January 30, 2014

Stranger Than Fiction by Chuck Palahniuk

If you are familiar with Chuck’s work, you know that it is very bizarre and out of the ordinary.

If you are not familiar, well – he is the author of Fight Club.

Stranger Than Fiction is his collection of non-fiction essays. Most of them are about other people, but there is a section at the end that is all about his experiences.

Throughout the book, he gives clues as to what influenced some of his novels. He gets his inspiration from talking to people and hearing their stories. It is interesting to see what exactly influenced books that I have read.

That being said, some of the stories seemed a bit longer than they needed to be and they got a little slow at times.

There were also some very interesting ones. The ones that entertained me the most came from his own experiences and also the story about him talking to Marilyn Manson.

3/5 stars. It was interesting, but it did get a little slow at times. I guess every story isn’t for everyone. 

January 29, 2014

Letters To Young Chong by Melanie Jo Moore

Letters to Young Chong is a memoir written by Melanie Jo Moore that is built on her friendship (well… sometimes friends, sometimes cousins…. Sometimes sisters) with Melissa Moore (no actual relation).

It has a very good flow to it by working in chronological order. Some memoirs can try to get too much information into one book and jump all over the place while losing the reader in the process. I did not find this to be the case here, although maybe the incredibly crazy stories had some hand in that haha.

This book takes you through the beginning of Melanie and Melissa’s friendship that began during their early school years when they would constantly be confused for one another due to their similar names. Melanie held quite a grudge over Melissa for this, and wasn’t very fond of her for a long time.

I guess that could be how all great friendships began.. or maybe they are just a very unique pairing. I will go with a mixture of both.

They grew up in a rural area and did not have much to do. So, obviously, this translates to them causing havoc everywhere they went.

Then the book jumps a little to when they are older.

You thought there was a lot of alcohol, boys, and trouble when they were in high school.. just wait until you continue reading.

This book is pretty long, but the length is also a bit deceiving. It has a very quick pace to it, so the length is actually pretty irrelevant. I read over half of it in one sitting.

Although this memoir is packed with crazy and hilarious stories, it also follows some rough topics as well including bad relationships and losing people close to you.

The writing is very good. It flows nicely, and the way Melanie writes interactions and descriptions of the people in the book, you can really visualize them and feel as if you know them a little bit.

Overall, it is actually pretty addicting once you pick it up. It is hard to stop reading while you are in the middle of it.

I am excited for the sequel!

4.5/5 stars

January 20, 2014

Big Bad Wolf by James Patterson

If the last Alex Cross book failed to meet some of my expectations, this one met all of them plus some.

It seems that the more messed up the bad guys are, the better the book turns out to be.

One of the things I liked most about this one was that you are kept guessing about who the bad guys are, and one of them comes as a huge surprise.

Alex is making his transition from the Washington PD to the FBI. Of course, this does not come without some hardship. Alex is having a difficult time adjusting to how the FBI runs things and how they coordinate takedowns.

He decides he has to take charge at some times, but he is still new, so they don’t always listen to him.

As if the transition was not stressful enough, Christine returns and threatens to take away his son.

The Wolf runs a large ring of selling Americans for money. He employs kidnappers to take them and give them to the people who “order” them.

The thing is… no one knows who the Wolf is. He is a mystery man from Russia who is also in the Red Mafiya.

The Wolf has some connection to the FBI. I was waiting and waiting for this to be explained in this book, but it never was. The Wolf story line was not resolved either though, so I expect more to come out of it in the next book.

Also, just as I was praising the last book for showing us more John Sampson, this one hardly had him it in at all. You gain some, you lose some I suppose. There are still a lot of books in this series that I have to catch up on, so there is bound to be more about John later.

4.5/5 stars. More Sampson please!

January 18, 2014

So Say the Waiters: Book 2 by Justin Sirois

This is a great book two in a series. There is no drop off in quality from the first book to this one. It complements the first book, and it starts right where it left off.

This book two gives readers more background information on kidnApp and how and why it was created. It goes into more detail about the founders including bringing forth a family relationship that was not known before.

Henry and Dani are back and are continuing their partnership in taking waiters. Henry is still not completely sold on the idea that he could do this as a job, but Dani’s enthusiasm keeps him going.

Their personalities balance each other out. Henry is very laid back and unsure of himself, while Dani is very outgoing and energetic. Carrying over from the first book, Henry is still whiney. I am curious to see if that continues as the series comes to a close, or if he becomes more confident in the job. I have the feeling that if either of them are going to mess up, it is going to be Henry.

As I was hoping, the story lines of Jess and Uly was continued, and they became way more relevant in this one. I was glad to see that since they were the only characters I didn’t really understand in the first book. Now, I am curious to see how they continue on as well.

I really liked the waiters that were introduced in this one. They were interesting. One is a reporter working on a story about the app, the other is a man with severe OCD. I was wondering how that take was going to work out, and I was really pleased with how it went.

The world of kidnApp seems like it is heating up with Haymaker going a little crazy towards the end to try to prove himself. I am looking forward to seeing how it affects the company.

As I started with, this was a great middle book. It tied up a few loose ends, gave some background information, and was open enough to make you look forward to reading the third one.

4.5/5 Stars

January 11, 2014

Four Blind Mice by James Patterson

I was really back and forth on this book. So, I will explain both story lines.

Alex Cross and John Sampson:

This book gives more character development for John Sampson than any of the previous ones had. I really liked that. Usually he is only presented to us as Alex’s best friend/partner. But here we get to see a little bit into his personal life. It is a different side of John that we don’t normally get to see, and I would like to see more of.

