Friday, March 23, 2018

The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn book thoughts


Title: The Devil Crept In
Series: N/A
Author: Ania Ahlborn
Published Date: February 7th, 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Got from Nocturnal Reader's Box
# of Pages: 374
Format: Paperback
Genre: Horror/Mystery
Days to Read: 6
Rating: 2.25 / 5 stars
My Social Media: Youtube | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

Young Jude Brighton has been missing for three days, and while the search for him is in full swing in the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon, the locals are starting to lose hope. They’re well aware that the first forty-eight hours are critical and after that, the odds usually point to a worst-case scenario. And despite Stevie Clark’s youth, he knows that, too; he’s seen the cop shows. He knows what each ticking moment may mean for Jude, his cousin and best friend.

That, and there was that boy, Max Larsen...the one from years ago, found dead after also disappearing under mysterious circumstances. And then there were the animals: pets gone missing out of yards. For years, the residents of Deer Valley have murmured about these unsolved crimes…and that a killer may still be lurking around their quiet town. Now, fear is reborn—and for Stevie, who is determined to find out what really happened to Jude, the awful truth may be too horrifying to imagine.

My Thoughts

TW: Child abuse, Domestic abuse, mention of fire, bullying, Death, Harm to animals, Toxic Masculinity, possibly more i've forgotten

**Spoilers, you have been warned**

First off I want to say this probably won't be a great review, and I don't mean because I didn't like the book. I mean because the power and internet went out for a couple days after I finished the book and I wasn't able to write a review shortly after finishing it, but dang it it's bothering me to not have a proper review. I really wanted to get my thoughts out asap but that just wasn't ment to be this time. Anyway I had gotten this book from a Nocturnal Reader's Box and it was a group read for March.

I really loved Stevie! I felt so bad for him and related a little bit to him. I hated the Tyrant, his step-dad, so much. At first I felt a bit sorry for his mother but it got to be too much, step up for your child damn it! He needed to see a doctor and all that had happened proved that, and the way the Tyrant treated him. What kind of parent lets that crap go on without doing anything? Sorry not sorry. Also I looked up echolalia and other things...this book felt poorly researched if at all.

I really didn't like Part 2. I don't want to go into spoilers (insert per proofreading-I do anyway, warning up top) but the way it was written, to me, made it seem like a certain characters deformities were a big part of why he was a monster. I've heard again and again how deformities are used to make a character more of a monster in horror books and they are seen as evil and disgusting...when real life people have those deformities or are deformed, and people treat us like we are monsters for them and how that happening in books and movies does real harm to real people. Maybe it hit too personally for me but I didn't care for the way it was written. I don't mind that he was a monster obviously, it's horror, that he acted like one, actions speak about who a person is, that she birthed a demon, it's just how the deformities were written/seen in some parts that bugged me. Also as someone with anxiety Rose's anxiety seemed ridiculously over-played. Maybe that's just a me thing but with the way your child was born, TAKE HIM TO A DAMN HOSPITAL, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.

I don't even know where to start with all the implausabilities. Why didn't Rose's doctor husband get her checked out when she miscarried in the 3rd trimester and then proceeds to drive over 10 hours away, when she came back? Why doesn't anyone not follow their pets into the woods to see what is going on and why all the pets are sick? Why doesn't anyone check out Jude when he re-appears all dirty and not having a clue what happened? So...what about Ras, the guy who is forgotten, then remembered and is more important than you thought, then forgotten again? Is he the devil? Over-all it felt like lazy writing to me.

While part 3 I did like more than Part 2 and how parts 1 and 2 came together it just felt..rushed to me. And don't get me started on the Epilogue. If the epilogue hadn't happened I'm sure this book would have gotten 3 stars, or if the Epilogue had been more developed, not left hanging so wide open. I get the conclusions we are supposed to make but again, it does the thing where it paints someone who is mentally ill and schizophrenic as the bad guy, evil and crazy. I know that isn't what it's supposed to look like and it doesn't to me but I think that the ending will really bother some people who are mentally ill and are tired of being seen this way, with the all too real mental stigmas in reality and how they get treated. I am not schizophrenic though I do have depression, anxiety and ptsd so take that however you will. Even though I get that wasn't ment in a harmful way I felt like it could have been a bit more fleshed out and it felt rushed. Not to mention all the unanswered questions.

Also it didn't make much sense to me. The final scene before the epilogue and then the epilogue happens and it doesn't go together one bit to me. What several people saw and physical evidence made it clear what happened and then the epilogue completely disregards the final scene and stuff it mentions itself just to get a certain ending? It made no sense. I saw someone else say it feels rushed and like the books are being forced to come out too fast, and despite being my first Ania Ahlborn book it really did feel that way to me too. Also wanted to add I just can't buy the heroic act of the Tyrant in that final scene. I wish I could. "Get off my kid!" or something like that...oh now he's your kid? Since when and since when do you care?

