How it Went Down – Book Review

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How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon tells the story of Tariq Johnson who’s a 16 year old black young man who’s shot twice by Jack Franklin a white man. Tariq dies from the gunshot wounds he sustained. This is how the story begins, so this isn’t a spoiler. The story surrounds all the people left behind, some were witnesses to the shooting and some were friends and family of the victim.

The book goes between quite a few points of view. Everyone has a story to tell about Tariq and all of the witnesses seem to have a very different account of exactly what happened. Sound familiar? That’s because you can see this happening more and more in the news. In real life you’re seeing it more as white cops shooting unarmed black men, WHY? Well I could get into a very long winded rant about racism, but I will save that for another time. This book was tough to read, and not because of any sort of quality issue, but because of how easy it is to put a face to Tariq because of how often these situations occur in real life in the USA. The relevance to real life events is what made it such a potent and heart breaking read. The characters’ emotions will take over you and it’s going to grip you and make you think about the story weeks after you finish.

I will say this, I understood the need for the different points of view, I do feel that there were a bit too many of them. At some point, I was confusing a couple of the characters at one point, and while it was easy to clarify by reading back who was who, I still think this could have been done without a handful of the points of view.

All in all though this book tugged at every piece of my soul. I highly recommend it to absolutely everyone. It is strange to me that this book isn’t really talked about much in the book community, but I hope I can get a few of you to read it and that more people will start talking about it. It’s a book that needs to be read.

I give it 4 out of 5 Metalhorns.

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The Female of the Species – Book Review

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This book was sent to me by the Publisher. This in no way influenced my review or thoughts on this novel. This is spoiler free, and short and sweet as most of my reviews are. I don’t want my opinion on a novel to spoil the story.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis is going to come for your emotions, your expectations, and your soul. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this–A story similar to Dexter where the killing is done to those who some may say deserve it? It’s so much more than that. This book takes you on the ups and downs of being a female in a world where many times that means you look like lonely prey.

You learn right away that Alex is a killer. Her sister was sexually assaulted and killed, and the man who did it walked free for lack of evidence. It’s a story we have all become a little too familiar with, but Alex takes matters into her own hands. She murders that man in a brutal way, and never gets caught. That’s where the story really kicks off.

The Female of the Species is told in three points of view. One being Alex, the other is Peekay, and then Jack. Peekay and Jack sort of bring Alex out of the shadows and the social isolation she’s placed herself in because she feels she cannot be trusted around other human beings at all times. One night and one incident sort of brings them together, and a few other side characters as well. This book examines rape culture, the female anger that we feel when we are not heard or when perps walk free when they should spend years and years behind bars, and a closer look at slut shaming and the affects it may have. You get the view of the angry, the innocent, and the guy who doesn’t realize his words and behavior are shitty. Taking a look at the “boys will be boys” line of thought.

The writing is magnificent and the different POV’s were done really well. I feel that this is a book that should be read by young men and women, and should not be taken lightly. The subject matter is tough to handle, but look at the news today, it’s all around us.

A quick note: The book says that it is ages 14 & up, but I feel that some of the crass speech and even subject matter may not be for every 14 year old. I would advise that people take the maturity of the younger teens into consideration before handing them this book.

TRIGGER WARNING: It’s been made obvious by my review that rape and sexual assault is the main topic. There is also animal abuse and child molestation within the pages of this book, so please be aware if those are triggers for you.

I give this book 5 out of 5 metal horns!!

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Warbreaker – Book Review

If you have been following this blog for a while, then you know that I don’t like to over share information about a book when I write my reviews because I’ve had a story spoiled before because a reviewer decided to chop down every detail of a book. I will give you a nice rundown and then my rating. Let’s jump into it.

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Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson – Book Review

Brandon Sanderson is probably best known for his Mistborn series. I actually did not love the first book in that series and almost never gave him another try. Then I read The Rithmatist, and suddenly I was in love with his writing style. That is when I decided to give Warbreaker a shot. Warbreaker is about two sisters. These two sisters are princesses and they live in a world where people who die in glory come back as gods known as the returned. These gods live in a pantheon in the capital city of Hallandran.

