How am I supposed to live if everyone else around me is dead?
Posted byCatherine G.
Posted onJanuary 11, 2017
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The Dream by Cornelius Elmore Addison. Just as the title of the book suggest, we begin with a dream. The narrator finds themself out the front of Mack’s One Stop Character Shop. Upon his entry he finds that, though even he doesn’t know it, he’s been looking for a gnome.
Mack, owner of the aforementioned shop, is quite the character! I appreciate the added quirks and all the items he sells. Norbitts is Mack’s helping hand, a robot with a bit of an attitude. My favourite character so far is Lady Winter, a customer with several interesting requests. There are also a few illustrations so that people can visualise some of the characters.
I loved all the little trinkets and wares about the shop that the narrator takes notice of. It’s interesting to read about so many unique things and how the characters interact with them.
I enjoy that the narrator position is left somewhat open so that each different reader might simply pop in and imagine themself in such a position. The personality traits, thoughts and actions are all understandable and I’m sure many will find the position to be relatable. Do I think the book lived up to my great expectations of it? Yes, I think it has. The characters and scenery were all somewhat enjoyable. I think it’s a great story for people of all ages. Plus, I think I’m really interested in reading the other books of the series as well; the author has quite the imagination and has left a lot of room for some pretty awesome adventures! Overall, it’s great and, though it’s short, it’s definitely worth a read!
I was lucky enough to receive a free eCopy of this book in return for an honest review.
Title: King & Maxwell
Production Year(s): 2013 (cancelled on a cliff-hanger).
Categories / Themes: crime, private investigation, mystery, conspiracy.
Cast: Jon Tenney as Sean King, Rebecca Romijn as Michelle Maxwell, Ryan Hurst as Edgar Roy, Michael O’Keefe as FBI Agent Frank Rigby, Chris Butler as FBI Agent Darius Carter, Dichen Lachman as Benny.
This show is based on the Sean King & Michelle Maxwell series of books by well known author, David Baldacci. King & Maxwell are private investigators, formerly government agents. One of the primary plot lines of the show is King’s obsession with an assassination, his reason for leaving the secret service. I haven’t actually read any of the books, nor have I read any of Baldacci’s other work. However, the first book has been something I’ve wanted to read for a while, even if I only did just add it on my Goodreads to read list.
The characters are pretty easily enjoyable for me. They all have little quirks and bits that make them somewhat unique and light hearted. Sean King has a distrust of guns since the shooting which ended his career. It kind of reminds me of (the old version) MacGyver in a way; both he and King find ways to get about their business without the need for one. I think his part is fairly well written and, though I don’t necessarily enjoy the plot line of the assassination and the way it overruns the entire season, I do think that his character development works well. Michelle Maxwell, despite being one of two titular characters, doesn’t seem to get as much storyline as King does. However, I do like that she has a lot of personality. She’s smart and often uses cleverness to get an outcome. Her background is that her father is estranged and much of her family is in law enforcement, but I feel that’s somewhat stereotypical, which is just my opinion. Edgar Roy is a great character and felt that Ryan Hurst played him really well. Especially considering that I’m more familiar with Hurst from Sons of Anarchy. Edgar Roy is a complete 180 in terms of personality. I know a few people with Asperger’s syndrome and feel that, in my perspective, Hurst got the nuances of autism quite accurate. Benny is not an official member of the team, but I like that she has a lot to offer. She’s sort of a criminal and she offers great intelligence to help catch the criminals. Also, I remember her from her time on Neighbours. Is that weird? I didn’t like her character on Neighbours, but feel that she’s a pretty decent (meaning no offense) actress. Benny is a great character and I love the way she interacts with Edgar.
My consideration of the plot is that the mysteries are fairly interesting. There are some fairly generic storylines for a private investigation series. For example, Episode 07, “Family Business” reminds me quite a bit of an episode I had seen of The Mentalist. Having said that, there are also some really unique points as well. In terms of story, I think there could have been a little more creativity put into the writing of the show, but I think the cases they worked on were fairly well developed and they made sense. One thing that didn’t necessarily make a lot of sense is why the government officials eventually began working and sharing information with the characters. The information given was often something I would consider to be private information. Not classified, but not something a law enforcement official might be sharing with a private investigator. Again, I didn’t necessarily like the assassination plot; I’m not a fan of revenge (and similar) plots in media. It just doesn’t make sense to me that a character would spend so much time investigating the conspiracy that ruined their life. Yes, they want to know the solution to a mystery that plagues them, but ultimately all you’re doing is wasting more of your time, money and effort on it.
