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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Between Shades of Gray – Book Review

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This book has nothing to do with that shamble of a series called 50 Shades of Awful. This is an exceptional book telling a horrifying story. One that seems to be forgotten when people talk about the atrocities that occurred during World War II.

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Between Shades of Gray starts off in 1941 and follows Lina Vilkas a 15-year-old girl who lives in Lithuania and somehow ends up on Stalin’s extermination list. She gets sent to a prison camp all the way in Siberia where she’s faced with horrors we could never even begin to imagine. She takes risks to save her family and herself, doing anything possible to simply survive.

Between Shades of Gray Book Review

This book had me hooked before I even opened it. The synopsis was enough to get me to pick it up. It is beautifully written but extremely sad read. Lina is a wonderful and strong character. Going into this historical fiction story I didn’t know much about what the Soviets had done during World War II, this story while a fictional tale, paints a picture of the horrors people went through at the hands of the Soviets.

This is a young adult novel that does not read like one. I say that because it gets very dark, and it does not hold back from sharing the events that this family goes through. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this story because I don’t always read historical fiction, but this made me want to read a lot more of it. There’s a specific line that I have seen many people use when they talk about this book, but it is the one line that lets you imagine where the book goes.

 

“Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.”

 This line tears my heart apart. These are the things you can expect from this story. Using their last bits of their past, last few things they own to continue to survive.

I want to give you a very eloquent review, one where I delve into characterization, the plot, and everything else that normal book reviewers dive into, but I just can’t. All I can say about this book is that it made me feel so many emotions at the same time, mostly a mix of rage and sadness at the things happening to our main character, her family, and her friends.

I think if there were a book that needs to be read this year, this would be it. It brings to light a lot of issues that get tossed into the background about World War II. There are many stories that have been silenced for so long, and this screamed one of those tales at the very top of its lungs. I was left with a sense of loss myself after finishing it. It is in no way a light hearted read, and people should know going in that you are in for a rough ride, but its an incredible book that deserves more attention.

This book received 5 out 5 Metalhorns from me!!

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Career of Evil – Book Review

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I know it has been a bit since I actually posted a book review well here it is!! My new Book Review. Now this may be a short one because I don’t want to give anything away, and I find that sometimes I can easily spoil a novel for someone. Also this is the third book in the Cormoran Strike Series, and PLEASE PLEASE go read the other two first!!

Career of Evil

It took me some time to read this, and not because it was boring or anything, but because I started it on the plane to Portugal, and once I arrived there, I was all about family time and enjoying some time away from the daily madness. Then when I returned I was still in a bit of a funk, and couldn’t really get myself to read. Reading slumps are the worst! Then suddenly, I just felt like reading the rest of Career of Evil. Thankfully this book was just as well written and thrilling as the other two. Thank you Career of Evil for ripping me out of my reading slump! The character development is so so wonderful. The friendship between Strike and Robin is also what keeps me coming back, of course then I stay for the mystery and the thrilling bits.

It starts with a package arriving at the office for Robin, and what’s inside sends them into a frenzy. You learn more back story about both Strike and Robin in this one, which may have slowed down the core plot, but it was also quite essential to it. I loved knowing more and more about them. Career of Evil is just a well written piece of fiction, and I am now waiting for the next one, because from what I hear this will be a long series as well. And that ending….BOY did that ending leave me wanting to know what is to come! I love this book so much, and in wonderful J.K. Rowling fashion, it steam rolled my reading slump and I am back to my usual reading pace.

I give Career of Evil 5 out 5 Metal Horns!!!

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Daughters Unto Devils – Book Review

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Daughters Unto Devils by: Amy Lukavics

I started a Halloween Read Along with a couple of friends, well Actually it ended up being me and one of my closest friends reading it because others dropped out. Which is totally fine. We picked Daughters Unto Devils because people on Goodreads were calling it terrifying and good. I was all about terrifying for a Halloween Read along.

Daughters Unto Devils is about a sixteen-year-old girl Amanda Verner and her family. There’s some mystery about the last winter the family went through. There’s something happening with her youngest sister who is a baby who cries non-stop. And Amanda is secretly pregnant. Then the family moves to the prairie, and chooses to settle in a huge cabin, but when they open the door to this abandoned cabin there’s dried blood everywhere. The prairie is known to drive men crazy, crazy to the point of killing, but what happened in this cabin? What will happen to this family?

