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Icarus_Mark

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PostSubject: Book Reviews   Tue May 09, 2017 6:15 pm

Partly inspired by Dan's Horror Movie Review thread and seeing as how I can check out books from the public library now, I'll read a book and then once I'm finished, I'll give my thoughts on each book. If this gains any traction after the first time I review, I'll keep on going.

As of right now, I am reading Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon as that's what I checked out yesterday. Once I finish, I'll review it here and give it a score on the same scale I used to do for Idol games on IMDb.
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Merriska



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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue May 09, 2017 6:17 pm

Book reviews <3.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue May 09, 2017 7:10 pm

what kinds of books do you read?
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue May 09, 2017 8:03 pm

If you have any to contribute Merriska, feel free!

Also, Turner, I'd already said what I was reading lol
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue May 09, 2017 9:04 pm

I will, though if I'm inspired enough to write one it's probably negative lol
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed May 10, 2017 10:59 pm

I'm currently reading American Gods. Not even because of the show (although I do totally want to watch the show when I'm done reading it) it's just coincidental, Murr and I were discussing places and I was telling him about the House on the Rock, and on the wikipedia page I saw that it was a plot point in a book and I thought it sounded interesting, so I got a copy at work. I'll let you guys know my thoughts when I finish.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Thu May 11, 2017 1:19 pm

Sounds good Cherry Smile Actually, that reminds me of when I read through Cloud Atlas and then went out of my way to watch the movie afterward. lol
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed May 17, 2017 9:47 am

Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Chapters: 18 (Plus a Prologue and an Epilogue)

Pages: 464

WARNING: This review MAY contain spoilers! If you are planning on reading this book and do not want to be spoiled, please do proceed this review with contain!


So during the weekend, I was able to finish out the book I had been reading, which was interesting to say the least. Infinity is about this boy who starts out living a normal life (that is, if said normal life consisted of being poor as all get-out). He gets picked on at his school and his mom struggles to make ends meet as she works at a strip club and does not take being talked back to very well. Basically, the boy in question, named Nick Gautier, has the worst day ever, which culminates in him being betrayed by the people he had once called his friends.

From there, Nick’s life changes. Now instead of dealing with getting bullied in school, he has to deal with the likes of demons, zombies, werewolves, and vampires. Now, the main problems he deals with in the book are the demons and especially the zombies! To be honest, this is a bit hard to digest all at once. So I’m being tasked to read about some teen dealing with all sorts of supernatural beings all in one book? That… seems like a little much to me. Basically, it’s ALL one gigantic turn when you really think about it because the most threatening violence before the story really begins he deals with is actually much more real in the sense that it’s what we have to deal with in the real world and so the beginning seems to be a LOT darker than the rest of the book.

Another thing I am being tasked to read about is how it all works. For example, do you seriously expect me to take in that zombies can be created from a video game? I bet Rick, Michonne, Daryl, and the rest of The Walking Dead people are going to have a lot of fun believing THAT! At least the book bothers to explain how this process works, and, strangely enough, how it gets cured (in this case, getting electrocuted from a 1,000,000-volt cattle prod will reverse the zombification and return you to normal). Unfortunately, how it all works out is part of what makes me tend to believe I am reading an adult episode of The Fairly OddParents. Other rules in this universe have so far made me believe this already, but yeah, that was a big factor. Also, considering I cheer for the Atlanta Falcons in football, that bit about the New Orleans Saints in the book made me cringe. I mean, I know the book takes place in New Orleans, but still. If there’s one other Super Bowl I wish never existed if I couldn’t choose that Patriots comeback that happened this year, I would erase from existence the fact that the New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl XLIV, the year right after I got out of high school no less. Just seeing anyone talk about the Saints like that I just cannot in good conscience stand considering the football team I cheer for.

Speaking of universes, this book may be Book One of a series called The Chronicles of Nick, but The Chronicles of Nick itself is actually a spin-off series of a much larger series called the Dark-Hunters Universe, kind of like how movies like the Captain America movies are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Just keep that in mind.

So as Book One of a spin-off series, I can actually excuse the fact that there are some elements of the book I am willing to forgive. For example, there are characters like Nekoda, Brynna, and some others who I feel would actually be interesting characters, but yeah they don’t really get a whole lot of character development in Infinity. Also, as I actually am interested enough to give at least 1 sequel a try, I will be interested to see how Nick’s history is so important to him and to further explore the dynamics of the lives his parents have had. Same with his uncle named Ambrose, who is introduced over halfway into the book and I’m not given a lot of time to fully care for him, yet care for him enough that I would like to see more of him too.

