Idyll Threats by Stephanie Gayle

Idyll Threats (Thomas Lynch #1)

3/5

(Caidyn)

Blame Chantel for me reading this. She gushed about it, got a legit contact from the author, and then got sent a copy of the sequel that was signed and all that. I was just the one watching and being giddy about it with Chantel. And she also sent me very shaky pictures of it at first because she was so excited.

The basic plot of this book is that Thomas Lynch is new in a very small town that reminded me of home. Murder strikes and down the winding path they go. I think the main thing that stood out to me was that Lynch was gay, leaving him in a very big quandary from the start. I really liked that he wasn’t stereotyped out by Gayle. He was just a usual guy, not the embodiment of all gay stereotypes in one.

Yet, I have some critiques.

All the weight of Rick, his old partner and the reason Lynch came to the new town, didn’t fit with the mystery at hand. It would have been better dealt with in a later book or change the mystery to more mirror Rick so it felt natural. To me, it kind of felt tacked on.

Another thing is all the damn sex scenes. It distracted me. Didn’t do much with the story at all. Great, he’s sexually active and getting those needs met, but I don’t need all of these graphic hook up scenes that just seem to be a way for him to numb the pain. That definitely brought my rating down since I would skim and then realize that I had missed something important.

Finally, the killer didn’t fit one bit. It was awkward and just wasn’t a fully developed idea for me. I’m not sure if psychopath even fit for him, let alone sexual sadist since that connotes you’re hurting someone to get off. With him, it just seemed like he was a fucking brat.

Overall, a good start. It wasn’t perfect, but I can see that there will be good things coming from the way the book ended and I do want to see where it goes.

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The Grip of it by Jac Jemc

The Grip of It

4/5

(Caidyn)

The category I’d give this book is literary horror. I’ve never read a book exactly like it, but the closest I’ve ever gotten is with Beloved by Toni Morrison. That’s about a human haunting, much like this book. Both are heavy on literary and horror elements, without one ever canceling out the other and without it getting too philosophical to stomach.

Julie and James move from the city to the country/suburbs after having a marital stumble. There’s a weird next door neighbor, a weird house, and things start happening that can’t be explained. The mystery of the house becomes the mystery of the two of them, then the two become entwined and can they ever get out?

While perhaps my summary of the plot is lacking, it was probably one of the best horror books I’ve read this year. And it makes me so damn sad that this was the book in PageHabit’s horror box the month before I started getting it. I wish I had the book with all the author’s annotations in it. This book is totally introspective, yet it’s also a great example of speculative fiction. There were times where it was quiet and I was wondering what would happen, then there were times where I was wide-eyed and breathless. I can definitely think of the scene, which is why I recommend the audiobook version if you can. Probably the best way to experience the book.

Blogging + College = ???: Catching up

So, when most people say that they’re excited for the end of the semester, it’s very true. I mean, all the work you did has paid off (you hope) and then you get a short break before going into the next semester. The break never feels long enough, you never feel rested enough, and you sure as hell never feel ready for learning new things.

I have four class periods left until finals, then I’m done. That’s the point where I am.

 

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Actually me.

However, I also have four class periods until I’m completely done with my undergraduate degree.

 

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Also me.

So, that’s a bit terrifying. I have four class periods left until I’ve finished my degree. I’ve submitted my application, know when my recommendations are going to put in their information, and have a plan for what to do next… kind of. I won’t find out until April whether I get into my program or not, so that sucks.

Then, I have even more exciting news to share with you guys. Only two people outside of my family know about it, actually. Last week, an acquaintance called me. We had a class together a year ago, we hit it off, exchanged numbers, and occasionally catch up through texting or a call. So, she called me and told me that the place she’s volunteering at is looking for an Outreach Advocate. It’s a non-profit organization in KCK. Basically, I’d coordinate volunteers, train, and help get things together. Salary is amazing, the job is in my field, I’d get full benefits.

Basically, a great first job in many ways.

And I wouldn’t have to start until January.

And I could probably do some of my fieldwork there.

Obviously, I’m applying.

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I’m going to try submitting my resume and cover letter this weekend and I don’t know when I’ll hear back. So, please, keep me in your thoughts or prayers, send good vibes, recite affirmations to me. Whatever you do, please do it. I’d greatly appreciate anything that comes my way from you guys.

 

 

BW Book Club Poll

(Caidyn)

Something that Chantel and I have discussed is what the hell are we going to do in 2018. We love being able to read a book together each month and coming up with some sort of review for it. It’s fun and keeps us involved in books jointly rather than you guys getting a fun tag that we take part in.

So, we thought that it would be fun if you guys came up with books that you’d like us to read together in 2018. If we get enough recs, then we’ll be able to do this for the whole year. Plus, it’d really be fun to involve all of you in what we read since, right now, we choose our own books month by month.

