Kill God then We’ll Talk: Reviewing Waking Gods (Book Two of the Themis Files) by Sylvain Neuvel

Hello everyone! It only took forever but I’m finally back with more book reviews. I’m starting to get my life back in order so I’ll have more time for this blog now. Okay, enough with the excuses. Here is my review of book two of The Themis Files, Waking Gods. 

Dr. Rose Franklin is supposed to be dead but she’s not. She is surrounded by the mystery of Themis as well as the mystery of her own existence. When Earth is brought under attack by another giant robot, Rose realizes that she is even closer to the truth about herself and the robots than before. As major cities are coming under attack, Rose and the Earth Defense Corps must unlock the secrets of the ancient alien technology that will let them win the battle for Earth.

One of my favorite things about the first book and this one is how Neuvel keeps a balance between character development as well as the action-filled parts of the story. Building character development in an unconventional story structure is difficult but Neuvel manages it. The novel doesn’t fall victim to “sequel-itis” as the stakes are higher, the mysteries go deeper, and the characters are faced with tougher choices. I was taken on many twists and turns that I did not even begin to expect when I started this novel. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I had a hard time not skipping ahead to see what would happen to my favorite characters. Waking Gods keeps the thrills going in this adventure that is perfect for sci-fi fans.

You do not believe although you have seen: Reviewing The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Hi everyone! I want to begin out this post by saying thank you so much for your response to my post about anxiety. I’ve been doing a lot better and I hope that you have been feeling well too. Now that we are past that for now, I’m going to talk to you about one of the more famous horror novel, The Exorcist. I should note that I’ve never seen the movie but I have seen the more famous moments. In general, I’ve always been really fascinated with the paranormal. Some of you are already rolling your eyes but, if I’m being honest, my life would be just a little more boring if I didn’t believe in the possibility of ghosts or demons or whatever. I’ll talk about this more after I give you my review of The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Chris MacNeil is a struggling single mom and actress whose only source of happiness is her young daughter, Regan. Chris realizes something is wrong after Regan begins spending time with an imaginary friend she calls “Captain Howdy.” When things begin to escalate to the point everyone in the house is in danger, Chris calls on the help of Father Damien Karras in the desperate hope that he might save her daughter. Soon, they are faced with a dangerous entity who wants to destroy everything dear to them.

I do want to give a bit of a warning. There are some very graphic parts in this novel that those who are sensitive may not want to read. With that being said, the novel delivers with all of the horror elements. It has just enough gore, scary real-life details, and the psychological elements. I liked the build up to the final event of the actual exorcism itself. It was a terrifying and interesting experience that didn’t feel too convoluted or drawn out. This is certainly a very plot driven novel if you prefer the that type of novel. If you aren’t familiar with horror then you might not enjoy this novel but horror fans should give this one a chance. I had a hard time putting this novel down and it is a surprisingly quick read. William Petter Blatty’s classic horror novel lives up to its reputation with plenty of scares and suspense.

Note: The novel is based on a real life event. If you are interested, I’m going to leave a link below. You might have heard of the Roland Doe case before. If you haven’t, it is an interesting read. You’ve been warned again as there are some graphic details.

To Russia with Lust: Reviewing The Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

Hello everyone! I finally have a book review to give you and I am so happy to share another nerdy side of me. I have mentioned before that I love mystery/thriller novels but I have never mentioned that I love spy novels. In fact, I love the spy genre in general. I’ve seen almost all of the James Bond movies and I do have a few of the original novels but I haven’t gotten to reading them yet. I had a bit of a phase when I was younger where I was really into spy stuff. It kind of stuck with me after all of these years. I will now talk to you about The Red Sparrow, the first book of the Red Sparrow trilogy.

Dominika Egorova, wanting to become the perfect spy for Russia, finds herself in the infamous “Sparrow School” where she trains in the art of seduction. Nathaniel Nash, wanting to break away from his family’s legacy, decides to join the CIA and is caught in the middle of a new kind of Cold War. The two promising young spies are pushed into the dangerous world of sexpionage, double agency, and secret alliances. Dominika and Nate must find a way to survive their missions and save their countries.

