Exit West – Book Review

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Summary: In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

Review: The relevance of this book is why I decided to read it, and I kept reading because of the beautiful story. It’s poetic in a way I have never seen before. Exit West has an element that feels a bit like magical realism, but what was gripping was following Saeed and Nadia through their journey. Journey feels like too light of a word to use here though. The book isn’t very long and I flew through it. It’s heartbreaking, horrific, and motivating all in one go. The talks about refugees are so prevalent right now, especially here in Europe, and I have felt empathy beyond words for everything that’s been happening, but this book opened the flood gates. It may be a fictional story, but good fiction will further open our eyes to the truth that surrounds us.

This book got four out of five metal horns!

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A Monster Calls – Book Review

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I bought a copy of A Monster Calls last year at a used book sale for 1 euro. It was the first Patrick Ness book I bought, but after reading this one, it certainly won’t be the last. It took me so long to finally pick this up and read it because sometimes when people hype up books too much my interest in them sort of wavers. I know I sound like a hipster that feels like they’re just not into anything mainstream, but the truth is I have had bad luck with overhyped books in the past, so I am always afraid that I am going to really hate something when all the hype is built up around it.

THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW

I was wrong in this case. A Monster Calls was an amazing story. It’s short and anything but sweet. The story follows Conor who is a 13 year old boy who wakes to find a monster outside of his window. The monster has seen the passing of time, as it is ancient and it has stories to tell. The Monster doesn’t wake just to tell Conor these stories, but to also get something from Conor in return–The truth! It’s a dark and twisted tale, and yet beautifully poetic. The idea for this story is actually from Siobhan Dowd, who passed away before being able to write the book herself, and so Patrick Ness finished it, and he did such a beautiful job with her idea.

It is heart wrenching and it will grip you in a way that not many books can. I loved it so much more than I ever expected to, and it made me so emotional while reading it. I think if you’re looking for something different to read, something that will touch your very soul, then you should give this a read.

I give A Monster Calls 5 out of 5 Metal Horns!!

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The Dramedy of Book Twitter

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Man, I hope I write this in the best possible way. Intent  doesn’t mean shit if you trample over everything like a drunk giant. Get ready for a rant.

I haven’t updated my blog in a while because of LIFE. I already promised myself I wouldn’t apologize anymore for this. I started this for fun, and it will only continue to be that way as long as I don’t feel like I HAVE to update this place all the time. Sure I’d like to be more consistent with my blogging, but I am merely human and truthfully, I don’t give a shit what you think about my lack of updates.

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I have been active on Book Twitter and it’s kept me informed of all the book releases, conflicts, drama, and comedy. It’s also made me laugh, frown, and made me want to rip my hair out all in one go. That is the dramedy that is Book twitter. I follow some great people. They’re intelligent, they’re fierce, and they are also opinionated. I am here for all of it. I want to know what people think about different books. I want to see people point out when things bother them in a novel and I want to listen and learn.

Recently though something has made me want to throw books around. TWO things have crept up on book twitter like the plague. One of those is the super fangirls who attack like little trained minions whenever you comment on their favorite books or authors. You see it A LOT with Sarah J. Maas and Cassandra Clare fans, but also with JK Rowling and others. People have yet to learn that you may love something dearly but that does not mean the entire world will feel the same. I have yet to finish the throne of glass series and her other series. You can love those books till you’re blue in the face but if you call me an idiot for the fact that I don’t find them as interesting as you do, you’re not doing Maas any favors. Stop bitching at people for their opinions. Also, this goes for you people on the other side of the coin too, whether you just didn’t enjoy the story or find it problematic don’t tell people they are morons for reading it. I am at fault for this too once or twice but I am learning how to just let people enjoy things.

The second thing that’s crept up on book twitter, is the conflicting and hypocritical talks about problematic content in books. To clarify, I absolutely stand with people reserving the right to call authors out on their problematic content. I think if something is bothersome to you, there is a way to reach out and speak politely and openly with an author about it. Being more critical of the books you are reading is a good thing. What has bothered me is that the same people who were out there with pitchforks, yelling for the book The Continent to be reedited because of its problematic content, are seemingly okay with Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth who’s book apparently has similar problematic content. Not only is the issue similar, the authors’ explanations and “apologies” are similar too and yet only one of them has their book on hold, and the other one was on the NYT best sellers list. I will let you guess which one.