The way this works is that we’d like you to put in some books you would like to see us read. In the survey, I’ve provided a link so you guys can see what we’ve read for 2017. There is a “limit” for how many books we’d like you to suggest, but don’t let that stop you. If you can only think of one book you’d like us to read, put that in. If you think of more than five, please put them in.

There is also a short poll that we’d like you to do about what you like about the blog and what you might like to see more of.

All in all, it’s only three questions. I know that we’d both love it if you guys filled it out so we can read what you’d like us to and so we can get a little bit of feedback. This is going to run from now through around December 20th. Everything’s anonymous so you can say what you want and you don’t have to say who you are unless you want to.

Click here to take it and thank you again for everyone who does!

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

The House on Foster Hill

(Caidyn)

1/5 – DNF at 41%

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an advance copy of this book! It, in no way, influenced my opinions. I basically requested this book because of the title, description, and cover. They interested me, really.

The story in this is dual told from different periods. Ivy is Kaine’s great-great grandmother (give or take a great). It’s a mystery of sorts where they’re trying to figure out an eerily similar problem from their respective time periods. Ivy is dealing with a murdered girl who recently had a baby, the baby nowhere to be found. Kaine’s husband was possibly murdered and she has a stalker, a stalker that followed her to her new home.

I told you it sounded interesting. However, it was just dull.

There was absolutely no tension to be seen, even if it was described as a mystery. The focus just wasn’t on the mystery. It was a catalyst for the women to find new love, with the mystery hovering in the background with some decisions to be made. However, it just really felt like romance and things were just being figured out. I was 40% into it and there were no suspects in either story. It left me wondering what point the mystery held besides to get them close to men who could heal the women’s dark pasts.

Definitely not one for me.

The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford

The Twilight Pariah

(Caidyn)

2/5

I got this for my September PageHabit box and, well, wasn’t too excited about it. I trust an author who is a reviewer first and foremost. He said it wasn’t good. Sadly, I have to agree with him. I started this on Halloween because I wanted a short and spooky read. However, it reminded me of Ghost Adventures.

I hate watch that show. It’s stupid. The people in it are absolute idiots who have no credibility with what they do. It’s a goddamned joke where nothing happens but they make a huge deal out of any little thing that they might find. Basically. it’s a lot like this book.

The barebones plot is that three friends go to an abandoned house while drunk and decide to be archeologists and dig it up. Logical, right? So, you know, casual breaking and entering, along with digging things up. But, that’s about all that happens in the book. Some weird shit goes on and some really weird plot that’s held by a tenuous thread. It was just absolutely boring.

The reviews by authors lie. It’s nothing like Stephen King or Indiana Jones. I was laughing but from the book’s actual humor and unintended humor. I wasn’t scared one bit. All of this book felt immature, not as if a seasoned author crafted it.

Basically, I’d avoid it if you want something freaky but if you want a book where nothing happens, go for it.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved

(Caidyn)

4/5

The first time I read this book, it was for AP Literature in my senior year of high school. So, like, four years ago now. It was the hardest book we read, emotionally and literature wise, yet also the most satisfying. Now, I’m going to call it beautiful. Because it is a beautiful book on so many levels. Yet, I’m going to have to describe it and everyone’s going to be horrified by me.

In an easy summary, this book is about the inhabitants of a house haunted by a vengeful murdered baby. Then, things start coming back. Past and present merge in a beautiful story of memory as the women come together. You can’t escape your memories, but remembering is dangerous.

Sethe is a woman who fought for her life. She was a slave who had something horrible happen to her, then ran away, sending her children ahead of her, pregnant with one after a terrible beating, and then left her husband behind to never see him again. Then, after getting to freedom, they come back and she commits a crime that will forever mark her as apart and other.

It’s a very sad book. I remember the first time I read this, how much I hurt and felt and was horrified by the things in it. Yet, it’s such a beautiful story that I was compelled to finish it and to see what the end was. It’s also an extremely hard book to understand because of how artfully Morrison weaves the narratives together and blends past with the present. It’s definitely a book I’d suggest to anyone and everyone.

Deadly Cure by Lawrence Goldstone

Deadly Cure

(Caidyn)

2/5 – DNF at 56%

Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced copy! This did not effect my opinions.

The basic plot to this book is that it’s a big mystery based on the deaths of children. This is set in, I’d say, the late 1800s to early 1900s back in the time when patent medicine was about. Medicine wasn’t regulated back then. You could put anything in it and pass it off as medication. We find it hilarious and horrifying hearing about heroin or cocaine being in medication to actually help people, but this was the time. And, someone’s running experiments on kids.