In this world the magic system is called BioChroma, and deals with breaths and colors. Sounds insane? That’s because Sanderson’s mind and imagination is on a whole other level than ours. It is a really intriguing and beautiful magic system, and that is something I remember even from the Mistborn book. He is just really amazing with magic systems and world building. The whole idea of the gods and the pantheon gave me Greek mythology vibes and that was really cool.

Now the story goes back and forth between Siri, Vivenna(the two sisters), Lightsong, and Vasher. I loved these characters but I have to say the self doubting god Lightsong is my absolute favorite. He’s got sarcasm for days, and really questions his own identity as a god, and questions people’s faith in him. While Vivenna and her uptight ways was possibly the most boring for a while. There are a lot of political aspects in this book, but once again Sanderson knows how to write this in an interesting way.

I did find this book at 652 pages to be a bit long, but that’s never really stopped me from reading anything, the problem here is that it is a bit slow paced for a fantasy novel. Which is where it lost a star for me. Other than that the story is wonderful, filled with plot twists and crazy characters. Also I hear this story sort of connects to the Words of Radiance story from Sanderson. I will let you read it to find out how it does that.

 

I highly recommend this book, and it’s made me really appreciate Brandon Sanderson’s writing and storytelling. This gets 4 out of 5 Metalhorns from me!

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Night Film – Book Review

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Night Film is a tough review to do without spoiling anything at all, but I AM KEEPING THIS spoiler free. It will be vague, and mysterious…kind of like this book.

Night Film Summary:

Everybody has a Cordova story. Cult horror director Stanislas Cordova hasn’t been seen in public since 1977. To his fans he is an enigma. To journalist Scott McGrath he is the enemy. To Ashley he was a father.

On a damp October night the body of young, beautiful Ashley Cordova is found in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Her suicide appears to be the latest tragedy to hit a severely cursed dynasty.

For McGrath, another death connected to the legendary director seems more than a coincidence. Driven by revenge, curiosity and a need for the truth, he finds himself pulled into a hypnotic, disorientating world, where almost everyone seems afraid.

The last time McGrath got close to exposing Cordova, he lost his marriage and his career. This time he could lose his grip on reality.

ONCE WE FACE OUR DEEPEST FEARS, WHAT LIES ON THE OTHER SIDE?

Night Film Review:

I will say this, this book had certain points and aspects that had me turning on every light around me when moving about the house at night. The characters were really interesting, especially Ashley, even though the whole mystery is around her and why she appears to have committed suicide. I read this book fairly quickly, or at least as quick as I could considering I had a lot on my plate. So you are going to wonder a little bit why my rating isn’t higher.

Well the truth is, while this book was creepy and I kept turning the pages wondering what was really going on, it also felt like it was over done. The book is quite long, and I think if I got to the end it was this glorifying “holy yes!! this is amazing!” I wouldn’t have minded all the filler moments in the book, but the ending pretty much ruined the book for me. It felt to me like Marisha Pessl also had no idea how to end it. It sort of flip flops a bit there. If you want a clear and concise ending, you may want to steer clear of this book. I kind of wish I had known that before diving in, but then again I still don’t actually regret reading this.

If you love mystery with a hint of horror I definitely recommend this book, but be aware that the ending may infuriate you. The writing was good, and it will keep you hooked.

I gave Night Film 3 out of 5 Metal horns!!

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Finding Audrey – Book Review

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I bought this book because it seemed like a good short read for my flight to Portugal. Well it was short, but it wasn’t really good. I usually try to keep my reviews spoiler free, but please be WARNED: THIS IS NOT A SPOILER FREE REVIEW. I had a lot of issues with this story, and they need to be discussed.