Spy novels have somewhat fallen out of trend but Matthews brings a new angle to the genre as he worked for the CIA. This knowledge certainly shows in the writing and I found it fascinating. I enjoyed the character of Dominika. She has synesthesia, which plays in really well with her skill set. I definitely found myself rooting for her throughout the book. Nate was also an enjoyable character. He was charm but he isn’t meant to just be James Bond knock off. Some of the pacing in the book was a little off when it gets to chapters that are solely about different government officials meeting but I guess that is where some of the realism plays in. Spying is not that glamorous of a job. I do feel obligated to give a warning that there are a few scenes of sexual violence in this novel that were a bit hard to read at times. There’s also a lot of jargon that I didn’t quite understand but I appreciated the use of it. Other than that, I really enjoyed this novel and definitely enjoyed unravelling all of the mysteries. I’m going to go ahead and recommend The Red Sparrow if you are interested in spy novels. I will definitely try to read the rest of the trilogy as I cannot get enough of this stuff.

Note: I haven’t seen the movie yet. I’ve heard mixed reviews, though. If you’ve seen it, let me know if it is worth it.

 

Current Favorites: Movie Edition

Hi everyone! I currently don’t have any new books to read and a sprained ankle. But you know what I do have? I have passion for movies. I’m actually currently taking a class called Hollywood Heroines: Women in Film for my senior seminar. This got me thinking and I wanted to share with you some of my favorite mainstream and/or indie films. While I do have a ton of movies I love, I’m just going to talk about five more recent films I’ve seen that struck me in a particular manner. I hope you enjoy this list. Let me know if you have seen any of these and what you thought about them.

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The Shape of Water – (Directed by Guillermo Del Toro, 2017)

A good majority of you readers have probably heard of this movie as it has been picking up plenty of award show buzz. If you haven’t, then I will give you a quick synopsis.

A young mute woman named Elisa works as a cleaning lady at a secret government lab. When she encounters a mysterious humanoid fish creature who is being studied, she and the creature form an intimate bond. Elisa decides she must save him from the sinister government agency who have bigger plans.

Now I am a huge fan of Guillermo Del Toro’s work. I was certainly interested by the bizarre and intriguing premise. Also, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I had read a lot about the sex scenes in this movie. Regardless, it is still a fairy tale-like and romantic movie with plenty of beautiful visuals. With a balance between the otherworldly and the realistic, The Shape of Water is certainly an experience that the viewer can lose themselves in with its romance and fantasy.

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Colossal – Directed by Nacho Vigalondo, 2016

I stumbled across this movie after reading a review in Entertainment Weekly. It sounded interesting but I didn’t think I would get around to watching it. I ended up getting a hold of it and decided to watch it on a whim. I certainly didn’t regret it.

Gloria, an unemployed party girl, is kicked out her apartment by her exhausted boyfriend and decides to return to her hometown. Once she returns home, a monster appears in Seoul, South Korea. Gloria begins to realize that she is more connected to this phenomenon than she thought.

I know that a lot of people are not fans of Anne Hathaway but I have a feeling you might change your mind. She portrays probably the most messy and realistic character I’ve seen. The movie does an excellent job reworking the classic monster movie. It’s a nice balance of dark comedy, drama, and sci-fi. Give this one a try if you get a chance.

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Arrival – Directed by Dennis Villenueve, 2016

This one is pretty well-known for being snubbed severely during the 2016 movie awards seasons. At first, I didn’t think much of it until I was given the opportunity to watch this movie. Afterwards, I also became angry that this movie got snubbed. I also don’t really remember what the movie was up against. Regardless, here’s the premise:

Twelve stranger spacecrafts land on Earth and no one can figure out why they are here. Linguistics professor Louise Brooks is recruited to figure out a way to communicate with the inhabitants of the space crafts. Soon, she discovers a message that no one was expecting.