There was stuff I really did enjoy but it just wasn't delved into and then everything at the end disregarded so much evidence and decided to not make any sense just to get a certain ending when it could have been left at the final scene or fleshed out the epilogue a bit more.

I hate to say this but if it hadn't been a group read i'd have DNF'd it...and I wish I had.

These are all just my opinions, and this probably isn't a well-done review by any means. It's probably all over the place. I did enjoy some aspects of it. I liked how it showed affects of bullying and child abuse/neglect. I enjoyed the unlikeable characters because I know people like that exist. And it did have some horror to it. But over-all it just wasn't for me.

I have thankfully seen other reviews from people who have read her other books and really enjoyed them, especially Brother (which I had already bought), that didn't like this one either so I will still read Brother and hopefully like that more.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Lurid Sea by Tom Cardamone book thoughts


Title: The Lurid Sea
Series: N/A
Author: Tom Cardamone
Published Date: March 13th, 2018
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 141
Format: Ebook
Genre: Erotica
Days to Read: 3
Rating: 2 / 5 stars
My Social Media: Youtube | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

A steamy bacchanal bending through time and space, replete with the occasional God, mythic creatures, and oh-so-many men. For centuries the godling Nerites luxuriated in a shifting sexual paradise, hopping from one bathhouse to another—from disco-era Manhattan to Feudal Japan and back to where it all started: ancient Rome. When the dark shadow of his half-brother, the sinister Obsidio, descends, his deadly kiss leaves bodies cooling in steam room corners. Nerites must adopt a new role: as defender of these hidden havens, his eternal orgy becomes a race across history itself.

My Thoughts

TW: Incest, Pedophilia

I just want to start this off saying I think this is just a case of this book wasn't for me, and that's ok. Honestly I think I missed something.

It starts off straight into the porn. At first I didn't think there was any plot to it, but by 1/3 in I did start to like it and see there is. Mostly I was just confused, and grossed out. Not from the porn/cock-sucking part, but from piss and shit stuff. However it was an easy and quick read that kept me attention enough to finish it, particularly with the MC's deadly brother. There were moments that I liked, and it was sad at times, and sometimes where I felt like something was just going over my head. Over-all it just wasn't my cup of tea, but if the synopsis intrigues you, give it a shot.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Take Your Medicine by Hannah Carmack book thoughts


Title: Take Your Medicine
Series: N/A
Author: Hannah Carmack
Published Date: March 5th, 2018
Publisher: NineStar Press
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 92
Format: Ebook
Genre: Contemporary/Young Adult/Queer
Days to Read: 1
Rating: 3.25 / 5 stars
My Social Media: Youtube | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

Alice “Al” Liddell is from Echola, Alabama. She leads the life of a normal teen until the day she’s diagnosed with vasovagal syncope – a fainting disorder which causes her to lose consciousness whenever she feels emotions too strongly.

Her mother, the “Queen of Hearts,” is the best cardiothoracic surgeon this side of the Mason-Dixon Line and a bit of a local hero. Yet, even with all her skill she is unable to cure her daughter of her ailment, leading Al into the world of backwater witchcraft.

Along the way she meets a wacky cast of characters and learns to accept her new normal.

Take Your Medicine is a southern gothic retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

My Thoughts

I really did enjoy this book in the end and I do think it's worth a read! However I didn't love it as much as I hoped I would either.

It's said to be a gothic retelling of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (which I have read, and enjoyed, though it's been awhile) and...I didn't see any of that. I'm not sure where the Gothic part comes in honestly, the Alice in Wonderland part felt forced with it just being (that I saw) the characters names. There's the MC Alice and she makes friends with Rabbit and Kat...and they have some friends named Mads and March.

However I did see some reviews before hand mentioning that so I didn't go in really expecting anything from that, just hoping for a short story with a queer disabled character. It definitely has a contemporary feel to me, which isn't a bad thing, I like diverse contemporary and it definitely is that.

Alice has vasovagal syncope – a fainting disorder which causes her to lose consciousness whenever she feels emotions too strongly, which the synopsis states. I have other rare disorders that when I tell them, including doctors, that I have they look at me like I have 3 heads, so when my initial reaction was that I hadn't heard of this, I googled. It seemed odd...fainting from emotions? It's real! I've heard others saying it's bizarre....real people suffer from it. I can't imagine what it must be like to not be able to experience emotions, a huge part of life, without fainting.