Overall, I think it’s a pity that the show was cancelled; I think the series could have been developed better later on. However, I can certainly see why the decision was made; it needed improvement and there are a lot of television shows similar to it already.
I am not being paid, nor do I receive and funds, for this post. It’s just an honest review of a show I like.
|Title: Life Blood (Cora’s Choice #1)
By: V.M. Black
Categories / Themes: vampire, terminal illness, short (serial), fantasy.
Read: 30th August, 2014 – 05th September, 2014
Rating: 1 / 5
Obtained: free eCopy from the author in return for an honest review / I have also purchased the free Kindle version.
Crossposted Review to: Goodreads, Amazon, Smashwords
Firstly, I’ll just warn you that it’s a serial read, meaning that it is an incomplete read and the first book ends without closure.
Life Blood is the first book in the Cora’s Choice series by V.M. Black. It features Cora Shaw and she has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness. She is soon contacted by a mystery stranger giving her the option of life, promising to cure her.
My first thought on the book is that Cora is an unbelievable character. She doesn’t seem to care much about her oncoming demise and I just don’t feel any sort of real emotion from her, despite being told how she feels. Furthermore, she doesn’t seem to make practical choices; soon after the first appointment of the book, she’s an incredibly shifty referral appointment. They bundle her into a car almost immediately after making the appointment. She texts her friend the details, knowing that it’s suspicious, but I just can’t help but think that a poor choice- both the weird appointment and texting a friend. She really ought to have been calling the police; what is her friend really going to be able to do if something were to happen? The police would easily be able to review any security footage and phone data. Also, why would she get into the car if she felt her life were in danger by doing so…? I just can’t help think that she was deliberately putting herself in danger and further assures me that she didn’t really care about her life; she made some really silly decisions and didn’t learn from her mistakes. Even after the first weird meeting, she still kept coming back to meet some strange guy with a vague offer. Surely she ought to be using her common sense…?
Mr. Thorne is billionaire. I feel that, because of the way the author has written it, that we’re meant to think highly of him for being so rich and that he’s somehow being generous, but he is just so unprofessional. Yet I can’t understand the character’s immediate infatuation for him; it’s unrealistic for her circumstances. She’s just been diagnosed with a terminal cancer and now she’s fawning over some stranger. Through scenes of more medical testing, we find her ogling his good looks, thinking about his cologne and his age. It just doesn’t make sense and further signifies her lack of interest in her own illness. The aforementioned friend Cora had texted, Lisette, is not very believable as a person, either. When Cora returns home, we find that she’d tried calling and texting Cora. However, her demeanour during this conversation seems very casual. The pair converse about the day, but Lisette doesn’t shed very much emotion. She even suggests that they watch movies or play games; which is meant to seem as if she’s distracting Cora from the illness, but to me it just seems that she’s bored and wants to do something interesting.
Whilst waiting for test results, though it’s obviously she’ll get into the trial, Cora considers her future. She then decides, weirdly, to dress up for the appointment- which doesn’t make sense to me as it’s a medical appointment and she ought to be keeping it professional. She’d been dressed regularly for her first appointment with the man, so why bother dressing up now? She goes on to explain that her Gramma had “used to break out her heels and her full palette of makeup whenever she had an important meeting at work or with the school.” Though, surely if Cora were to follow the same philosophy, she’d be wearing really nice cloths to every single one of her appointments as any of these meetings might be life changing to her. It just seems, to me, as if she’s being pretentious. Mind you, it’s just as well that she dressed up as they ended up going to what the author thinks sounds like a really nice restaurant. Yet it just sounds like just about any other restaurant. Dorm food is somewhat cheap if you spend your money wisely, by the way. On that note, making a reservation one month in advance is pretty common. A wait list for a really, really, super nice restaurant would be months in advance, sometimes even a year.