Alex’s family life is evolving. Jamilla is becoming a larger part of his life and Nana Mama is getting older. It is going to be interesting to see how these two things impact the series as it progresses.

The Four Blind Mice:

The bad guys in this book were just kind of boring. You don’t figure out that they know who Alex is until the very end. I feel like this series is at its best when the killer(s) know Alex Cross is onto them and they are fighting against each other; The killer(s) fighting to keep their games going without Cross catching them, and Cross fighting to solve the cases.  They became more interesting at the end, but not enough to make up for the whole book.

These guys were not that interesting to me.

Overall, I DID enjoy the book. I feel like it is a good filler book in the series. The character progression for Alex and John were great, but where the book faltered was with the bad guys.

3.5/5 stars 

January 5, 2014

Quotes in Polkadots by Rula Abdo

Quotes is Polkadots is a different type of book. It isn’t a story or novel. It is a book of life quotes written by the author.

As described by the title, the pages are designed with polkadots. The author herself is a young graphic designer, so I like that artistic touch she added to the book.

There is a different quote on each page, so if one really speaks out to you, you could tear it out (or print it if you buy the ebook) and hang it up in your home or office as a cute reminder.

I love reading inspirational quotes, so that may be why I enjoyed this so much. But, I believe it would be a good gift to yourself to look through during hard times or stressful days, and it could also be a nice gift for someone close to you.

These quotes were written from life experiences from the author. There is something in here for everyone. You may not relate to all of them, but you may find a special one that really touches you.

I say it is worth the purchase!

4/5 stars I sort of with the design would change a little throughout the book, but the change in colors is nice too. The simplicity is nice. 

January 4, 2014

Revelations by Léia Kiuski

Thera’s Eyes Series Book 1

Revelations sets the foundation for the Thera’s Eyes series.

It follows a group of young people who are given special gifts. They are considered “Warriors” and are the only ones that are able to fight the demons that threaten to destroy their town of Silver Blade.

The main character, Beth, was specially chosen by Thera (a goddess) herself to be the leader, but she is also the main target of the demons threatening them and the town. Her friends are her guardians and their job is to help fight the demons and make sure that Beth is safe and stays alive in order to carry out the necessary tasks.

The book begins with Beth struggling to accept her current life situations. Her parents recently died in a freak plane crash (which is later explained in the book). Her twin brother was also on the plane but mysteriously had no physical damage. He was in a coma though, and the doctors could not figure out why or when he would come out of it.

Beth constantly wakes up screaming from what the doctors tell her are “night terrors” although she doesn’t quite believe those are exactly what she is experiencing.

When a stranger named Leon comes into town and rents out Beth’s guest house, everything is set into motion. The warrior in her and her friends is awakened, and their abilities are used to fight the demons.

There is one main quest, they must find and close the portal before noon on Halloween day, or else the demons will have complete access to their world. This includes the strongest demons that they have not yet had to come in contact with. They must accomplish this all while trying to protect the town and the people in it.

Did I mention Beth and all of her friends are still in school?

They miss basically every day of school, but because her parents are dead, and the parents of the other warriors are out of the country, no one can be contacted and made aware of the problem.

I didn’t think I would find myself connecting with these characters and getting as invested in them as I did. By the end I was really rooting for them, and rooting for the budding romance that takes shape as well.

The ending leaves much to be imagined, but I would assume that is because this is only book one in a series, and the answers will be revealed in the upcoming books.

The writing was pretty smooth. I felt that it had a pretty good flow, and despite coming in at about 200 pages (PDF version so I don’t know what the published versions will be), it was a pretty quick read. The chapters were kept relatively short so it didn’t seem as though it was dragging on.

My one complaint is that it does need some more editing before being called a finished product. There were time were I found the incorrect word being used (have instead of has), and that was pretty consistent throughout the book.

Otherwise, the writing overall was pretty good. It kept my attention which isn’t always an easy thing to do with sci-fi type books.

4/5 stars. 

January 2, 2014

Pascal’s Wager by Mark Jacobs

What a great way to start off a new year – By reading a thrilling murder/mystery type book!

Pascal is a private investigator living in Las Vegas, and above all, his goal is to win the World Series of Poker.

After giving up his promising academic career of attaining a Philosophy degree, he decides moving to Vegas and pursuing his poker dreams is a better idea.

When a prominent figure in the Vegas hotel scene gets murdered, his daughter hires Pascal to find answers. Her mother is accused of the murder, and she knows that she is innocent. It seems almost impossible that it would be anyone else, so Pascal has a hard job ahead of him.

Meanwhile, the daughter that hired Pascal is also arrested and accused of murdering her half-brother. As if his current mess wasn’t enough, he has to try to get her off as well.

Pascal then finds himself be threatened by a very prominent Chicago crime family. While it seems to be a big problem at first, it ends up helping him put the whole mess together and he finds answers through the chaos.

Pascal is a fun character. His constant references to philosophy and poker make for an entertaining read. He is an interesting person, and I would like to read more books with him as the main character. I feel as though he is the sort of character that you could make a series out of such as Alex Cross or Lindsay Boxer just to name my favorites.

I would like to hear more of his backstory, and I would like to see him actually go on to win the poker World Series.

The writing was easy to follow. It didn’t allow for any boring moments, and the flow of the book ….. flowed well. It all ran together well, and none of the parts seemed out of place.

5/5 stars.

It was nice to experience Vegas again through this one. I haven’t been there in a while! :)