Posts Tagged ‘book review’

The Devil's Prayer
The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Content warnings: religious zealots, lots of talk of religion specifically of catholicism and orthodoxy, death, rape, attempted murder, selling your soul to the devil, death of teenager, miraculous healing, dealings with the devil (multiple), self flagellation, torture, religious torture (self imposed and not), suicide, alcohol use, drug use

I received a free copy via Netgalley for a fair and honest review.

There’s a lot to digest about this. From the non ending ending to the religious conspiracies to the research that I need to do to fact check to see if we’re given factual information with religious conspiracies or if just barely researched wikipedia information religious conspiracies to the statements made by Catholic priests that don’t sound like they’re coming from Catholic priests. It’s a LOT to digest.Which has a website you can visit if you’re interested.

So, a few quotes in this book stood out to me. For very distinct reasons. Both these quotes were stated by priests. And honestly, from being raised in a non denominational household (by my parents) and having very religious family members (Roman Catholic on dad’s side and extremist Christian on mum’s side) and going to church A LOT as a child, I can unequivocally say that no Catholic priest (and it was stated that it was Catholic priests) would say anything like this. They might infer it but wouldn’t outright say either.

Religion is the oldest business in the world. “We sell faith. Faith is being sure in what we cannot see and being certain in what we live for. The greatest fear of the human race is loneliness. Religion offers you God as your companion, to be with you all the time, wherever you go. “It is instilled in the very young by wonderful myths like Santa Claus that bring enormous happiness to children. Many come back to religion when death knocks at their door; for with religion you will not walk alone, and perhaps you will not walk alone when you leave this earth. Every day, in nearly every city and town in the world, some old man or lady dies, leaving behind something in their will—a house, some money, some land—all to the Church, their last friend who kept them company in their time of loneliness. Some perhaps hope it buys their way to heaven or makes amends for their sins in the past. Guilt is the currency of the Catholic faith.

 

There are many religions, many having their own gods. So which god is the Devil fighting?”Father Jakub answered softly. “You are confusing God with religion. It is like water. Water is water, whether you drink it from the tap, or you get it from a bottle sparkling or still, it is always water, irrespective of the brand or packaging. God is like water and religion is the brand or packaging.”“What are your thoughts on the hundreds of thousands of innocents killed over the ages in the name of God? As a priest, how do you still believe in God?”Jakub replied, “The problem is neither with religion nor with God. The problem is with man and what he does in the name of God. Religion is like a knife: in the hands of a surgeon, it heals, but in the hands of a murderer, it kills. “Every religion encourages you to have a regular dose of God in your life in the form of regular prayer and meditation. In the words of Renaissance physicist and occultist Paracelsus, ‘Sola dosis facit venenum’, which means the dose makes the poison. Even oxygen and water, which are essential to all living creatures, are toxic if the dose is too high. And so it is with religion, too.

That all said, both quotes are very true. Catholicism’s currency is guilt and the way that deity works is that the deity is there regardless of your particular religious beliefs. All religions tend to believe the same things especially amongst the Abrahamic religions and as much as it makes them angry to hear it, Christianity is closest to Islamic beliefs rather than Judaism. And Judaism is also closer to Islam than Christianity. And Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are the triad that make up the Abrahamic religions (and all believe in the same God).

Anyway, off of the religion topic because I don’t like discussing religion for varying reasons (but I will if people want to in the comments), this was a very compelling read. And while I wasn’t too happy about the unexpected rape scene, I am happy how it was resolved in the end. I am also happy that the goodreads page has been updated to add content warnings for the book it’s nice to see that as content warnings aren’t often seen or used and it’s often a fight to get authors to even consider using them.

As to the history part of the novel, I can say that there’s quite a bit of the book that is accurate like some of the specific people mentioned and quotes attributed to them that may or may not have actually been said by them (or misquoted by them) and their reputations. The prologue was interesting to read.

If you like historical fiction and you like religious conspiracy books, this book will be right up your alley. But if you don’t, then you probably won’t like this book.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

Content warnings: death, heterosexual relationships, psychiatric treatment, mentions of WW2, mentions of bombings, mentions of the holocaust, mentions of abilities bordering on magical, minor gore mentions, kidnapping, attempts to force someone into something they don’t want to do, mentions of body horror (minor mostly), mentions of blood and gore, mentions of mental illnesses, gun violence

I really want to do more content warnings for this book. Truly. But if I do I fear it will spoil the book. So those are the minimum I feel comfortable doing.