I haven’t read either one, but I am commenting on the hypocritical bullshit that comes out of book twitter quite often these days. I think diversity is important, But I also think a lot of the white people yelling about diversity use the term loosely and only use it when it suits them. Many of them were ready to stand up for Roth when just a few months ago they were vowing to burn copies of The Continent. Diversity and respect for marginalized voices isn’t a bag of trail mix, you can’t just pick and choose the parts you like.

I like the book community and especially book twitter, but there are some aspects of it that have started to mold the way I read things and what I choose to read. I think I would have continued with the Throne of Glass series had the overly aggressive fans not annoyed the shit out of me. I had no interest in reading Carve the Mark or The Continent but now because people have been such hypocrites about these two books, I want to read them so I can compare and contrast and form my own educated opinion.

I think a lot of the Book Twitter drama could be minimized if we could all just stop calling each other names and respected one another. I think people need to start thinking before jumping on the mob mentality that takes over twitter sometimes, and I really do think we need to let people enjoy things. Truth is a person can find something problematic but still enjoy its entertainment value, and I don’t see an issue with that.

This of course is MY opinion, and you may not share the same view, but please comment down below and share it anyway.

History is All You Left Me – Book Review

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This book was sent to me by the publisher as an eARC, this in no way influenced my opinion on the novel.

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera took me by surprise. In the best and yet most emotional way possible. This is a SPOILER FREE review so please feel free to continue reading. It follows Griffin who’s first love and ex-boyfriend Theo died in a drowning accident. This breaks Griffin apart as expected. The story bounces back and forth between the present where Griffin is dealing with his grief, and to the past (history) where his relationship with Theo grew and blossomed.

I loved this style of going between the past and present. This story also shows Griffin’s struggle with mental illness. This hit home for me. When I was 14 I had to deal with a form of grief I had never experienced before, and it shot my anxiety to places I could never put into words, but Adam Silvera certainly tried for me. People deal with Grief in very different ways, and when you experience something of that magnitude at a young age, it stays with you forever. Surely it stays with you at any age, but when you are young and you feel so invincible … it strikes you down hard.

At the core of this novel is a story about friendship, love, and loss. Adam Silvera writes in a way that makes you truly believe these aren’t just characters in a novel but real people. I love that so much because I could feel what these characters were going through. The way Griffin and Theo come together and how they’re torn apart feels so real that it hurt my soul to read it. In the end this novel is also about healing.

This took me on one hell of a ride, and if you haven’t read this book, then I don’t know what you are waiting for. It may seem like a heart breaking story, and yes it is, but it’s just so much more than that. The themes and messages in this novel are incredible.

Originally I had given this novel 4 stars on Goodreads, but it’s been a couple of days since I read it, and I just keep thinking about it and that’s a sign of an important book. I changed my rating on there.

This novel gets 5 out of 5 Metal Horns from me!

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Beheld – Book Review

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This book was sent to me by the publisher, this in no way influenced my opinion on the novel.

Beheld by Alex Flinn seems to be the fourth novel in the Kendra Chronicles series of novels where Flinn mixes fairy tale retellings with the story of the witch Kendra. I actually was unaware that this was the fourth novel in the series but it doesn’t seem like I missed much of anything by skipping the others. (by all means do correct me if I am wrong) I will make this a spoiler free review as most of mine are, but I have a couple of minor issues with this story.

I found it to be dull or at least slow moving at first, and then I was entertained enough to keep reading. As I did so, I found a couple of things that were making me roll my eyes a bit. This book contains the retellings of Little Red Riding Hood, Rumplestiltskin, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and The Ugly Duckling. All interwoven with the story of Kendra, so she makes in appearance one way or another in each one, but in my opinion it is done in such a  haphazardly way that I could have just done with the four retellings without Kendra being involved. Kendra is always an after thought, a cut and paste within the four retellings.

I also didn’t really enjoy the retellings that contained the desperate woman who couldn’t live without her man, and this mirrored Kendra’s incessant need to look for her long lost love. This certainly made me roll my eyes, because Kendra otherwise comes off as a strong character, but then she’s pining for this man constantly. Maybe that’s someone’s cup of tea, but shit like this gives me Twilight feels, and that makes me twitch.

I enjoyed the last retelling of the Ugly Duckling. It had a bit of a deeper story running through it and possibly saved this novel from getting 2 stars. Then we end with Kendra and I rolled my eyes again, making me want to give it closer to 2.5 rather than a 3, but I didn’t hate the book, it just isn’t the typical story I enjoy, also maybe I am tired of the retellings. This book is out in stores tomorrow Jan.10th. If you love retellings, you will enjoy this book.