Ya know, going in I thought I would be instantly scared. It was more that I was instantly disappointed. The writing was good, but the story fell flat. The characters all seemed like the same person with little to no differences in personality. Also why the HELL would you go and settle into a bloody cabin and think your life would be normal? I mean sure they cleaned it up but really? I bought this one on my kindle, and it honestly didn’t get “creepy” until I was about 80% done with the book. I say creepy, because whoever is calling this terrifying must have a super low threshold for fear. This was not terrifying. I had this discussion with my friend who also read the book, and we both agreed that it is actually quite difficult to find a truly scary book. I know you’re probably thinking “Uh, hello Stephen King?” but I like his books, not all of them, but some. I read The Shining last year and it was certainly scarier than this nonsense of a book, but a lot of horror in novels, isn’t actually that horrific.

My problem with Daughters Unto Devils is that I feel it was a missed opportunity. I realize this was a YA novel but still there should have been more scary parts mixed in, there should have been more creepy scenes mixed within the pages. Sure the ending was weird and creepy, but that’s it. It was one of the most disappointing reads this year. I originally gave it three stars on Good Reads but I changed my mind the more I thought about it for this review.

If you get scared easily, sure check this out. If you’re like me and need something seriously scary to get to you, then check something else out. This is NOT terrifying as so many people claimed it to be. This is why I always read things even if they have weird reviews; to form my own opinions on them.

This gets two out of five metal horns from me.

Metal Horns

Furiously Happy – Book Review

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Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

Jenny Lawson is someone I admire greatly. This book is a collection of essays, and it made me laugh at a time when laughter was hard to come by. You see, Jenny Lawson is open about her struggles with Mental Illness. She is not ashamed of how her brain works, or malfunctions, and from her I learned that it is okay to struggle, but it is even better to fight.

This was a more personal undertaking than her first book Let’s Pretend this Never Happened. That first book shared a glimpse into her struggles, but not like Furiously Happy has done. Her stories of traveling, and how she just deals with daily life connected with me on such a deeper level, but yet I found myself trying really hard late at night not to laugh too loud as not to wake my boyfriend. She made me see that it is okay to talk about the daily struggle that is mental illness, but she is mainly focusing on the fact that we need to just grab life by the balls and allow ourselves to be furiously happy. It is hard sure, but it can be done.

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Even if you have never struggled with mental illness yourself, I still recommend this book to you. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will probably laugh and cry at the same time making you look like some kind of sociopath. I would also recommend that if you know someone who struggles with Mental Illness that you give them this book. It made my cloudy days a little brighter, and I know it can do the same for others.

Anyone who knows me knows how I have struggled. I do not choose to have panic attacks at shopping malls, concerts, or even just when I am simply crossing the street. I don’t choose to fall into the void of depression where all of the things I love to do, Have no importance to me for a while. But I can choose to be furiously happy and damn am I trying.

“I wish someone had told me this simple but confusing truth: Even when everything’s going your way you can still be sad. Or anxious. Or uncomfortably numb. Because you can’t always control your brain or your emotions even when things are perfect.”

This book get 5 out of 5 Metal Horns from me! 

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Black Widow Forever Red – Book Review

Black Widow: Forever Red
Black Widow: Forever Red

I was given a Digital ARC of this novel from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

I love the Marvel universe. I think they always get the movies right, and make us feel like the super heroes are the real deal. Black Widow has been one of my favorites for the very obvious reason that she kicks ass. When I saw that Black Widow Forever Red was going to be released and that it would be a full fledged novel, not a comic book, I thought this was the book all Black Widow fans have been waiting for. 

I might have jumped the gun with that thought.

Black Widow Forever Red

The book is about Natasha Romanoff A.K.A. Black Widow. Considering her name is the title, you would expect the story to be about her, and focus mainly on her. Except it doesn’t. In the story you meet Ava Orlova. Who is just your average teenager, well except for the fact that she isn’t. There are a lot of exceptions going on here. 