This was a decent book. It didn’t necessarily drag me in like people have told me it would. But it also wasn’t terribly off putting. It was just somewhere in between. Decent we’ll say. There’s a lot of world building in this book. In fact, at least 3/4 of this book felt like world building (which, this isn’t the first book I’ve read that has done that and probably won’t be the last and isn’t necessarily good or bad it just is). Which, for what I think it’s setting up for is absolutely needed.

The version of the book I read has photos in it some depicting some of the aforementioned warnings above. So if you have issues with any of those visually you might want to do so on one of your better days and know that’s going to happen going into it.

Overall my feelings are generally neutral about this book and it will probably be more one of those hit and miss books. I liked that it didn’t skimp over certain details (especially being a YA book and teens don’t need to be handled with kid gloves despite what some people in America might think with their pearl clutching “think of the children” mindsets).

I had one thing that did unsettle me but I feel it’s kind of a spoiler to speak of it so for my review I’m not going to but those who have read this book who want to know/talk about it feel free to contact me via email or twitter and I’ll talk it over with y’all.

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El Diablo
El Diablo by M. Robinson

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

 

Content warnings: molestation, attempted rape, emotional abuse, mental abuse, suicide by pills, alcohol use, alcohol abuse, mentions of drug sales and useage, cheating mention, death mentions, heterosexual relationships

I received a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I HATED this book. I hate that despite asking the author before via previous reviews (that I know she’s read) that she STILL doesn’t put warnings or didn’t put a warning out about the book. I hate how many people love this book. I hate that it’s 2016 and books that AREN’T historical/regency/etc romances still have men owning women and it being a “joke” that the daughter won’t ever be allowed to date because of the father and his desire to never see HIS babygirl not date.

Like, I literally CAN’T describe how angry I am with this book. So here’s some gifs

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The first 20% ish of this book I enjoyed. The setting up of the childhood and everything that happened that would later affect the story. After that? It all falls to hell. And after this point, if you DON’T want spoilers, don’t read further. (for those that do, highlight from here on out)

So, now that you’re at this point, I presume you want the spoilers so here we go. Some of this is going to be directly copied from a chat I had with a friend about it where I was ranting. I make absolutely no apologies for this.

so first 20% is his childhood
 

we see how fucked up his dad is

 

and his sister and childhood love almost get raped

 

his father makes him kill the guys who did so

 

or were going to

 

his father set it up btw

 

his father also set up the death of his mother

 

causing him and his childhood love to not marry like they were going to

 

she is pregnant by him

for fucks sake, she almost gets raped after getting the shit beat out of her by an ex he saves the day and kills the asshole 
and he takes care of her and once she’s healed she can’t leave his place w/o his guards because even though he’s taken care of the “threat” he has her and everyone else convinced he hasn’t
so she goes back to the american ballet company (ABC as it’s professionally known in the dance community)
and he does this bullshit where her first night she’s healed he brings back a hooker, leaves his door open knowing hers is, fucks the hooker, loudly and intentionally to hurt her
 

constantly pushes her away and then shows her tenderness and then pushes her away again

and he’s of course mafia crime boss
And now, he made sweet love to her then dumped her like yesterday’s trash and is publicly courting another woman to further hurt her
And now he’s threatening to forcefully make her suck his cock
Right now he’s just now telling her that he knew her mother and they were engaged
 

And he literally just told her (direct quote)

 

“Do you know how many times over the years I had to catch myself from calling you Sophia? Stop myself from groaning out her name, instead of yours when we were fucking. All those years you’ve been asking me what carino means. It was always your mother, Lexi. She was my carino.”

 

ok nevermind they aren’t related

 

the asshole who married his sister cheated on her with his former fiancée

but that’s not how it’s presented early on in the book
with his warped ass distortion of things when it came to Sophia and Michael….
oh nope. never mind. He is actually right on this one with Michael and Sophia
“I was there the day he met you. Hiding in the shadows, in the dark. Where I’ve been living all my fucking life. Watching him hold you for the first time. Seeing Sophia’s broken face when he told her he wouldn’t be a part of your life. That you were a mistake, an accident. Your daddy never wanted you. And your mother spent the rest of her life battling her demons every time she looked in your eyes.”
 