"Anger, sadness, surprise, happiness, I wasn't supposed to feel any of it too strongly. What's the point of living if you can't live how you feel?"

Just take that in and think about that for a minute, it's heart-breaking.

Even though I have different medical issues I did relate to her in a lot of ways regarding being disabled. Alice is in the orchard, sees a girl who she hasn't seen before and a bird attacks her hair. The surprise makes her faint. When she wakes up there is the girl and her friend, Rabbit and Kat. After explaining why she fainted and her VVS (for short) Kat says "So suprise gets ya then?" and Alice suspected her next move, despite Kat's innocent tone..

""Yes." I gulped, and Kat did exactly as expected. Before I could even back up, she jumped around and sprang herself over to me. Luckily, I was used to this reaction. I don't know why kids think it's so funny to try to scare me after i've just explicitly stated Hey, surprises makes me faint. Don't try and surprise me."

Also no one really knows what causes VVS and she mentions how everyone always wants to give their 2 cents, whether it's to recommend the best doctor or just tell her to buck up. So many people do that to all kinds of disability and chronic illness. "Have you tried eating this? This exercise? Oh just think positively! Yoga?" as if anyone with a chronic illness hasn't tried all they can to feel better and researched stuff themselves. The person who knows an illness best...is the one with it! Even if 2 people have the same thing, they still have different bodies, what works for one person or helps one person may not help another. The person with the body knows their body best.

Rabbit and Kat are witches, they try natural healing. Alice's Ma, upon hearing that, gets nasty about them. Saying they want to poison her with snake oil, that they are panhandlers, and how they aren't real and just treats them like they are dirt. Being pagan myself I was so angry reading through this story, because hatred towards paganism and witches is all too real, and those attitudes are something i've dealt with and was raised by. Reading through all that I could feel the rating dropping down fast, especially when I saw the words "Ma was right" after it all.

I wasn't asking them to be able to fix her, Holistic healing all that, magic, whatever you wanna call it, is not a cure all. It's not a magical fix anything. Natural healing might help some things, but a magic fix-it-all? Yeah, that doesn't exist. A lot of stuff pagans have been saying all along? Science has now figured out. Science and paganism can go quite well together and the world is finally figuring that out. But those hateful attitudes towards Pagans still prevail and it just felt, through most of the story, that that's what it was trying to say. That they were evil. Alice went to them for help, despite not wanting to disappoint her mother (and I relate to that feeling all too well as well!), desperate for help (again, relating here!).

I didn't want them to be able to cure her, and she isn't cured by the end of the book and that's great. I just didn't want the witches painted as evil when they just appeared to be trying to help, to care. They were nice people, not your evil wicked witch, just regular people trying to see if they could help someone. Thankfully the ending turns it around! Maybe it's not perfect, but I sighed with relief at the ending. Obviously I don't want to spoil it but I will say I was glad in the end.

And no, I don't hate her Ma. I never did, I was frustrated with her. Frustrated, angry, sure. But I know she had the best of intentions and was so worried and scared because she didn't understand and just wanted to protect her daughter. I don't hate her for that. I hate the prevailing misunderstandings and hate that has been so Christian fueled in history towards Pagans. And please don't put words in my mouth. I'm talking about history and general things, not every Christian.

My only other thing I could say is the f/f romance, while it did make me make a *squee!* face, did feel rushed (it is a short story..). I definitely think this story has so much more potential if all of it had been a bit more fleshed out into a fully sized novel. Wishing it was longer though isn't a bad thing! If it was bad I wouldn't want to read more of it!

Oh and also, there was an unexpected treat of Rabbit has some anxiety that I also really related to!

So all in all I related to so many things with Alice and I loved her. She is a stubborn, sweet, black, queer, chronically ill mc that I really did love reading about. My only wish really is that the story had more time to explore it's potential. I do think it's worth a read and I will happily look to reading more from Hannah Carmack.

February 2018 Wrap Up

Reviews

Curved Horizon by Taylor Brooke 5 stars
The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre 5 stars
Citrus Volume 7 by Saburouta 4 stars
Child of Nod by C.W. Snyder 3.5 stars
Broken Hearts by R.L. Stine 3.5 stars

I also read 13 stories in 'The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales', 28 Short Stories in 'Horrors! 365 Scary Stories', and 73 stories in '100 Tiny Tales of Terror'.