I’ve never read any novels  by Sophie Kinsella, and maybe this wasn’t a good starting point. The writing wasn’t the problem, but the plot and the characters certainly were. I will start with the parents. The mom was just over the top. Her anti-video game brigade against Frank was just too much, considering the kid had good grades, and didn’t seem like a bad kid at all. The dad was just in the background, smiling and nodding at everything the mom would say or demand from everyone.

And here’s the point of the story that really just pissed me off. As someone who struggles with anxiety, and had been put on Paxil for Social Anxiety in high school, Audrey did not feel like a genuine character with the same struggles. Especially since she’s having “such a hard time” to the point where she can’t go anywhere and can barely handle human interaction. ENTER Linus. The magical cure to social anxiety according to Kinsella. I HATE HATE HATE when female characters become “better” simply from meeting a boy. That shit doesn’t happen in real life, and IF suddenly there’s some kind of sense of euphoria from meeting someone new, it doesn’t last long. The way Audrey drastically changes after meeting Linus actually made me want to stop reading the book. I finished it, but there were a lot of things sort of just left hanging in the air, and I felt that Kinsella could have fleshed out the story a little bit more.

I give Finding Audrey 2 out of 5 Metal Horns.

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Mr.Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Book Review

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Mr. Penumbra’s 24- Hour Bookstore was a sweet sweet surprise. When I picked it up, I had sort of heard about it, but couldn’t actually pin point from where, but something about the idea of a 24 hour book store totally grabbed my attention. My curiosity gave me a pleasant surprise, just like the main character in the book. You will be happy to know that this book review, like most of my book reviews contain zero spoilers. I know a lot of reviewers like dissecting a book, like it’s a frog in a high school science class, but I like to stick to the basics, and how the book made me feel.

Mr.Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore follows Clay Jannon, who loses his job, and out of natural human curiosity ends up working the night shift at this really quirky bookstore. From there, he discovers that there is just so much more to the store and its peculiar customers. He begins to dig deeper and finds himself taking part in a quest just like the heroes in his favorite novels.

I noticed that a few people I follow, found this book to be boring, and couldn’t finish it. Obviously that’s okay, I am not here to pick on their opinions, but for ME, this book was pure magic. The geeky name drops that included Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling, and all of the adventure surrounding books and this wonderful bookstore, I just found myself wanting to read the book all of the time. I think it is written beautifully, and it made me miss my own days of working at a bookstore.

This book also contained a little sprinkle of things I love in stories; Fun friendships, mystery, a secret society, books within a book, a little bit of love, and a whole lot of amazing. I think as a booknerd, you should definitely check this out if you haven’t. Also if you have and found the beginning to be a little slow, then try to stick through it a little longer, you might be pleasantly surprised. It may not have tons of action, and it’s slow pace did sort of hit the rating for me as well, but it was still a great book.

Mr.Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore get 4 out of 5 Metal Horns!!

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This Savage Song – Book Review

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab – Summary:

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates a gritty, seething metropolis, one worthy of being compared to Gotham and to the four versions of London in her critically acclaimed fantasy for adults, A Darker Shade of Magic. Her heroes will face monsters intent on destroying them from every side—including the monsters within.

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab – Book Review:

I want to start this by saying that I was given a Digital ARC of this novel by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Also this is Spoiler free!

 

On that note, let’s kick this off. Victoria Schwab has become an instant favorite. Having only heard of her last year, I dived into her stories and next to J.K. Rowling, she is now my favorite author. She just knows how to write a wonderful and exciting story. This Savage Song is marketed as an Urban Fantasy novel, and it is definitely that, with the urban layout of the city of Verity, but in my opinion it also has a mighty big touch of a dystopian story in it as well. THIS did not turn me off from the story. While I, like many others might be a bit tired of Dystopian novels, This Savage Song just breathed new life into the genre. Even after reading what this story was about I was a bit confused, that confusion kind of continued even a few pages in. In Victoria Schwab fashion though, she slowly brings you into the new world she has created and clarity becomes apparent soon after being introduced to the two main characters. This new world of Schwab’s is filled with monsters! August being one of those monsters, and while Kate might be human, she also shows her monstrous side as well. That’s really what this book explores, what makes a monster, and who are the REAL monsters in V-City? You find out that the monsters that are roaming the city are born from acts of human evil. She doesn’t delve too deep into this aspect, but I am sure we will get more about this in the next book. The monsters are born from different evil acts and therefore have different names. There is the Corsai, the Malchai, and the Sunai. August is a Sunai, and he uses music and a song he plays beautifully on his violin to take the souls of sinners.