Mr Thorne is a pretty unprofessional person. It’s meant to be a medical consultation and any information they would need to discuss would be private and not the type of thing to be discussed in a restaurant. I’m sure the other diners would not appreciate hearing about some random woman’s illness, either; considering the disgusting nature of medical things (they’re trying to eat; no-one wants to overhear that kind of thing!). I feel like the restaurant scene was primarily to show off Thorne’s riches and have him spend a significant amount of money on her, that he might seem generous in doing so. However, to me it seems kind of wasteful; spending so much money on so little. All of Cora’s friends have had a discussion whilst she’s been at this meeting and are now worried for her, even though she’s only been gone four hours. One friend had seen her get into a strange car and it’s worrying to them. Yet confusing for me; Lisette didn’t have many concerns when Cora had mentioned it earlier, in fact she’d been so uninterested that she’d even changed the topic to have them playing games or watching a movie. Why is she so worried now? Also four hours is not really a significant amount of time when you consider that she was at a medical appointment. They’re in school, as well, so really she could have gone to the library for studying, or a bar to relieve some stress.
Looking over the book again, I still think of it as a very childish novel (despite the adult content). A lot of behaviour and character development are gratuitous rather than meaningful. For example, the instant love between the vampire and Cora; there’s nothing in the text that really makes me believe in any feelings between them at all- despite being told that they’re now lovers. Not to mention, she cares little for her own well being; she makes silly decisions and puts herself in dangerous situations. Cora is still unlikeable to me. The things she says and does just don’t feel like she’s as good a person as we’re meant to think. The same with the other characters; none really feel genuine and their personalities change on a whim.
Overall, I think the characters need to be improved a lot; their motives and actions need to make sense. Their emotions and very development also need work; their actions just seem kind of silly in many portions, even when it was meant to seem as if they were being smart. I was quite surprised when reading this story to find most of the people or scenes to be completely illogical considering the prior information or actions introduced to us. Originally, I thought that it sounded pretty interesting. Yet, I found the overall story to be poorly rendered. The author had a good concept, but it was poorly rendered. I think that, with a little bit more work and practical thinking, the story could be improved.
Of course I’ve looked through the various reviews for the book and obviously there are differing opinions. However, feel free to try it for yourself and see whether you like it; you might enjoy it.
I was lucky enough to receive a free eCopy of this book in return for an honest review. I later purchased a Kindle copy for free.
I have provided links to the free copy on Amazon (US & AU) as well as Google Play. Please make sure to check prices before purchasing.
Title: Life Blood (Cora’s Choice #1)
By: V.M. Black
|Title: Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles #1)
By: Jeffrey Archer
Categories / Themes: drama, mystery, coming of age, historical fiction
Read: 07th April, 2014 – 10th April, 2014
Rating: 4 / 5
Obtained: Goodreads (Hard Copy), Amazon.com.au (eBook)
Cross posted Review to: Goodreads
Harry Clifton is a young boy, without a father; the man had died during the war- or so he has been told. He is raised by his mother and uncle. Both of them try to do their best to impact their own views on him and raise him in the way they see fit. He finds himself attending an exclusive school on a scholarship and makes friends that will further change his life. It is here- and through the people we meet at this place- that we find the answers to closed off parts of his life.
I enjoyed the majority of the book, though it did have some problems and portions that I didn’t particularly enjoy. As a character, he’s somewhat relatable; he has struggles in early life with attention and he little interest in school life. It was quite uplifting to have so many people take an interest in Harry’s life. From his teachers to his choir master, a lot of people are very involved in his life. In the same sense, it also felt quite interesting and added a lot of character to the novel because of the warm background characters with stories and agendas of their own. I find many of the characters to be interesting and a personal favourite is Old Jack. I thought it interesting that Harry was receiving an education with him even though he was barely going to school at some points in time. Harry, as a character, was quite interesting as well. He seemed quite innocent through a large portion of the novel, unaware of the perils his own mother was being put through just so he could receive a good education. His mother was another of my favourites and I found it truly inspiring the incredible lengths she went to. I was particularly interested in the telling of her own story, going through so much work at Tilly’s, the various hotels and even her later work. I laughed quite hard when she was applying for the job at Tilly’s, turning up several hours early and then immediately getting the job. I was quite interesting in Hugo Barrington as well. I felt that the positions he’d been put in were quite understandable. Though he made some wrong choices, I felt that his character was quite misunderstood by many of the other people, even his own family. His hatred for Harry wasn’t exactly deserved by the boy, but understandable.