Now, despite the book acting like it’s on acid, it is because of this that I really like some characters since they fit right in with the whole trope. Simi, for example, is a demonic vixen who talks in third-person and, strangely enough, likes to eat everything once it is coated in barbecue sauce. One might think that’s weird, but it’s actually why I love Simi. Bubba is another one because he makes me laugh. He’s hilariously over-the-top because he’s a gaming addict who prepares for the zombie apocalypse, yet he also is a HUGE fan of Oprah to the point where he threatens anyone who interrupts him watching Oprah by getting shot. And of course there’s Mark, who covers himself in duck urine to protect himself from zombies, Caleb who’s the literal definition of an anti-hero (which, for being the starting high school quarterback, is really cool and badass), and also Nick’s mom, Cherise Gautier, is one of the most memorable characters in Infinity. Basically, if anyone makes Cherise mad, you WILL know about it and you WILL regret every moment of it. She stands toe-to-toe with full-on demons while only being a human being who has to strip just to make ends meet, which actually makes her very badass if I do say so myself.

Overall, the book isn’t really even a bad book. It’s interesting. It has its flaws and does feel all over the place at times, but there’s enough weirdness to actually help the book a lot too. It’s definitely not the worst choice to read coming back into the library scene, and I will be reading the next book at the bare minimum, but for a rating, I will have to give this a 6.5/10 simply because its numerous times the book has felt out of place. If you want to read young adult, then by all means, give this a try, but definitely don’t take this book too seriously or you’ll wish you didn’t take it seriously.



Now, with this review, I would have actually had this yesterday, but because I've been dealing with laptop malfunctionitis since Saturday night, I had to wait until I had the link to come back here from Tengaged. Thankfully the laptop didn't do this to me earlier or that would have been a serious problem, but yeah, I'm going to have to get a lot of stuff done from the library for the time being.

Speaking of, I am currently reading 2 books I just checked out. One is on a 14-day Loan, so I will try and get the 14-day book read first so that should be my next review.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed May 17, 2017 1:01 pm

This plot sounds pretty wtf and I hate zombies, but some of the characters sound pretty awesome. Badass stripper mom standing toe to toe with demons <3. Nice review Mark.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Mon May 22, 2017 3:32 pm

Level Grind by Annie Bellet

Chapters: 58 (divided into 4 novellas and does NOT include the Sneak Peek at the sequel)

Pages: 459 (again, NOT including the sneak peek at the end of the book; with sneak peek, page count increases to 470)

WARNING: This review MAY contain spoilers! If you are planning on reading this book and do not want to be spoiled, please do proceed this review with contain!


So after going through Infinity last time, I checked out 2 more library books, one of which was a 14-day Loan since it was new to the library. This is that book on the 14-Day Loan. So let’s get into what Level Grind and how it fared.

So Level Grind is actually really Volume 1 of a series called The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, a series centralized on a nerdy sorceress known as Jade Crow! She runs a store that deals with comic books and video games. Basically, her shop is a gamer’s paradise. This is set in a town called Wylde, Idaho. Now, I have never been to Idaho myself, and I don’t imagine Idaho is something I’ve read about much, so I was excited to see a fairly new place to at least read about, and the fact it centers around a gamer sorceress helped sell me in on checking out the book. However, she lives in this town in Idaho because she has been on the run from her psychotic ex-boyfriend called Samir, an evil sorcerer who wants to rip her out, eat it, and through chowing down her heart, gain her powers. Also, this guy apparently can detect when his prey uses magic like some magic-detecting machine, so to try and avoid Samir finding her, Jade tries her best to never use magic.

Level Grind is actually divided into 4 novellas, so I will break my review down by taking apart each of the novellas on its own merit. The first of these novellas is called Justice Calling, and quite honestly, the title fits as the love interest, Aleksei Kirov or Alek for short, just so happens to be a “Justice” in a Council of Nine and represents the people who can shift into tigers. In Justice Calling, Jade gets accused of being a murderer right at the beginning and that in of itself was interesting even though Jade isn’t really a “murderer” or at least does not come across as such.
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Honestly, after the first chapter, I wasn’t really impressed with the first novella at all. In fact, it felt rather dry, but it was a nice introduction to Jade and many of the major characters we see throughout the whole volume. It was the shortest novella in the entire book, ending at Page 80 and spanning only 11 chapters, so if done right, I could have read this on the first day without much effort. However, it took me a second day to actually get through this volume, further signifying how dry Justice Calling really was. I will say that
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WAS rather satisfying and satisfyingly ironic! Oh, and
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I’ll give the novella a 5/10 because of its redeeming qualities, but it was much too dry for me to give it any higher.