This one isn’t your typical alien invasion movie. There isn’t any horror to be found, nor is it overly preachy about the self-destructive nature of humanity or something like that. Instead, this movie focuses on creating an understanding between humans and aliens. What if the aliens have something important to say? Why is language so important? Arrival explores these various themes with its excellent story telling. (There is also a really good plot twist at the end that I won’t spoil.)

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The Accountant – Directed by Gavin O’Connor, 2016

I’m a fan of action movies but they tend to get repetitive over the years. When I find one that stands out, I get excited. I do realize that Ben Affleck has been rather controversial recently so I don’t mean to promote him too much but, just hear me out about this movie.

Math savant Christian Wolff has made a career on cooking the books for crime families, mobs, and terrorists organizations. When the US Treasury closes in on him, he must undo the damage he’s done and save a new friend.

I have to give this movie props for having a unique main character. Christian has high-functioning autism and I felt that Affleck portrayed it in a realistic manner. It does somewhat perpetuate the myth that people with autism tend to be savants but it is not unrealistic by any means. It’s refreshing to see a protagonist who breaks the classic “Macho Man” role. If you are a fan of John Wick, then you will definitely like this movie. It is clever, action packed, and stands out in the action genre. I recommend you give this one a chance.

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Logan – Directed by James Mangold, 2017

I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t a huge superhero fan. I love MCU and all of the DC tv shows. The DC movies have yet to completely win me over but Wonder Woman was fantastic. Anyways, I was definitely sad to see Hugh Jackman retire Wolverine but I was at least glad that they gave him and Sir Patrick Stewart such an amazing exit. This movie is currently getting some much deserved Oscar buzz.

In the near future, an aging and reluctant Wolverine is charged with taking care of Professor X, who is going senile. Their quite lives are quickly upended when a young mutant arrives with dark forces following close behind.

The first thing I love about this movie was that they made it R-rated which was perfect for the character of Wolverine. This movie has some great Easter eggs for X-Men fans and give the perfect finale for such iconic characters. It’s touching, violent, and profound. Logan is an experience for any comic book fan as it takes the genre in a different direction that doesn’t rely on heavy special effects or anything too convoluted. (Not that I have a problem with that.)

All My Soul Within Me Burning: Reviewing The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl

Hi everyone! I am so glad to be bringing you another book review so soon. I practically raced to finish this book today. As you might know, I am a huge fan of Edgar Allan Poe and I have been absolutely fascinated with his odd life as well as death. I saw the title of this book and could not resist. I promise not to be biased in this review but it does combine a lot of my favorite elements. I will now tell you my thoughts on The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl.

Quentin Hobson Clark, a young lawyer living in Baltimore, is devastated by the death of his favorite author, Edgar Allan Poe. Clark decides to take it upon himself to clear Poe’s name and solve the mystery behind the bizarre death. Quentin soon realizes that there is much more to Poe’s death than he imagined as it leads him to international police agents, assassinations, and the horror of the Baltimore slave trade. Clark finds soon that he must solve the mystery of Poe’s death or else he may befall the same fate.

At first, when I was reading this novel, I was afraid that it may simply lead back to the factual evidence of Poe’s death, which is still unsolved to this day. Instead, I found myself enthralled with the twists and turns that the plot took me on. The pacing is slow to begin with but I soon began to realize it was the beginning of a roller coaster. The novel avoids getting too convoluted but still provides enough suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. I was surprised by how intense this novel got but I absolutely love that. This novel is most definitely in the vein of the classic Sherlock Holmes stories with its gothic elements and atmospheric writing. I am so glad I stumble upon this novel. You don’t need to be a Poe fan but, if you are a Poe fan like me, then I highly recommend Matthew Pearl’s The Poe Shadow as your next mystery/thriller novel.