The plot of the novel was good, but at later points it seemed a little bit lost. Much of the first portion was clear; it was somewhat focused on Harry’s education and his being accepted into the various schools he wanted or needed to go to. I was particularly intrigued by the school life of the boys, Harry, Giles and Deakins. I think many of the interesting parts of their lives were glossed over and then we were introduced to a new aspect of the book. I think it lacked a little bit of attention to some of the more important portions as it was jumping around a bit. Later on, I also felt like the book took an abrupt turn, right between Old Jack’s portion (1925-1936) and Giles Barrington’s portion (1936-1938). It just seemed like everything had changed in-between these sections and much of it wasn’t really explained. It was disappointing because I felt like I was missing out on a lot here. Soon after, we find that Giles’ little sister, Emma, and Harry have now begun some sort of romance. It was sweet (and hinted on earlier in the novel), but it felt almost as if it was a bit forced. There were elements in the novel that were a bit unnecessary as well. I certainly thought Giles’ affair with the tour guide to not be needed; even though it did sort of play a place in the novel, I felt it could have been done differently. The majority of the novel in the beginning was meant to have some innocence, but in the later portions, it felt like a lot of elements went inappropriately and it led to a disappointing ending for me. I was especially disappointed with the final portion with Harry taking to the seas, being lost at sea and “dying”. It felt like such a dull element to the book, even though I know it was meant to be interesting and to give the next book something of a “fresh start”.
Overall, it only took me 8 and a half hours to read the book, over several days. I did enjoy it and I liked the themes that were presented in the beginning of the novel. I liked the money struggles of the Cliftons, though quite saddening, and I felt that the ending to that plotline was a little unfinished (though we did receive an explanation). I liked the issues in Harry’s school life, even though that was also a little bit unfinished (but with explanation). I felt that it’s worthy of four stars. Looking back on it, I still like most of the book and what I remember of it. I think the main problem I have is the relationship between Harry and Emma. I do still like their connection and feel they are somewhat suited to each other, but it just seems to end on a lacklustre note when they can’t be together. Harry sort of takes on a cowardly personality and runs from the situation, which sort of implies to me that their bond really can’t have been that strong after all. Thinking of it in general, I don’t think that Harry’s paternity ought to have taken such a bold point of the book. I think that the novel could have worked well without those issues. I also think that the ending is still somewhat irrelevant to me. I have since bought a copy of the second novel, though I have not yet read it. I think the main reason is that I’m not particularly excited. I still do want to read it, but at the same time I just feel like the major changes in Clifton’s life will make it too different than the first.
I won a copy of this book via Goodreads Giveaways and these are just my honest thoughts on it. I have since also obtained an eBook copy via Amazon Australia.
|Title: The Violet Hour
By: Whitney A. Miller
Categories / Themes: supernatural, horror, paranormal, young adult.
Read: 07th March, 2014
Rating: 5 / 5
Obtained: Goodreads Giveaway
Crossposted Review to: Goodreads
Harlow Wintergreen is the main character, a young girl who has begun experiencing a voice in her head. It’s not an ordinary situation for her; she had thought the voice had gone away with the medication. Currently, she is on a trip in Japan, helping to promote VisionCrest. VisionCrest is a religion her father basically invented, or so Harlow thinks. He, the General, is a distant father. To Harlow, he seems to not really care about her at all. She breaks free from the group of other students and finds her way to a park. Now she begins to experience hallucinations to go along with the nasty voice that appears in her heads. The visions depict her killing another girl at the park. Later on, she experiences more episodes. The nasty voice shows her more sick hallucinations, killing multiple people and the sickening deaths of people at a nightclub.
We experience the story through Harlow. I think her reactions are depicted well to the various situations she goes through in the novel. When she’s having one of her episodes, I feel kind of freaked and also a bit embarrassed because the author makes it seem as if people are staring at her. When Mercy (another girl in her class) is having special moments with Adam (a boy that Harlow used to be friends with), it feels as if I’m actually jealous as well. When her father (sort of) forgets her birthday, I feel sad for her and just a little bit ticked off at him. It’s incredible the way the author has written the book in such a way that I actually feel the various emotions I would imagine that Harlow is feeling at these points in time.