This book gets 3 out of 5 metal horns from me.

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American Street – Book Review

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I was given an eARC of this book from the publisher; this in no way influenced my opinion.

This is a Spoiler free review!

American Street by Ibi Zoboi is one of the most powerful stories I have read this year. It follows Fabiola Toussaint as she moves to Detroit from her home in Haiti with her mother. They’re headed to live with her aunt and cousins, but Fabiola’s mother is held by immigration in New Jersey, but Fabiola continues her journey on to Detroit.

This is where the story kicks off, and it certainly does just that. Fabiola tries to understand her new world. American Street is filled with amazing characters, and what’s more important it is filled with complex and interesting relationships. It is a really gripping book.

I think a reason I really loved this book beyond the great story telling and characterization, is that I connected with Fabiola on certain things she went through trying to fit into a new country. I had to do the same when I was a kid who emigrated from Portugal to the USA, and then once again when I moved to Germany. Fitting into a new country, is a massive undertaking and always one hell of an adventure.

 

Fabiola handles a number of different obstacles in this book, all the while dealing with the matter of her mother still being detained in New Jersey. The story is going to twist and turn, and your heart will do the same.

 

This book is great, and I HIGHLY recommend this novel. It’s a rough read with a sprinkle of magical realism. The book will be released February 14,2017. PREORDER IT, BUY IT!!!

 

I give this book 5 out of 5 Metalhorns!

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October 2016 Reading Wrap Up

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Time for another monthly wrap up. October was a really great reading month for me. I sort of devoured quite a few books. I still have to write up a few full reviews, but I will give you a short run down of what I thought of each. So let’s begin.

My Lady Jane

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This book made me laugh quite a bit. It’s a historical fiction novel that took it’s genre straight to heart. It’s exactly why I loved this book so much. If I read a historical FICTION book looking for historical facts, then I might as well read a textbook. Fiction means it’s all made up, and man is this made up! It takes the story of the nine day queen, Lady Jane Grey and just freely runs with it. There’s a magic element to the story, there’s humor. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and think if you’re looking for a fun read that this is it!

Rating: ratefive

How it Went Down

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How it Went Down was such a heart breaking read for me. It tells the story of the aftermath of when a young black man gets shot by a white man. It’s told from multiple points of view, and you get to know the story through the eyes of different witnesses, and friends and family. I wrote a full review for this book and I think it’s an important read that should be shared with so many people. Sometimes you need to step out of your little comfort zone, and learn something new. Read this book!!

Rating: ratefour

Milk and Honey

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This was a book of poetry. Powerfully worded, and moving poetry. I don’t know what else to say because this book spoke to me on a very deep level. Even if you typically do not read poetry, I still recommend this book.

Rating: ratefive

The Princess Saves Herself in This One

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Keeping with the theme of the previous book I mentioned, this was also a poetry book, but this one spoke to my very soul! It was just so amazing that I read it twice. I HIGHLY recommend it, and really think every woman should give it a glance at least once. This is another one that I don’t know how to explain why I loved it, because it touched my soul in a very deep and personal level.

Rating: ratefive

Kindred Spirits

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This was a lovely little novella by Rainbow Rowell. If you’re a fan of her novel FanGirl then I would say you would love this too. It was a fun quick read, and I enjoyed the main character’s mini fangirl adventure. It’s based around the premiere of the new Star Wars film, and how she’s one of three people waiting in line for the first showing at her local theater. I don’t want to go into much detail, but I had fun with it.

Rating: ratefour

A Head Full of Ghosts

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A Head Full of Ghosts was such a good creepy read!! It was the perfect October spooky read, but even though October is done, you should still pick this up if you’re in the mood to get scared. The story focuses on two sisters, and the older one is showing signs of possession, or is she? It was a wonderful mystery and many scenes left me wishing I hadn’t decided to read it before bed. Check it out!!

Rating: ratefour

Rat Queens Vol.3

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Rat Queens quickly became one of my favorite graphic novel series, but I held off reading this one because I saw that quite a few people seemed disappointed by Volume 3. Not to be swayed by the general public, I decided to finally pick it up and read it. Sadly I have to say it was my least favorite of the bunch. Not only has the art changed but I found the writing to be lacking. I still recommend this series, but volume 3 is just not the best one of the bunch.