Number of Pages Read: 1,519
Average number of pages read per day: 54.25
Average Rating (not counting the short stories from the anthologies i'm still working on): 4.2

Other Posts

January 2018 Book Haul
January 2018 Wrap Up
February 2018 Book Haul

Youtube Videos Posted

Anticipated February 2018 Releases
January 2018 Book Haul
Small Booktuber Sunday #1
January 2018 Wrap Up (Books, Movies/Shows & February TBR)
The Representation Book Tag
Contemporary-a-thon TBR
Small Booktuber Sunday #2
Top 5 Wednesday Favorite F/F Couples
5 Star TBR predictions
Nocturnal Reader's Box Unboxing: February 2018
Small Booktuber Sunday #3
Why I Read
Top 5 Wednesday: Romance
Emojiathon TBR
Recent Reads #11-14
Small Booktuber Sunday #4
Anticipated March 2018 Releases
T5W: Urban Fantasy

TV Shows I Watched

Citrus

The manga is now an anime! I've been watching the dubs and as such have seen the first 5 episodes, it's only a couple behind the subs. I've really been loving this Yuri! The anime is adding more details than the manga and really show-casing the girls personalities more in my opinion. The beginning might leave something to be desired but when thinking about it really does have some depth to it, though I do think it gets better over time. Yeah it has angst and can be messy at times (talking about the manga too here) but over-all I love it!

Lore

Good thing I wrote down what I watched or i'd have forgotten I watched the first 2 episodes of Lore. I do plan on finishing it though. The narration is really hard to get into, it's so...monotone and boring (to me), however the stories and learning about the history of these urban legends or whatnot is really interesting and after a minute or so I really do get into the story and forget how much I hate the narration. The characters really do help bring it to life too. Maybe it should be noted I never listened to the podcast?

Supernatural

There was 2 episodes this month and then it when on a short break. Still loving Supernatural, not really sure what else to say here other than I feel like every episode leaves me on the edge of my seat and with a cliff hanger begging for more! I love the winchesters and the wayward sisters!

X-Files

I had watched a few years ago the first 9 seasons on Netflix. Then in 2016 they revived the show with season 10, which apparently I watched but forgot. Season 11 showed up this year and I...A didn't remember that I had seen season 10 and B didn't know where to watch it because netflix took the x-files off. So I had started getting the DVDs of the seasons but I only got the first 3 seasons so far and found out..HULU has the x-files. I didn't have Hulu but thanks to having one month free decided to try it out. I started with season 10 because I wanted to know what everyone is talking about and what happens after season 9, and that's when I realized i've seen this before but oh well i'm re-watching season 10 before going onto 11. I have so far watched 5 of 6 episodes of season 10 so I still have a ways to go to catch up! But I will! And then i'll need to re-watch ALL OF IT, BECAUSE REASONS. The x-files certainly has it's issues but I love Mulder and Scully <3.

iZombie

Season 4 literally just started up again and I JUST (as of typing this at barely March 1st, though it won't be posted for a week or so...) watched Season 4 Episode 1 and YES iZombie is BACK! I love iZombie and wow Season 4 Episode 1 left off with a bang!

Movies I watched

Child's Play

Well...movie anyway. I saw Child's Play on Hulu and that on March 1st, so now, it would expire. So I watched it because i've never (until now) seen a chuckie movie and as a lover of horror movies that just won't do! So now i've seen the first one, and yes I loved it! And now I need to watch the rest of them. Possessed evil doll horror. Give...it...to...me.

What have you read or watched in February? Or played any video games? How was your month? Read or seen any of these? I hope you had a good month, and if not that March is better for you! :)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Werebears and Water by Caitlin Ricci book thoughts


Title: Werebears and Water
Series: N/A
Author: Caitlin Ricci
Published Date: February 14th, 2018
Publisher: Less than three press
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 36
Format: Ebook
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Erotica/New Adult
Days to Read: 1
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
My Social Media: Youtube | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

On vacation at Werecon, werebears Vince and Rayce are looking forward to all the con offers. But they find an unexpected twist to their vacation when they meet Maia, a water nymph, who needs a place to stay after hotel mixes up her reservation.

My Thoughts

Rayce and Vince are a werebear couple going to a WereCon. They figure it'll just be humans there but after they check into the hotel and are on their way to their room, a girl tries to check in but the hotel lost her reservation. They offer to share their room with her and find out she's a sea nymph. It's a short story and I don't want to give everything away. I knew before going into it that it's a paranormal romance/erotica with an m/m couple and they get with the sea nymph girl. I did not know that one of the guys is a trans man. I'm all for all the queer rep, but as a cis person I can not speak on the trans rep and I have no clue if it's good or not. Rayce and Vince are polyamorous and panromantic, it's stated, and that is own voices.

I loved seeing how well they all communicated! I wasn't expecting much from a short erotica story, but I was pleasantly surprised! The communication between them, consent, and showing they care was absolutely wonderful! The end made me tear up, I didn't cry but I did get teary. I already really like these characters. I don't much else to say, it is a short story, but I did enjoy the characters and the story.