How fucking awful do you have to be to say something like that to someone

 

regardless of the truth of it

 

And apparently “the devil” had Michael (the dude that fathered lexi) murdered

 

And his sister (because she happened to be in the car that day)

 

He also killed his father but that was a death worth it

 

And she just shot him and he faked his own death but she doesn’t know that yet

 

And now she knows

And now he’s coming clean to her of all the lies through the years
UGH!
And they happily get married and everything’s great.

WORST BOOK SINCE 50sog. 

As far as I’m concerned this is where this book should go
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If you enjoyed 50 shades of grey, this book will be right up your alley with the ignoring the mental and emotional abuse he puts her through. If you didn’t, I can’t in good conscience recommend this book.
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Cinder Ella
Cinder Ella by S.T. Lynn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

Content warnings: bullying by step family, transgender persons, lesbian relationship

I received a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review

As I’ve said before but this bears repeating, *I* personally have nothing against transgender people or same sex relationships BUT, I do know people who DO have issues with them. Which is the ONLY reason I put them in content warnings.

Now, that said. I ADORED THE CRAP out of this story. I want more. I want to read more about Ella and Lizabetta and Ella’s neighbour. Like I really liked that this was a retelling of Cinderella and at the same time it wasn’t. Like it’s good enough to stand on it’s own and be it’s own story away from the classic Cinderella fairy tale that most people know and either love or hate.

Now, a word of warning. If you think this is one of those person gets sex reassigned type stories, it isn’t. As far as the story is concerned with telling us Ella still has all bodily organs that she was born with.

One of my favourite scenes has to do with the ball. In the preparation prior to the ball and Ella going into the bathroom while at the ball to fix her makeup. The princesses sister(?) lady-in-waiting(?) chaperone(?) person close to the princess….meets Ella in the bathroom and Ella does her makeup and in turn she gives Ella this eyeshadow that this tailor gave her that she doesn’t think will ever work for her. And then they escort each other out and meet up again at the buffet table.

Another favourite scene (ok two scenes) is the first one meeting the princess and the meeting at the ball while they’re dancing. And it’s because of the conversation. I’m not big on calling female dogs bitches but that’s my own thing and I understand that it is common nomenclature to do so. So I dealt with it but outside of that minor (and it was very very minor) incident I LOVED the conversations they had. Because I can only imagine how incredibly dull and boring a princesses life can be when everyone is just talking about getting her engaged to x,y,z. And I honestly laughed at that because that’s one of the things I think about anytime I read a “princess” type story. Well typical ones at least.

Also, look at the gorgeous cover! It’s just…WOW.

One of the things that I would have loved to see with this story is explaining the relationship between the princess and the aforementioned person above (whose name escapes me at the moment). And I’d love to read a story with her courting the prince she wants to court.

Another that I would have loved to be told was if Ella naturally had a higher voice or not and if not, if she made her voice higher once she presented as Ella.

Overall though, I’d definitely recommend this book. Especially to trans girls everywhere. Though, I’m sure there are parts where the book messes up. But as a genderfluid person who isn’t a trans girl/female/woman I am not the person to point them out.

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Fairy Slippers
Fairy Slippers by Emily Martha Sorensen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Content warnings: bullying

I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

So, generally, I’ve really enjoyed this series. And to a point I did really enjoy this book. But at the same time I didn’t but that has to do with my own personal experiences with bullying. I do kind of wish a few things were different such as the bullying person actually getting told on and punished but it is what it is. I do hope that the next book shows her getting in trouble for the bullying. But even if not that’s not up to me.

And I can definitely relate to the someone always being in competition with you for *EVERYTHING* thing. It’s truly exhausting and sometimes the competitive person just doesn’t realise it. Doesn’t excuse them being jerks for it but it is what it is.

I can see this book being used as a tool for helping to identify and combating bullying and over competitiveness and truly hope that people use it that way.

All in all, enjoyable book and I look forward to the next.

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Emely's Destiny
Emely’s Destiny by Ariel Marie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Content warnings: sex, violence, attempted rape, torture mentions, death, heterosexual relationships

I received a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This is the first book I’ve read from this author. And while it was a quick read and a short book, it was a very enjoyable one.

I did have a few issues with this book. One was a general issue I have with vampire books generally. The seeing pale skinned vampires. Pale skinned is so coded as white that it bothers me. I have read books with non white vampires and enjoyed those a bit more than the generic pale skinned vampire books (even though the writing in some of those left A LOT to be desired). So I definitely would like to see a lot more non pale skinned vampires. The other problem I have is a general issue with romance/erotica type books. The whole “you’re so wet for me” thing. I mean yes, sure, some women get wet when turned on. But it’s frustrating seeing that so much in almost every book I read that I want to bash my head in sometimes.