Rating: ratethree

Mockingbird Volume 1

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I am constantly on the lookout for badass mother fuckers, especially of the female variety because well I find myself in those characters, also all females are pretty badass and I feel we need more female driven stories. The writer of this series took to Twitter to talk about her female driven comic, and then was harassed so bad by anti-feminist trolls that she left twitter. It was how I even discovered this comic series which Marvel cancelled before viewing the sales of the paperback edition. Well thanks to those anti-feminist trolls, the comic hit number one on Amazon for Marvel comics. Maybe Marvel will reconsider now? Maybe not. But we need these female driven stories!! Comics are not just for guys and any dude who thinks otherwise needs to get a reality check. I really enjoyed this series, and highly recommend it!! Maybe we can save it!

Rating: ratefive

Black Butler Vol.1

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I’ve been trying to read different Manga, and seeing which ones stick. I enjoyed this strange story. I read it in German, because simple language works best for me at this point, but I still thought it was fun and unique. I may pick up volume two this weekend! If you want to recommend any Manga, please comment down below!!

Rating: ratefour

Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians

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Honestly, I don’t know if I can eloquently explain how much I just did NOT like this book, so I will probably take a less than eloquent path. I started this series with high hopes. I love Middle grade adventure series and this just sounded like such a unique idea. The unique idea is why this isn’t getting one star, and that hurts to say because I typically adore Sanderson’s writing. This was just trying too hard to be something that it isn’t. I found myself rolling my eyes quite a few times. It was difficult not to make Harry Potter comparisons when the main kid was raised outside of the magical world he belongs to (orphan), and then you had a side character who was highly interested by ordinary items, but they still confused him (sounds like Arthur Weasley and his fascination with muggle items to me) Don’t know, it just felt somewhat forced storytelling after the first 30 pages, and I lost interest rather quickly. I will not continue with this series.

Rating: Metal Horns

The Stranger Game

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This book was sent to me the publisher, but this in no way impacts my views.

I want to write up a full review of this novel because it certainly deserves one. I think if you are looking for a mystery novel with twists and turns, then you will like this fast paced YA read. I read it in one day, and I have no regrets. I will be posting a more in depth review soon, spoiler free of course!

Rating: ratefour

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

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Again? YES! Don’t judge me asshole!

I love this series, and recently bought the second illustrated edition. Was going to read it, and then thought to myself, “Well why not start a reread?” and so I did. It doesn’t take much convincing to read this series.

Rating: ratefive

In total I read 12 items in the month of October. I am not sure how much I will get to read in November but I am only 8 books away from meeting my goodreads goal for the year. What did you read this month?

A Head Full of Ghosts – Book Review

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Note: The publisher sent me a copy of this novel, this in no way impacted my opinion.

Summary: The lives of the Barretts, a suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents despair, the doctors are unable to halt Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls the terrifying events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories begin to surface and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed.

Creeped out yet? you will be…

Review: You know the deal with my reviews, I keep them spoiler free because I want you to enjoy the novels as much as I do. So feel free to continue reading. This book was the perfect creepy read for the month of October, but it was generally a great creepy read. You will feel chills up and down your spine, and you will feel slightly unnerved. I went in thinking, “Well Stephen King thinks it’s scary, so maybe I should go unbox one of my teddy bears before I begin.” I didn’t actually unbox them, but I probably should have.

You know what’s the scariest part of this? That so much of the story revolves around those two sisters, Marjorie and Merry. Kids can be super creepy. (Remember the shining?) As I got deeper into the story, the more disturbing it actually became. The way Marjorie acts leaves you wondering “is she possessed by demons?” or is it really that she has schizophrenia that’s not being treated properly for a girl her age?  You well spend a lot of time second guessing yourself. You will THINK you know where the story is headed, but you have NO idea where it actually ends up.

I read this story many times right before bed, and if you are sensitive to these kinds of stories, I would say DON’T DO IT! Many scenes will leave you all out of sorts. Or maybe I can’t speak for everyone but it’s just how I felt sometimes, and of course if you’re reading a scary book, you want to feel that way. Humans, we are weird. haha

I will say that when the tv show aspect kicked in, that some things were a little repetitive, but it didn’t ruin the story at all. The ending, disturbed me, and really creeped me out, and once you read it, please feel free to contact me so we can chat about it because…it’s great in my opinion what Paul Tremblay did there.

I give this novel 4 out of 5 Metalhorns!!

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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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