I really really loved the characters in this; August being my favorite. They are so well written, and both are deeply flawed but you find yourself really rooting for them when they team up to figure out what the hell is happening in the city. The greatest thing about this book is there was NO ROMANCE. Because I am really tired of love triangles, and weird romance tropes clouding up an otherwise wonderful story, I was so happy that This Savage Song is able to pile on all these emotions, and jaw dropping moments in the story without having it connected to romance. THANK YOU for that. I really don’t know what else to say without putting forth too much information. This book will be released on July 5, 2016, and I HIGHLY recommend it to not just fans of Victoria Schwab, but fans of Urban Fantasy and Dystopian novels as well. If you aren’t already, you WILL become a fan of Schwab’s writing after reading This Savage Song.

 

I gave this 5 out 5 Metalhorns!!

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A Gathering of Shadows – Book Review

Normally I start my Reviews by giving you a summary of what this book is about, but because this is a sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic, I don’t want to do that, just in case you have not read it yet. If you have not read it yet, then I must ask, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! SO what I will do is give a summary for ADSOM.

A Darker Shade of Magic – Summary:

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

A Gathering of Shadows – Book Review

A Gathering of Shadows begins, four months after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic. It is wonderful. I will get into my review next, and will write SPOILERS in big letters before entering into spoiler territory, but that is IF I enter spoiler territory, because I enjoy keeping my reviews spoiler free. I want you to read this and have you say “YES! I NEED THIS BOOK IN MY LIFE!”

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I received this book about a week early from Amazon here in Germany, and after what felt like a really long week and a bad one with my anxiety, seeing this book show up early made my heart sing. I was nervous jumping in because I wanted it to be as good as the first book, and let me just begin this review by saying it exceeded my expectations. I finished it this morning while having breakfast, and I was left yelling “WHAT?!!! OH MY GOD!!” The world  building in this sequel is still just as excellent as the previous one, and I am still so in love with the characters of Kell, Rhy, and Lila. I love them so much, and I want to stick them into a bubble so no one and nothing can hurt them.

You see where Lila ends up, and what Kell and Rhy are up to 4 months after what happened in the previous book. There’s also an amazing and epic Magical tournament that I really loved. I will say that this one had a slower build up than the previous one, but the characters are still interesting enough to keep me at the edge of my seat. This was a wonderful second book in the series, and I cannot wait to see where this story ends. V.E. Schwab has created her own brand of magic and I love it so much. The thing about this one compared to ADSOM, is that the first book while leaving room for a follow up, it still tied everything up nice and neat. You could think it’s a stand alone and live on with your life. The thing about A Gathering of Shadows, is that there’s no way in hell I can wait for the next book. That ending had me really shocked. How can I go on?

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Miss Schwab…you have left me hanging here. What will I do? How can I cope with this matter? Help me!! Ha ha.

All joking aside, I think if you’re in the market for a new wonderful fantasy series to sink your teeth into then THIS is it! You will not regret it at all. I gave this 5 out of 5 metal horns, such well deserved metal horns they are.

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Locke & Key Vol.1: Welcome to Lovecraft – Book Review

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Locke & Key Vol.1 Summary:

“Locke & Key” tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them, and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all!