I found it interesting and I liked, for the most part, the main character trying to solve this mystery, Dr. Noah Whitestone. He was personable and a nice guy. Then, I got distracted when they obviously were trying to toss in a romance… all while he’s grieving a dead wife and has a fiance.

So, it got ruined for me at about 60% when it threw in a pointless sex scene between Noah and this third woman. (And, trust me, there are no other female characters than his love interests.) So, he cheated on his fiance. I felt as if I was supposed to be cool with it. And it was also super rapey since Noah repeatedly said no, but it was ignored and the sex happened.

Good story, then it just got super ruined for me.

The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud

The Empty Grave (Lockwood & Co., #5)

(Caidyn)

5/5

Reviews for books one, two, three, and four.

While you look at that rating, maybe in some shock and maybe with a bland sense of knowing I’d do that, I want to say that this series isn’t perfect. There were many times when I absolutely raged in a bad way.

Me more than a few times.

 

This is now a general spoiler warning for the series. I will put extra spoiler warnings as well.

  • Holly and Lucy hate. Pissed me off to no end and it served no purpose for the third book. If the goal was to make Lucy leave, don’t add in extra drama to “throw us off” about why she left.
  • SPOILERS FOR THIS BOOK. Holly’s sexuality has been toyed with from when she entered, with her being assumed straight for the sake of Lucy’s imagination running wild. Then, this book, it ends up with Holly telling Lucy that Lockwood isn’t her type and then saying she lives with a girl. Her roommate. Sounds like the past, doesn’t it? Oh, no, not gay. They’re roommates. It felt really tacked on since this is a super straight book (aka no queer characters). I’m going to steal a text Chantel sent me when I was talking about this to her: “It should be normalized, not hinted at.”
  • Sort of spoilers for the series, but I’m not going into a huge amount of depth. I really wish that the overarching plot had been woven into the other books better. Now, it didn’t feel forced, but it also felt like it could have been incorporated just a bit more. I liked the plot in this book, yet it also felt odd.
  • DEFINITELY SPOILERS FOR THE LAST FEW PAGES. Lucy and Lockwood deserved more. I mean, it was super cute, that ending. Him giving her his mother’s necklace and then walking away with her chasing after him, but I really needed a bit more since I’ve waited five books for them to get together and it wasn’t even in the book.

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Spoilers over now!

But, this book hit me in the feels. Chantel got quite a few texts from me while I was reading the last few parts of the book. Characters dead, not dead, maybe dead. A constant shift of mortal peril. (Imagine Mrs. Weasley’s clock.) I also take melatonin before I sleep, which I did around 8PM like usual so I’m asleep in, give or take, an hour. I’m old. Shush. But, 10:30 rolled around and still up and all that. Also, there were tears. There were tears a few times.

Since I can’t talk about the plot without giving major spoilers for the last books, all I can say is that this was a bittersweet and hopeful ending. The last part is titled The Beginning. It’s a new chapter for Lockwood & Co. in many ways. So, I really hope that Jonathan Stroud will see this and agree with me that he should totally write a short story collection or a few novellas about the characters and some of their new adventures. I love this group, honestly, and I would want to see them navigate life now that they did this and gave me a satisfying ending.

The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud

The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co., #4)

(Caidyn)

4.5/5

Reviews for book one, two, and three.

And, we’re back. This book picks up after the end of the last book and is the second to last book in this series. There’s a lot of ground it has to cover, along with makeup for the disappointment book three was. Luckily, this was a whole lot better.

Lucy has largely gotten over herself from the last book. She’s done some soul-searching (no pun intended) and is reunited with her gang. The bane of her existence from the last book, aka Holly – who reminds me of me, isn’t around too much. Lucy’s really realized that 1) Lockwood isn’t interested in Holly and 2) Holly isn’t interested in Lockwood. Time apart did wonders. They still get annoyed by one another just because their personalities are so different, but Lockwood drama is done.

On the other hand, Lucy is with Lockwood a lot. They really work together as a team throughout the various adventures this plot takes us. This book really took time developing their relationship. Lucewood? Lucwood? Locky? I don’t know ship names. Either way, they’re a really good team.

Yet, the plot was really disjointed. It starts with a cannibal ghost, then goes with some drama about the Skull, then a haunted village, then the bigger plot that’s been brewing in the background for the last few books. It just didn’t feel like they all connected together, but really one led into the other and somehow it all worked. Each plot was fantastic on its own, but I really wanted more payoff of them being combined and then some earth-shattering realization when they actually are all the same issue. With this, they sort of were the same issue, but it didn’t make me do this:

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The cliffhanger for this was fascinating. Apparently, I did read this one last year but I didn’t remember a thing from it. Maybe a tiny bit of the beginning, but that was it. I’m really excited to see how the big payoff is presented in light of the cliffhanger.