The second volume, which goes from Page 87 to Page 185 and spans 12 chapters, is called Murder of Crows, named as such because Jade goes back to her origins in this volume, which is a Native American tribe who can shift into crows. Let’s just say that Jade was NOT pleased with going back there as apparently when she was 14 years old, the chief exiled her because she was not a crow shifter. Initially, I was just as bored reading the beginning of this as I was reaing Justice Calling, and I began to feel like Level grind itself did not feel like a book at all, but more of a network drama you’d watch on TV. In more ways than one, I questioned to myself if I had really wanted to finish the book or not because I was quite slow making progress in Level Grind. Yes, in George R. R. Martin’s A Clash of Kings, I was pretty bored with the first 400 pages of the book or so, but after that, it REALLY got interesting AND I already knew I would see that book through since Game of Thrones was such a masterpiece that there didn’t need to be much worry in Clash of Kings. Level Grind didn’t have anything remotely close to that advantage, and if the first installment had felt underwhelming, that was usually never a good sign for a series. Thankfully, Level Grind FINALLY began to wake up in the 6th chapter of Murder of Crows and I found myself turning the page quite a bit once I got to the 2nd novella’s 6th chapter, making Murder of Crows overall feel like an improvement over its preceding installment. I will say that this did feel somewhat predictable in many ways, especially towards the end because I had known the outcomes were going to come without needing to read ahead. If you can predict the ending so easily, you’ve a lot of work to adjust. But the fact that I really began to appreciate the volume here really boosts my score of Murder of Crows, improving it to a 6/10.

The third volume was Pack of Lies, and right from the beginning I had known it would be approached much more differently than the first 2 novellas that came before it. Here, wolves get murdered and in an attempt to disturb a Peace set between the wolves and their packs. Let’s just say a lot happens in this installment, which is fitting since it is the longest of the 4 in Level Grind, both in page count (starting at 191 and ending at 329) AND in chapters (a count of 18). It is chaotic in that so much happens in it because except for Jade, no one’s really safe. From
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many characters are faced with scenarios in which they end up getting close calls with death. Crazy stuff! It also is the first hint that the Council Alek works for is not exactly the goody two-shoes that might have been first-thought as the main villain in Pack of Lies is actually also a Justice in the Council just like Alek, but this time representing the wolves. This volume also introduces characters such as Brie, who owns a bakery that is right next door to the shop that Jade runs, Tess, who is the point-of-view character in the last chapter of this installment, and is the first time we actually get to see Samir, in thanks to the POV chapter for Tess! This was actually a really good novella and was actually the only one in the entire volume I had finished on the first day of reading despite it being the longest in the volume. It wasn’t perfect, but it really was great installment, so I give Pack of Lies 9/10!

The fourth and final novella of Level Grind is Hunting Season and spans 17 chapters from page 335 all the way to the end of the book proper in page 459. Hunting Season might be the most character development-heavy novella in the book, giving a lot of depth as to who Tess is and what she does. It also introduces Yosemite, the Archivist, unicorns, vampires, and gives more information on some other characters introduced in previous installments such as Brie. A third thing that makes the installment stand out is that it is the first time the book ventures outside the state of Idaho in its present form as there is a segment in which Jade has to go over to Seattle to read a book that teaches her some more magic. What really interests me personally that I REALLY did not expect though is that after reading this book, I know now that Dragon Ball Z’s franchise is not the only place where “Kamehameha” exists as a power that deals heavy damage! In this series, Kamehameha is a purple energy ball that can knock down and defeat giants (in this case, a rocky behemoth that looks like a mix of a rhinoceros, turtle, and some kind of insect?)! The end of the volume is really sad too as there is tragedy about 20 pages from the end that really had me feeling for the characters here. BUT I have to take points off here because a lot of what happens at the end of this installment AND volume suffers from being some of the most predictable outcomes ever!
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See, Hunting Season fails in that it is PAINFULLY predictable and that just isn’t fair considering it was a great novella otherwise. I have to drop this 4th novella down to a 7/10.

As a whole, Level Grind had its ups and downs. There were many places in which it was predictable, but it did a lot of things right as well. For instance, I LOVED the heavy-handed references this book gave, and it made sense as the main character is a geek! Jade is a girl, who in many ways, I can really relate to as I grew up around video games myself! Now, Dungeons and Dragons may be the most referenced game in the book, and although I have no intent on playing Dungeons and Dragons, it is totally fine because there were a lot of other video games and such that I DID play or watch and it really connected to me on a personal level! The rule on the sorcerers and sorceresses can be a bit disturbing to those with a light heart, but I think it’s actually pretty unique although I do see how it can gross people out! While there were those painfully predictable parts in the book, I am also fascinated enough that I might very well give its sequel a try as well. And yeah, the slow beginnings of the books were a MAJOR problem, I do see in myself that I can be a bit hard on books in the beginning because I need time to really get invested in a book to really read it through to the end. It was the same with books such as Cloud Atlas and the A Clash of Kings I talked about earlier, so I guess as long as the next volume of novellas are still interesting to not give me the slow treatment, I might be able to forgive the slow beginnings of Level grind even more. I think a 7/10 would be the best rating for this book, especially since that is a rounded number from the scores I gave the novellas.