I don’t want to give things away, so I will just share my views about the story itself. I personally think this is being marketed as a Black Widow novel, and it really should have another name. She is not the main focal point of the entire story. While she pops up, she is a small bit of a much bigger story. This was the most disappointing part of this book. I wanted MORE Black Widow. Ava to me was an okay character, but there’s another character Alex…and yes there’s a bit of a romance factor there, which I always think it wouldn’t be a YA novel without the romance being shoved in there some where. 

Because yes this is a Young Adult novel, which really just makes me think this was a way to cash in not only on the rise of YA fiction, but also on the popularity of Black Widow, especially among the main demographic for both points. Wish they had focused that energy on the actual story though. 

I also have to say, it was very hard to really get into the story. The writing in Black Widow Forever Red is not 5 star material, and I found myself easily distracted. 

I think this book will be popular among young teenaged girls. I think hardcore Black Widow fans will be highly disappointed by it. (teenaged or otherwise) 

This will be out October 13th.

I gave this 2 out 5 metal horns. 

Metal Horns

Sorry Black Widow, Wish I could have given you more.

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The synopsis from the Publisher:

Enter the world of the Avengers’ iconic master spy

Natasha Romanoff is one of the world’s most lethal assassins. Trained from a young age in the arts of death and deception, Natasha was given the title of Black Widow by Ivan Somodorov, her brutal teacher at the Red Room, Moscow’s infamous academy for operatives.

Ava Orlova is just trying to fit in as an average Brooklyn teenager, but her life has been anything but average.The daughter of a missing Russian quantum physicist, Ava was once subjected to a series of ruthless military experiments-until she was rescued by Black Widow and placed under S.H.I.E.L.D. protection. Ava has always longed to reconnect with her mysterious savior, but Black Widow isn’t really the big sister type.

Until now.

When children all over Eastern Europe begin to go missing, and rumors of smuggled Red Room tech light up the dark net, Natasha suspects her old teacher has returned-and that Ava Orlova might be the only one who can stop him. To defeat the madman who threatens their future, Natasha and Ava must unravel their pasts. Only then will they discover the truth about the dark-eyed boy with an hourglass tattoo who haunts Ava’s dreams. . . .

Black Widow:Forever Red features all the heart-pounding adventure readers expect from Marvel, written by #1 New York Times best-selling author Margaret Stohl. Uncover a new side of the Marvel Universe that will thrill loyal fans and newcomers alike, as Stohl reveals the untold story of Black Widow for the very first time.

Ice Like Fire – Book Review

Ice Like Fire review

(I was given a Digital Arc from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review)

That cover, is so beautiful. It does what the cover for the first book in this series did for me, it caught my eye. But as the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover.

I try not to reveal anything about plot lines and the stories themselves when I review, especially when it is a sequel because people may not have read the first one yet. I am also not cruel about an author’s work.

Ice Like Fire is written by Sara Raasch. It is the sequel to Snow like Ashes. I love fantasy novels. It is definitely my favorite genre. I love stories of magic and Queens and Kings. Stories of battles and epic travels. So I when I picked up the first book in this series, I thought with all the hype it was receiving, I was about to find my new favorite series. That didn’t happen. I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t get excited about it like I thought I would. Was the story unique? Not particularly, no. Was it horribly written? No, not at all, but I just couldn’t get into it, I didn’t hate it either.

I was curious where the story would go, hoping with all my booknerd hope that the sequel would bring the story up a notch. I received the digital ARC about a week ago from the publisher. I am so appreciative that more and more publishers are giving me these opportunities, but I have to be honest in the end about how I feel.

Unfortunately Ice like Fire was not entertaining for me. What I am about to write may seem spoilerish, but believe me, it happens right from the beginning, I am not spoiling a thing. There’s this magical item that is supposedly impossible to find,it is super important to the story and the plot and again it is supposed to be impossible to find but HOLY CRAP!!! it is found within the first few chapters of this book. Such luck. I feel like this could have been moved further into the story, and there could have been more character building done, which this story kind of lacks.

I don’t root for, nor do I care about a single character in these books. This is shocking on my end because when it comes to fantasy, I have favorites, and I love them till the very end. Not here. I really just don’t care what happens to them, and that’s probably why I did not enjoy the book. This story is not unique. We have seen it now in 100’s of books. Amazing girl who doesn’t know she’s amazing, two guys wanting her love and attention, and some kind of magical element. This is the YA fantasy formula.