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Locke & Key Vol.1 Book Review:

My love for graphic novels has grown exponentially within the past 2 years or so. Of course this means I have gotten into a lot of the super hero comics, but I actually really just enjoy creative and unique graphic novels. Locke & Key is definitely one of those Graphic Novels. Joe Hill, who as many of you might already be aware is Stephen King’s son, writes Locke & Key’s story. Apparently the art of gruesome and creepy story telling runs in the family, because this was just a bit of both.

Here’s the thing though, while it does in fact get creepy and indeed there are many gruesome scenes, it is not overly in your face the entire time. There’s build up, and there’s just incredible art by Gabriel Rodriguez that is so fitting to Joe Hill’s story telling. There is some spine tingling moments that really had me stop for a second, which is what you want from a scary or horror story. You want it to get to you a bit. The thing is, as you follow this family’s journey through their mourning and their grief, you feel connected to them a little bit. Joe Hill makes them feel quite human. This also has that very horror movie feel where the old manor they live in seems to have a life of its own, and truly it does. It holds so many secrets.

The key storyline in the title is a HUGE part of the plot. This house seems to have doors that open to different kinds of worlds? Realms? Craziness? You discover one particularly creepy one when the youngest child Bode goes exploring. See the entire family is traumatized in ways we can’t possibly imagine. You watch as the Locke children deal with the situation in their own ways. I am trying really hard not to put in any spoilers because going into this story as blind about plot as possible is the key to really loving it. All I can say is I highly recommend this one, and I am already moving onto the next Volume.

I gave this 5 out of 5 Metal Horns!!

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik – Book Review

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Uprooted, A Summary:

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
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Uprooted, The Book Review: (minor spoilers, read at your own risk)

Uprooted is marketed as Young Adult fiction, though this is absolutely false once you get into the story. The only ingredient that really would make it Young Adult, is the fact that the main character Agnieszka is 17, because this is actually a more mature story, and definitely should be aimed at Adults. Putting that aside, I really enjoyed the beginning of the story. If you read the summary of Uprooted then you know that it is not her best friend Kasia that gets chosen, but Agnieszka is the one chosen by the Dragon. The dragon, is not an actual dragon, it is his wizard name.

The beginning of the story I loved, and it definitely has a few touches that reminded me of Beauty and the Beast. The reluctant “beast” and the young “beauty”, but that’s sort of where it ends. I will say that Naomi Novik is a wonderful writer, and I intend to check out her other stories when I get a chance, but there was something that lost me midway through Uprooted.

First, I found the growing relationship between Agnieszka a girl of 17 and the Dragon not only completely inappropriate but also extremely creepy. It just reminds me of when I was a teen and being stared at like a piece of meat by much older men. It threw me off, because I was hoping that maybe this would be the story that wouldn’t have any kind of romance in it. I loved the magic, and how they worked together with the magic but in my opinion the romance factor was completely unnecessary.

Second, I found that as I reached the middle and the end, so many different characters were introduced, and the story became a little convoluted. I understood everything that was happening, but there were a lot of different things happening, and it could have been explained a bit better. I understood everything about the village and why the people stay, and the whole Wood-Queen thing, but it just seemed like too much saved for the end.

Finally, while the ending sort of came and I felt nothing for most of the characters, I did enjoy the realistic friendship of Kasia and Agnieszka. You can tell they would jump through flaming hoops, maybe even quite literally to help one another, but there’s a bit of jealousy there, both showing some of their flaws. It was refreshing to see that.

Final Thoughts on Uprooted:

This wasn’t a favorite read of mine. It took me a long time (for me anyway) to get through it because I just preferred to read my Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire book when I had the time, and I lost interest in the characters half way through. I still say that Naomi Novik writes this story beautifully, it is just a story that’s “okay” for me. It just might not be my cup of tea. If you love magic and weird romances that are borderline creepy this might be for you. Also dear publisher, this book is NOT Young Adult! Stop selling it as such.

This gets 3 out of 5 Metal Horns from me!

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