Hope you all enjoyed the review and see you on the next one!
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Merriska



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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Mon May 22, 2017 6:03 pm

Torn on how I'd like this. On one hand, Native American gamer girls <3. On the other hand, eating hearts D:
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Mon May 22, 2017 9:33 pm

Principles of Macroeconomics - I do not recommend it. Sleep
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue May 23, 2017 1:46 pm

Yeah Merriska, you'd need to get past the eating people's hearts aspect to really get into the flow, but I think besides that it's a fine book, hence why I was generous and gave it a 7.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed May 24, 2017 12:45 pm

Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Chapters: 19 (Plus an Epilogue)

Pages: 420

WARNING: This review MAY contain spoilers! If you are planning on reading this book and do not want to be spoiled, please do proceed this review with contain!


So as I did say in my review for Infinity, I would read at least 1 sequel. Well, the first sequel in the Chronicles of Nick is called Invincible, so named because it deals with a key element in the story’s plot.

The book picks up where Infinity left off, starting the morning right after the zombie attack in the previous book. Right away, there is a BIG confirmation at the beginning of the book that we kind of already knew about if we paid enough attention to the last book. However, that doesn’t play a huge role in the book as there are other elements in play.

One big thing that happens is that
Spoiler:
 
which we could kind of already guess because it was set up from the epilogue of the first book. What this leads to though are new locations in the Chronicles of Nick that were not really seen in the last book at all. But it’s a SPECIAL place in that a lot of shifters and what have you are in this new place called the Sanctuary.

The big one that you should probably remember for this book though is DEATH itself! Yep! The very entity of Death, the Grim Reaper itself, is a character in this book, but in the book, he’s called Grim. In this particular book, since Grim is not allowed to kill Nick, he instead becomes a new teacher for Nick. To be precise, Grim is Nick’s pendulum teacher, which is intended to be useful for Nick to be able to pick up the ability of dowsing. Grim’s character is pretty zany and I like how he gets annoyed so easily, but at the same time, Grim to me seems a bit… one-dimensional. He doesn’t get too much screentime here in Invincible, but I have a feeling we’ll be seeing him again in future installments provided I read that far.

The story is more focused on the fact that Nick gets a new principal and a new coach, and suffice to say that this new coach is the main villain of this book. Basically, this new coach, named Coach Walter Devus (we’ll just call him Devus for the sake of this review), blackmails Nick into stealing items for the coach or else Devus sends Nick to jail. This is actually really serious here BECAUSE
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However, something about Devus really alerts Nick into thinking something is off, and so many of his friends from the last book, such as Mark and Madaug, are called upon to investigate the whereabouts of Devus. It’s once the whole puzzle of Devus is solved that the book really comes full-circle, which is a great thing because it sticks with the main problem the book is throwing to the audience. Other dangers lurk Nick as well, a new one of which are called Fringe Hunters, demonic bounty hunters who target a specific person and hunt tooth and nail for them. In one chapter of the book, a fight in his school happens between returnee character Caleb Malphas and one of the Fringe Hunters, leading to a key development in Nekoda’s character that was missing from the last book. It is also in that instance that Nick truly begins to learn what his destiny might hold, which is important if I choose to go into further installments of the Chronicles of Nick. There is also necromancy in the book, so keep that in mind if you are reading this series and get to this book.

Invincible keeps much of the zany aspects it had in Infinity, but this time around, it makes a LOT more sense. I can wrap my head around this book better than I ever could with Infinity, so that is a BIG plus! Instead of a video game turning people into zombies, we deal with something that’s a lot more concrete, like what happens with Coach Devus and what he’s really up to. I do wish I got to see more of Simi because she was SUCH a hoot in the last book and really adds a lot of flavor to the Chronicles of Nick. However, we do get to see more of other characters. Casey Woods, who is the head high school cheerleader, was only in one scene in the last book, but she plays a bigger role here and while she can be cringeworthy at times, it is good to see some of what she is. We also get to learn more about Bubba, including why it is that he is such a HUGE fan of Oprah. Apparently,
Spoiler:
 
So in these senses, I guess Simi’s relative absence is forgivable here although I WOULD like to see more of Simi.