The writing is good, but the story just doesn’t really capture my heart like I hoped it would. I was really hoping that the sequel would redeem the story, sad to say that for me it did not. I am sure this book will still be loved and praised by many, but I won’t be one of those.

Book is out October 13th!

It gets 2 out of 5 metal horns from me.

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Walk on Earth a Stranger – Book Review

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Recently I was given a digital ARC for Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson, it is the first book in The Gold Seer Trilogy. It is one of my first couple of ARCs, and I am grateful and so excited that I was able to read this before its release. I was given the digital ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, so lets jump right into it.

The story is about Lee (Leah) westfall who has a bit of a secret. She can sense if there is any gold around her. That’s right even the smallest speck of gold, she can sense it and figure out exactly where it is. Something huge happens and the life she knew is pulled away from her by a man who is dying to control her. Desperate she disguises herself as a boy and heads for the trail heading west. Towards California and the Gold Rush.

Did you ever play Oregon Trail in elementary school? Did you ever become emotionally attached to your pixel family trying to make it across the country? Well this book kind of magically brings that to life. Though I say magically because it is such a well written book, and not because there’s tons of fantastical magic happening in the story. While she does have this power and she uses it on a number of occasions, the story focuses more on her trying to make it through the trip alive and without having her secrets discovered. I will say that in the middle it doesn’t seem like much is actually happening. I didn’t actually love any of the characters, but Lee is someone you will root for. It is slow paced but you will feel like you jumped on the TARDIS and were taken back in time. While some of the things that happened were a bit predictable, I can always overlook that when the writing is good, and that’s the case with Walk on Earth a Stranger.

Lee is such a strong charcter and some of the other female characters will come to surprise you. When the ending came it set up quite nicely for the next book. The writing is really what gripped me as I read this in about a day and a half. The world building and the detail made me feel like I was right beside Lee.

I enjoyed this book even if it wasn’t as fast paced as a lot of my favorite reads, I think big things are headed Lee’s way and I can’t wait to find out what. This will be out September 22, 2015 so make sure to go out and get it!!

This one gets 4 out of 5 Metal Horns!!!

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Lady Killer – Book Review

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Lady Killer by Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich

(I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review)

Lady Killer lived up to what I imagined in my head the minute I saw this cover. It is about Josie Schuller a lovely house wife and mother who is also secretly a brutal killer. She is a professional assassin and a damn good one at that. Suddenly she finds that keeping the balance of housewife and killer becomes a little blurred as her life and the lives of her family are put on the line. 

I loved this!! I actually had not heard of it before I received the review copy, but I am also not always in the loop about graphic novels and their releases. I am changing that slowly as I become more and more enamored with the different styles of art and story they bring to life. This has become an instant favorite. As I read it I just kept thinking “YES!! What a badass!!” I finished it in one sitting, wanting to know desperately what happens next.

It was fast paced and gripping.

From what I could find, this comic is done? I hope it is not true, there are way too many unanswered questions and loose ends. I NEED TO KNOW MORE!! If you are looking for a gateway comic and you are a bookworm who loves books like Throne of Glass or The Hunger Games, books with amazing female lead characters then I highly recommend Lady Killer for you. Josie takes no shit and kicks serious ass. She will become a fave character of yours like she did for me.

The art is in the style of 1950’s or early 60’s comics. Absolutely gorgeous and fitting to the style of the story.

I highly recommend! And hope to get a physical copy to add to my collection one day.

This is the synopsis from the publisher Dark Horse Comics:

Josie Schuller is a picture-perfect homemaker, wife, and mother—but she’s also a ruthless, efficient killer! She’s balanced cheerful domestic bliss with coldly performed assassinations, but when Josie finds herself in the crosshairs, her American Dream life is in danger!

A brand-new original black comedy series that combines the wholesome imagery of early 1960s domestic bliss with a tightening web of murder, paranoia, and cold-blooded survival.

I give this one a resounding Five out Five Metal Horns!! It is released in the USA on September 2nd so pick it up.

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