proceeds to frame her for the murder of all four queens. Brilliant, but stupid. You don’t mess with Keralie.

With the help of Varin and an investigator, they uncover that comm disks that Keralie swallowed were ones from the black market that allow the person who ingested them to be controlled like a puppet.

I don’t want to give away too much more, BUT this book is incredible. It kept me on my toes and genuinely surprised me with it’s twists and turns. After reading so many books, it becomes easy to predict where the plot will go, but not Four Dead Queens.

5 Flower Rating. Just read it.

Posted in Mystery

Annie Collins Mystery(s)

I recently traveled abroad and downloaded a plethora of Kindle books to read on my flights. I chose to read Mad Hatter’s Son assuming it was another spin-off of Alice in Wonderland and I could not have been more wrong.

Annie Collins is an OR nurse with an ex best friend that is an artist who married rich and subsequently forgot her existence, until she got sick. Typical, right? Libby calls Annie up one day asking for personal care because she was ill and nobody, including her husband, wanted to help her. Annie reluctantly agrees, but soon finds herself in some deeeeeep crap.

Libby isn’t ill in the traditional manner… She spurned an ex lover by letting herself become pregnant with a different lover’s child, while still being married to her husband. Libby is being poisoned by said ex lover. Libby turns up dead due to drug overdose, not from the poison, and now Annie is on a mission to find out what happened.

Amidst all this drama, Annie meets Ian Patterson and falls in love. He’s perfect, despite her beautiful lawyer neighbor being 10x more perfect than Ian *rolls eyes*.

Ian=horrible man, the worst kind of man. The king of manipulation. He is the spurned lover, is responsible for poison, the murder of Libby, the murder of the baby’s father, and the murder of a homeless man he hired as a hit-man to kill the baby’s father.

(Guess how he poisons Libby? That’s right. Tea. He had her favorite tea shipped to her doorstep once a month. That’s the one key comparison to Alice. Tea. And that he’s mad. He doesn’t make or sell hats. )

BUT.

He was seen. By a homeless woman with developmental delays.

Turns out Mad Hatter’s Son sounds like “Patterson” to the mentally disabled and from here on out the mystery is solved.

Ian is caught, Annie is borderline about to fall in love with the hottie neighbor, Angel (appropriately named), and all seems well? Nope.

Ian stalks from prison and makes Annie’s life a living hell.

Starbuck’s novels are your typical quick romances/mysteries that can be read in an hour or two is you sit down and read them. They aren’t captivating material that will explode the internet, but for what it’s worth, I found them pretty entertaining.

Posted in Mystery

The Wicked Deep

I recently finished The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. I have to say, I was bored for a while. I was interested enough to continue with the story, but I wasn’t invested in the characters by any means..until I met Hazel.

The book is set in the small harbor town of Sparrow. The legend of the Swan Sisters runs rampant every year after the school year ends as it marks the beginning of Swan Season. 200 years prior, the Swan Sisters were sentenced to death and drowned in the harbor for being “witches.” Really, the towns women were jealous that their husbands were intrigued by the beautiful sisters.

Women, scold your men, don’t drown innocent women.

During the Swan Season, Sparrow is filled with tourists waiting to watch the curse of the sisters unfold. The legend says the sisters return each summer and inhabit the bodies of 3 of the girls from the town. The girls then choose at least 1 boy from the town to be their victim. They boy is found dead, drowned, in the harbor after coming in to contact with any of the girls inhabited by a Swan sister.

Marguerite is the first to strike, hating the people of Sparrow more than the others. Aurora is greedy, she’s known to take 2 boys at once so they can spend eternity with her in the murky harbor. Hazel takes 1 boy at random, but this season is different.

I love that Ernshaw chose to make one of the sisters want to stop being vengeful. Hazel decides that it is time for the Sister’s curse on the town to be over. For 3 consecutive years, she has chosen to inhabit Penny Talbot, the daughter of the Lighthouse owner that disappeared 3 years prior, that lives on the small Lumiere Island. Hazel’s former love, Owen, once lived on Lumiere Island, but he chose to drown with her on the day of her murder.

On the island she meets Bo, a young man that Penny offered shelter too in exchange for help maintaining the island. Hazel falls in love with Bo, Bo falls in love with “Penny.” Bo is in Sparrow to discover who drowned his brother, Kyle, the previous summer

To make a long blog post short, Bo finds out that Penny is Hazel, that Hazel killed Penny’s father as well as Bo’s brother, and that somehow, he is still capable of loving her. Hazel decides to end the curse once and for all by drowning herself and asking Bo to drag Penny’s body from the water afterwards so that she might live..

Ernshaw’s unexpected twist in her story by exposing Penny to be Hazel was a smart strategic move. I am also impressed that she chose to let Bo stay in love with Hazel. Overall. Ernshaw was able to turn my viewpoint from barely a 3 star read to a solid 4 star, or should I say 4 Swan read?? Moon read?? Oh, well, y’all get the point.

Well done.