Invincible I actually got through relatively quickly after finishing Level Grind, so it’s a true testament on how successful of a sequel this book really is. I do wish the chapters didn’t always start on odd pages, which is one thing Infinity has over this book, but it’s very minor and I can get past it. Actually, speaking OF Level Grind, there is one aspect of this book that reminded me of that other book, and it’s what happens when the heart gets separated from the body. I mean, no, nobody eats anyone’s hearts in Invincible, but a heart getting trapped inside of a carrying case is a connection I have noticed. Overall, this is a considerably better book than the previous book, although less quotable. I think I feel very comfortable giving this book an 8/10 and I would recommend if you have read the first book. Like the first book, this should be taken in a light approach and not in a more serious one.

Hope you all enjoyed the review and see you in the next one!

Also, I have my new laptop ordered and in Expedited Shipping. I only had to pay $91, and it’s a downgrade from Windows 10 back to a 7, but it’s actually the same computer as the one I had, so I don’t have to get anything else for it, thank God! But it will really be a help once I get what I need. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Sat May 27, 2017 9:17 am

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

Chapters: 233 (Chapters are numbered in prime numbers, NOT the traditional format, so the ACTUAL number is closer to 50; however, the last chapter in the book is numbered 233 because that is the last prime number used)

Pages: 268

WARNING: This review may contain spoilers from the book.  Those who wish to read this book after the review, please proceed the review with caution.  You have been advised!


Normally, the books I read and movies I prefer watching fall under the genres of sci-fi or action, and with reading, I’ll extend into horror as well.  This time around, I chose to go ahead and try to step out of my comfort zone, and a good place I find to do that is in a murder mystery.  When I was in my 8th grade year, I came across this book that is centered on a detective with elements of horror mixed into it from what I could remember.  I know it was called Brimstone, written by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, and I remember really enjoying that book.  I figured if I could enjoy one murder mystery, maybe I could enjoy another.  When I found this book, I looked at the book and saw that the synopsis explains this being about a murder mystery being about a kid with Asperger’s Syndrome and is someone who is really good at maths and sciences.  Considering I’ve dealt with Asperger’s myself and considering that math was always my strongest subject, this actually made me think “You know what?  Maybe I can relate to this kid” and picked the book up.  I also saw that this won the “Whitbread Book of the Year”, so that helped me make the decision to give it a try as well.

So going into the book, the expectations were that this boy, Christopher, was going to find out in a dangerous trek to go and find out who killed this poodle who was named Wellington, kind of like an actual murder mystery.  Actually, in the opening chapter (Chapter 2), the book is actually written as if it is going to be a murder mystery.  As detectives are known to be clever people, I can applaud that the book did not use the traditional numbering format.  Instead, and I didn’t notice this at first because I kind of just looked at how many chapters I was going to be up against, the chapters are numbered using prime numbers.  That I actually found to be really clever, just like a detective might be.  Another thing that is clever about this book is that it is written in the POV of that of the boy afflicted with Asperger’s (judging by the narration, it’s a more severe case than mine ever was growing up although it does share some viewpoints I probably had growing up and might still have today).  Granted, it’s not something I notice at first, but it’s picked up on pretty quickly.

Despite that, if you’re one of those Hear Me Roar people that will berate anyone who disliked the book, fine, but hear me out.  This book has its ups and downs, and boy are the downs BIG here!

One of the first problems I had encountered with this book came up almost as quickly as the fact this is told in an autistic POV.  When I read about half the chapters, I notice some things about the content in some of the chapters and I realize that it has nothing to do with the mystery at all!  Rather, they are about other random stuff such as why Christopher finds jokes to be confusing, prime numbers, what he plans to do with his life after he turns 18, etc.  Like great, you have great aspiring plans for your future, and you should totally go for them, but this has nothing to do with the story.  Can we stick to the story at hand here?  It isn’t my biggest complaint though because I do have an idea as to why some of the chapters are like this.  There are some chapters that are flashbacks.  That’s fine because countless other pieces of work use flashbacks to help tell their story.  Also, some of these chapters help develop Chris and round out precisely who this boy is.  I wish this was done another way rather than have some of the chapters look like completely unrelated jargon, but c’est la vie.  They also do sometimes bring in a welcoming break from the tension in the story, but it does it for the wrong reasons.  It’s like a TV Show ending the show at the best part and the following commercial is a stark contrast to the show, yet the commercial is one of the easiest going commercials you’ve ever watched on TV.  Leaves you disappointed, but at least you have some kind of consolation to help cushion the blow.