Apart from those two issues though, I *REALLY* enjoyed the book. And would definitely recommend it to others. It also had a few moments that made me laugh which was really great.

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The Rules for Hearts
The Rules for Hearts by Sara Ryan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Content warnings: drug use, alcohol use, lesbian relationships, gambling, addiction

So this was a follow up to Empress of the World. In it, we get to explore Battle’s relationship with her family.

While I enjoyed it, it wasn’t as good for me as Empress was. I mean yeah finding your identity and going away to college are important things. But this one dragged for me in a lot of places. I’d actually give it more like 3.5 stars if I could because of all the times it dragged. There’s also some issues concerning personal space and respecting others and their opinions and shit but I won’t go into those because it’s spoiler territory. And I really don’t want to go there.

The reconnecting with long lost brother parts of it were interesting. I loved the wedding scene and how everything and everyone was basically accepted as normal. And Battle not being sure as to how to proceed/act with her romantic/sexual interest.

I’d definitely be into reading more about her college life and experiences. And MAYBE if it didn’t drag, her brother’s recovery from addiction to gambling and reconnecting with family.

All in all this was a pretty interesting book that just had sections that dragged.

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Empress of the World
Empress of the World by Sara Ryan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Content warnings: Lesbian relationship, alcohol use

I received a copy of this book from a friend who moved out of state because she had duplicates. And I cursed her when I finished it. So many feelings were had.

For a first novel this rates pretty high in the good category. It did have it’s problems and a few moments of dragging but overall it was highly enjoyable for me.

I especially liked how well the social awkwardness was portrayed. Because that is me. 100%. Find the first most inconsequential thing and latch onto it. I’m not a highly sociable creature truth be told.

I liked especially the progression of the relationships of all the characters to each other. The romances. The friendships. Everything. The ending was good. And felt natural and not forced which is a problem I’ve seen with both new and established authors.

Overall, good and quick read. And would definitely recommend it to others.

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Dragon's Egg
Dragon’s Egg by Emily Martha Sorensen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Content warnings: misogynistic views of women and “their places”, heterosexual relationships

I recieved a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This is a short story and a pretty good story. I’m a huge nerd/lover of dragons and this story hit a lot of my wishes for a fantasy book about dragons.

The author isn’t kidding that this is a G rated story. Had the expletives been spelled out I’d rate it up to PG. But really, it doesn’t even need that. The only things I’d consider about changing would be to make it a little longer and potentially put book 1 and book 2 together. But I can understand why the author wouldn’t want to do this.

It’s a good new adult story that I look forward to future installments of when they come out.

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Love Thyself: “gay fiction, transgender fiction, thriller, child trafficking, LGBTQ drama, and Love Thyself” by Layla Stevens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Content warnings: sex, paedophilia, prostitution, mentions of miscarriage, cheating, violence, transphobia, hate crimes, suicide, death, talk of medical procedures, childhood abuse by parent, molestation

In addition to the content warnings, there’s trans acceptance by family and doctors and friends. There’s also a bit of medical misinformation in the form of saying that it’s absolutely irreversible to start transitioning and then stopping. I mean yeah, if you’re transitioning there is a good possibility that you won’t be able to reverse certain aspects hormone wise (without going on additional hormones).

This story isn’t perfect. AT ALL. But I had so many emotions from it. I was a little irritated at the whole “pansexual character appears, confesses attraction, and then is forgotten after telling parent about encounter and the fact they’re pansexual”. I mean it’s better than pansexual people not getting any mention but that doesn’t really say much. Pansexual people are also mentioned in the explanation from the doctor about what the letters stand for in LGBTQQIPA (as explained in the story Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer/Quiestining/Intersex/Pansexual/Asexual) (personally, I prefer LGBTQUIA+ – Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender & Transexual/Queer & Questioning/Unknown & Uncertain/Intersex & Intergender/Asexual/and the plus standing for all the other gender identities and sexual orientations that you can’t fully put into an acronym and also refuse to acknowledge that an A for ally should be there as allies aren’t marginalized due to gender and/or sexuality orientations).

Ultimately, I loved the acceptance. And the trans family member. And the vindication of getting rid of abusive and toxic people from your life. The particular methods used…eh I wouldn’t advise them but I understand why they were used for the situations in this story.

I would definitely advise people to assess their own mental health and triggers before picking this book/story up.

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