I think that the plot is quite unique and speaks to a lot of various things about the current world. Though I would describe it as a horror, there are a lot of other genres I would place it in as well. I would also describe it as sort of a “coming of age” story for Harlow where she finally “grows up” and begins to find out the real things about herself as well as the true story of her father’s religion. I would also say that it becomes a sort of dystopian reality at the end of the novel because of certain spoiler-ish things that happen during the plot. In another way, I’d also like to think of it as a psychological thriller where Harlow is legitimately worried of the voice in her head and the harm she may cause to others. I think it pulls off many of these genres well. The author has me intrigued by Harlow’s life story and the potential psychological problems she has, as well as where they might have come from. The horror aspect presents well because I was indeed somewhat sickened by the things she was imagining. The religious and supernatural elements to the story were also fitting, giving us a great suspension of reality, while providing us with a good explanation of the way VisionCrest has been developed.
The speed of the story is somewhat fast paced, which works well for it. There are a lot of goings on so we’re informed of the passing of time while not having to put up with mundane events. The various novels plots- there are minor sidestories to explain various things about VisionCrest and characters- are very relevant to the story’s outcome. Major events are clear, like the trip to Japan, the kidnappings and her episodes. Yet, the various details about VisionCrest are a bit lost (in some cases) because they’re spread out. I like the way the author hasn’t taken up too much space at once to explain it for the reader because that might seem a little dull. However, at the same time, the details are a bit lost to me and I feel like I might be missing or forgetting important details in the beginning. Later on, Harlow explains several of the various VisionCrest levels as well as the way they’re determined. But it did have me a little bit misunderstanding at first.
The actual scenery and world Harlow experiences on her trip through Asia is quite intense. In some places, I feel like I’m almost travelling with her and seeing the places for myself. The characters are all well presented. The friendship between Harlow and Dora seemed quite natural. Their communications and feelings for each other were very enlightening and it was obvious that they care a great deal for each other. Harlow’s relationship with Adam was a bit here and there, but I think it was presented well based on the mood and events of the novel. In many cases, it was quite natural to be angry at him and at other times it was quite natural to be curious of the story he had to tell. The way the teenagers (the characters are mostly only 17 and 18 at this point in time) are acting is quite normal. Though there are some various teen-like lingo aspects to their conversations, it was all quite understandable.
The thing that sets out most in my mind is the Wang family, including their introduction to the novel. It seemed quite interesting when introducing Wang to the novel, that the author was describing how Harlow felt about his character and the impression she caught from seeing his property. At first, I’d only thought he was going to be a background character, but I was suitably impressed with the way that situation turned out. The things about Mei Mei were just a little bit sickening (her blindfold) and, at the end, I was just a little bit curious as to what end she might have. I’m not particularly disappointed in the ending for Mei Mei, but would have liked to see a little more of her potential.
The ending is just incredible. Really incredible. The main thing I like about the book is that every other moment in the book, there’s something interesting happening. Even at the ending, there’s something interesting happening and the entire book has led up to an incredible end. This was actually the first book I ever won from Goodreads. In fact, I was so excited about it that I read the book in about 5 hours, with a few breaks in between. When I first posted my review on Goodreads, I remarked that I’d never quite read a book like this before. In fact, I still can’t think of a book quite similar; it’s just such an incredible journey and tale. It’s been more than two years since reading the book and my intention is still to read the next book- The Crimson Gate; it has since been released and it looks great. I felt that this book was near perfect for me. I felt all sorts of emotions while reading it and genuinely felt like Harlow was somewhat relateable.
I think it’s a great book for young adults but to warn you: there’s violence, a little bit of sexual content (not anything more than a bit of kissing and a few suggestive comments) and an occassional bit of bad language.
I won a copy of this book via Goodreads Giveaways and these are just my honest thoughts on it.
Please don’t come here expecting something magical, just yet. 🙂 I have yet to set up my stuff here, but I will eventually!
Edit: I’m currently getting my blog up and running. It will likely be a while before I get a bit of proper content. I do have a lot of plans for this space, but please bear with me while I get into the groove. 🙂