But this also leads to another problem I had with the book, and that’s that although I can definitely relate to Christopher, there are times where I just find that his way of thinking makes me uncomfortable.  Now, call me an evil bastard or what have you, but there are parts of the book where Christopher acts smug and careless.  I’ve had some of these some tendencies myself and still have them, but not to the degree that he did.  He acts entitled in trying to figure out who killed Wellington when he goes asking his neighbors and when stating that he does not believe in God.  Like, good, you’re writing a book and you believe in evolution, but you’re going about it the wrong way!  There are times where it is best to just mind your own business or keep your beliefs to yourself so that you don’t come across as preachy.  However, just like the previous problem, it’s not that bad of a gripe.  Like I said, I can relate to Chris in some other ways.  For example, I am also someone who is not a HUGE fan of my food touching each other.  I won’t care if it’s like chicken tenders and fries or if I’m putting sauces on pasta, but when I try serving myself dinner, I would for example try whatever I could to keep a cut of steak, a serving of mashed potatoes, and a serving of green beans from touching each other so that it does not look quite so mushy, not to mention make the entire dish look more appealing to eat.

Speaking of uncomfortable parts in the book, the entire third act
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made me feel uncomfortable.  Chapter 227 I will admit ends in what is a very powerful scene, and some events leading up to that chapter that are actually quite suspenseful.  I will not reveal why this happens in case you decide to read the book, but while I do get why it had to be there, it’s rather unpleasant how it comes to pass.  Another powerful moment is when it is revealed who killed Wellington because not only is it a sad moment, but it is an example as to how Chris could have been developed the right way.  How this is revealed though is anti-climatic and really made this “mystery” feel like it’s playing second fiddle to the rest of the plot, especially once you consider the point of the story in which this is actually revealed
Spoiler:
 

But then here comes my biggest complaint at all, and honestly, thank God I took a look at Goodreads where one of the reviews there explains this to me, but this book is NOT a murder mystery novel!  It advertises itself as one, but when you read it, answer me this question: What genre of book are you REALLY reading?  Like I said, in the first few chapters, the promise of a murder mystery is there, but as you read on, it really isn’t a true murder mystery at all.  To me, it’s more of a drama that you might find in a movie meant for the Lifetime Movie Network.  That would be fine and dandy if this were actually advertised as a drama, but no.  It markets itself and even calls itself inside the book that it is murder mystery.  It’s like if I paid tickets to go see a football game, with all the sources telling you it is a football game, and the game you end up going to is instead a baseball game.  Like okay, but I wanted to go see a football game.  So in this case, I wanted to read an actual murder mystery, but it’s instead a drama with some educational thrown into it because you learn about prime numbers and evolution and some other stuff that I’m pretty sure you could probably have just learned in your other classes when you were in school.  It’s infuriating to know that you’ve been duped into reading something that you might not have wanted to read, thus it’s one of the reason why I had felt this to be a dishonest book.

Taking into account that it IS a drama then, it begins to fill in the blanks of other characters, such as Chris’ father.  I’ve seen complaints about him that he is a very undeserving parent as was the mother who had Chris with him, and to be honest, I agree to a certain extent.  With consideration to some of the secrets his father had hidden from Chris, that was really vile and ill-done on his part.  How could he have expected to get away with what he did and keep everything from Chris for the rest of his life?  Even with a kid who has autism, they’d find out sooner or later, just like a parent might have found out some of your secrets as a child.  But this is a double-edged sword because at the same time, he also did gain my sympathy to a certain degree when the truth about what he did came out.  This father tries everything he can on his own to raise this kid, and although he has flaws out the hoohah, I can really see that he cares so much for his kid and that he does indeed love him.  It’s like if you watch a villain in a movie do very evil things and you entirely rebuke this being and everything they stand for, but then once you get down to the why, you can’t help but begin to feel sorry for this villain regardless of whether or not they deserve their eventual comeuppance.  Because of how hard he tries, Chris’ father is in essences a very powerful character and it really shows.

So in summary, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is a book in which invokes a lot of power from it and actually does really well, but make no mistake.  It’s not as it advertises itself to be and can be grating at times to read for various reasons.  I went back and forth a lot on what to give this as I read the book, and the middle act was for the most part pleasant to read and it had a promising first few chapters as well, so after Chapter 79 I was about ready to write this off as a 4 and by Chapter 173 a 6 was more likely.  After finishing yet before looking back at the book to begin this review, I was almost going to write this off as a 4 again or even a 3.5.  However, when it came down to the review itself, I began to understand where the book was coming from in parts of the book where I initially kvetched relentlessly about, so I decided on a final rating of 4.5/10.  Maybe if I’d read this and it actually advertised itself for what it was, the rating could have been better, but there was no escaping some of the parts of the book that made me feel uncomfortable.  That in mind, there was enough I could relate to, and there was enough I found really establishing about the book that steered it in a direction that didn’t make dislike the book entirely.

All that’s there’s left to say about The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is that if you really want to check it out, proceed with caution!  Maybe you might see it differently from the way I did, but I was just not a fan.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Sat May 27, 2017 12:59 pm

This sounds like a really interesting book, but yeah, like you despite having ASD I have a hard time getting along with most people with it as well so those tendencies in the book would have got on my nerves. It makes me sad too cuz I stop and think "Do I come across this annoying/condescending to people? God, I hope not" lol. It's realistic in a way, but yeah.

I also have that issue with food lol. I don't care if it's like ketchup and fries or stuff naturally meant to go together, but my family sometimes wants to mix things together like potatoes and meat into this mush and I'm like omg no, the textures are so different, I love both but pls not mixed lmao. And they'll want to have shepards pie and they're like you like potatoes and corn and meat and gravy, what's wrong? THAT'S WAY TOO MANY WAY DIFFERENT FLAVOR PROFILES, GOD. :p
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Sat May 27, 2017 1:53 pm

I had a lot of those same thoughts from your first paragraph myself Merriska lol That's why I was able to relate in a way. ;P
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Tue May 30, 2017 2:05 pm

So there's currently 2 books I'm working on reading right now (one of these is the sequel to Level Grind).  After I finish and review those 2 books, I'm going to focus on the Dark Tower books.  With the movie coming out August 4th, I want to celebrate by going through all 8 of the books.

If there's any book I can squeeze in during that time, I will definitely check it out from the library.  Feel free to give me some recommendations on what I should read and I'll take a look at each and see if they're available at the library.


EDIT: The book I was reading that isn't the sequel to Level Grind I've just now finished, so a review will be up after I sleep.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed May 31, 2017 2:08 am

Read the Frozen Hours by Jeff Shaara, or any other book by the man. The Frozen Hours is an amazing book that details the Korean War, a war that is mostly forgotten.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed May 31, 2017 10:00 am

Kingdom of Summer by Gillian Bradshaw

Pages: 280

Chapters: 13

WARNING: This review may contain spoilers from the book. Those who wish to read this book after the review, please proceed the review with caution. You have been advised!



I picked this up alongside the previous book I had reviewed, and honestly, it wasn’t hard for me to be drawn into reading it. I had once written poetry, and one of my poems was about King Arthur, and considering this is a book containing Arthur Pendragon, it only stood to reason that I should check at least one King Arthur book. However, something I did not notice until after I took the book is that the book is actually a continuation of a trilogy and was preceded by Hawk of May. To be honest, I do wish I would have known this so I could begin from scratch, but I’ve read out of order before, so it wasn’t the end of the world.

Anyway, this story is told in the first person view of a farmer named Sion ap Rhys, but we’ll just call him Rhys here. It begins in the winter and he comes across an injured warrior named Gwalchmai, also known as the Hawk of May. Gwalchmai is a warrior who fights for Arthur Pendragon, and I know enough about Arthur to know that if you are a trusted soldier for Arthur, you weren’t one to take so lightly. Well anyway, Gwalchmai, who fights for the Light with Arthur against the Darkness, is actually a really deep character as his past will show throughout the book. The first example we get of this is a lost love that he had wronged several years past, breaking an oath he had sworn to his former lover named Elidan (I did find it funny that his former lover’s name could be scrambled into Daniel, but alas, Elidan is a she before you ask any questions). The love he had with Elidan is one of those forbidden love stories, closer resembling Anakin Skywalker and Padme in Attack of the Clones than I would guess resembling Romeo and Juliet. I say it this way because Gwalchmai and Elidan, while yes were brought together in a “Romeo and Juliet” kind of style, were discreet in ways closer resembling to the aforementioned Star Wars movie. I guess this also makes more sense when giving the tale of how Gwalchmai gained and lost Elidan’s love spanned through the 2nd and 3rd chapters of this book.

The love story we were told in those chapters serve quite a bit of purpose, explain a lot, and before the love was lost, it actually seemed rather sweet. I mean, it is handled in ways I have seen before, but the ways Gwalchmai and Elidan hid from her brother, who just so happened to be an enemy king who opposed Arthur Pendragon, were effective and make the story believable. I guess it wouldn’t be a spoiler either that word got out because in these situations, word will always come out you have a forbidden lover since we all suck at hiding for all eternity, and THAT is because we’re that damn conspicuous. Hate to say it, those who think they can hide everything they say, but it’s true. How their love is broken is really sad, especially when it’s still only the beginning of the novel.

Spoiler:
 

Even after we see this love story, this book is BIG on character development, but it succeeded in ways The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime had failed, and Kingdom of Summer came out 23 years prior in 1981. I would much rather read on and see the characters develop as we are told the story than go off topic every 2 chapters just to develop one character. Thankfully, we get to see Rhys develop quite a bit too and grow as a character as a narrator and as the main protagonist of this story. This is important as the story truly begins when
Spoiler:
 

It is because of this that I can excuse some important characters being introduced later on in the book whereas I did not let this slide in some other books I have read. And it a mixture of this very reason and the fact that this takes place in the Dark Ages that I can also let slide the fact that some characters are never seen again after a few chapters of them appearing. They didn’t have cell phones in Dark Age Britain, nor did anyone possess teleportation powers, so how were they going to be reincorporated into the story? It’s not like I could call up Arthur Pendragon on speed dial and be like “Yeah, we’ve reached our destination, so now we have to be super badass ninjas and make sure things go our way ttyl”. So yeah, books taking place in medieval times in that sense can enjoy that kind of reprieve.

Speaking of Arthur, they did a good job of developing him alright, but it might not be in ways you’d expect. This is because Mordred is not even mentioned once
Spoiler:
 
and so you begin to have a whole new take on King Arthur. This is of course self-evident with Gwalchmai being such a major character in this book, but still, I have to give Gillian a kudos there for her mastery in character development.

Other plot points that are worth noting is that the villains are from Gwalchmai’s family, Rhys finding his own friends, and how people can become corrupt from dark magic (dark magic as in like evil curses and corruption), and that ties in nicely with the whole Light vs. Darkness thing. You can see how Darkness can overtake someone in the story, and it really teaches you that sometimes a servant can be just as noble as even the fiercest warrior. It really explains so much in very good detail and is a true testament to how storytelling should be done right, and it shows in a subtle yet spectacular fashion. There were little blemishes here and there, but pretty negligible. I will say though I did not like the travelling companion Rhuawn as
Spoiler:
 
I also wasn’t a huge fan of Agravain, Gwalchmai’s other brother, but that’s more because he’s an angry SOB that I honestly could not have cared less for. Even so, it is a true telling on just how far Gwalchmai has come from his past to where he is now and makes me like Gwalchmai that much more.

One more character I really liked that I want to talk about is Eivlin, whom we meet later on in the book. She’s a servant just like Rhys is, but not in the same way Rhys is. As I see the relationship between her and Rhys develop, I really get a feel for who this girl really is, and I feel bad for her, but I also have an admiration for her. She’s a sassy fireball and insolent in the most adorable ways. For these reasons, I found myself really caring for her as I read on more about her. As a team, these 2 mesh well together, and if they are in In Winter’s Shadow, it’s a relationship I would love to see grow even more.

All in all, I have to say for a book that isn’t very well-known and not a young book by any stretch of the means, I am impressed. Although I was sad I blindly ending up in Book 2 of a trilogy, I found myself not caring as I kept turning the page and never failed to be drawn into the plot of the book. It has strong characters, great character development, and masterful storytelling. I only just finished it, which is the only reason I will not give it a 10 or even a 9.5, but I was so comfortable reading this that I just have to give it a 9/10. Since it the 2nd book of a trilogy, read Hawk of May first, but if you have read it, make sure you check this one out too. You won’t regret it! ^_^
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed May 31, 2017 10:55 am

Also Matty, I may take you up on reading it, especially if Jeff Shaara has shorter books available. I will definitely look as I am going to the library today anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed May 31, 2017 12:02 pm

I may have to check that series out Mark, you make it sound pretty good even though I've never been into the Arthurian legend.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed May 31, 2017 12:09 pm

Yeah, if I didn't like it as much as I did, I wouldn't have given it such a good review.  Razz Plus, I do like having my Arthurian fix every now and then.

By the way, Matty, I did check the library for the author you mentioned.  They have "The Glorious Cause" from him, but it's the only book of his they have, and it's on sale, so I'd have to pay up money in order to read.  Add that with the fact that it's a 500+ page book and yeah, not sure if I'd want to buy it just for a one-time read especially when I can check out books for free.  Anyone else you recommend?  Maybe a list would give me a good guideline of what to look into.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Wed May 31, 2017 5:22 pm

Okay, so looking at some reviews on GoodReads, there are a few things I should comment on in regards to my review for Kingdom of Summer.

First, Gwalchmai is actually the legendary warrior Gawain and what I had failed to notice is that many of the names of these people and places in the book have different names in the Legend of King Arthur.  Here's my best guess on some:

Medraut = Mordred, which means I would have to retract my earlier statement of Mordred not being mentioned at all in the book if this is really the case.

Morgawse = Morgan Le Fey, which would make sense since both are evil

Camlann is Camelot which I should have known and actually did from the start, but never addressed it in my review.


So yeah, I think that might be something you'd wanna take note of as you read this.  You might know other names I don't.  The rating still stands, and so does the review.  Just thought I'd share the tidbit I looked up.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Reviews   Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:13 am

Okay, so I'm reading Level Grind's sequel and the review should be up in the next few days. However, one thing I will say is that I noticed some things I had forgotten when I reviewed Level Grind, so I will summarize some important plot points before the review comes out.
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