We Never Stop Burning: Reviewing Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Hello everyone. As I am soon heading back to college, I am using as much time as I have left to do some leisure reading. This particular novel as been on my TBR list for a while now and I even managed to get a signed copy. I’ve become more of a Krysten Ritter fan after watching Marvel’s Jessica Jones, which I highly recommend. Celebrity written books tend to be looked down upon as they are either hit-or-miss unless it’s an autobiography of some kind but I let my bias for Ms. Ritter guide me to this novel. So, I will now tell you about her debut novel, Bonfire. 

Environmental lawyer Abby Williams had spent a decade trying to escape from her small town and reestablish herself. She is forced to confront the past when a case involving a big company, Optimal Plastics, takes her right back to where she came from. The case becomes deeper and stranger when Abby finds a connection to the disappearance of her former best friend, Kaycee Mitchell. Abby finds her self struggling to keep her mind together as she is sucked back into her not-so-quiet hometown. With the weight a conspiracy on her shoulders, Abby Williams must solve these seemingly serrate mysteries in order to fix her small town.

You all know at this point that I’m a sucker for a good mystery novel and Bonfire definitely fulfilled this. Ritter’s prose is realistic and vivid with hints of snark and sentiment. The way that all of the mysteries tie together is satisfying, as well as how the main character’s arc is completed. Ritter doesn’t hold back on the emotional side of this story but balances it out with the technical, legal aspect. Sometimes the conversations of legal jargon can weigh the story down but it’s not enough to throw off the pacing of the story. Some of the side characters were a little flat but, again, it didn’t throw off the story. If you are a fan of Gillian Flynn or Paula Hawkins, then I definitely recommend Bonfire for you. Krysten Ritter’s literary debut is a strong one with plenty of twists, turns, and suspense that will keep any mystery novel-lover turning the pages.

In Space, No One Can Hear You Steal: Reviewing Artemis by Andy Weir

You don’t even know how excited I was to finally get this book. I had been patiently waiting for the longest time for the release date. I don’t know how a bunch of you got a copy ahead of time but I’m glad that I can finally enjoy this novel with the rest of you. I’ve gushed over The Martian enough so it’s time to gush about another book. I will now give you my review of Artemis, Andy Weir’s second ever novel.

Life on the moon is great if you’re rich. If you’re not rich, then it sucks. Jazz Bashara has spent most of her life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, making a living meager living as a porter for the wealthy eccentric businesspeople. When one eccentric businessman offers her an opportunity to get rich quick, Jazz decides to take matters into her own hands in order to escape her crappy life. Soon, Jazz realizes that she is caught up in a much larger conspiracy that puts the entirety of Artemis at risk. Jazz must use her quick wit and tech knowledge in order to save her city and defeat the criminals who seek to control it.

Like I said before, I was so excited to finally read this novel and I was happy with what I had read. Weir incorporates his signature wit and humor into each character he created. It is not a fantastically futuristic book but it is founded in real science, much like The Martian was. I think what makes the setting more interesting is that it does have real science. I’m not a science person by any manes but I was fascinated with Weir’s realistic world he created. Jazz is a funny, sarcastic, and realistic heroine who definitely stands apart. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it for any of you sci-fi lovers out there. Andy Weir’s second novel is a fantastic and hilarious space thriller that will keep you turning the pages.

After The World Ended…: Reviewing World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

There was a point when I didn’t really care about the zombie genre. My interest was peaked when I saw Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. Soon, I was hooked on The Walking Dead and I now have a better appreciation for the zombie genre as a whole. Most of these stories but you in the center of the action but they rarely discuss what happened afterwards. That is what makes Max Brooks’ novel so unique and I will now review World War Z for you.

It’s been years since the world was taken over by zombies. Humans managed to come out victorious, but at what price? One brave (but unnamed) journalist decides to travel the world to explore the aftermath of the Zombie War in order to uncover what truly happened during the zombie apocalypse and if the world will ever be the same again.

World War Z is certainly a unique take on the classic zombie apocalypse story. The novel is told through interviews with everyone from average citizens to prominent politicians. The format can come across as boring if you go into the novel without knowing how the story is told. If you are looking for a new idea in the zombie genre, then I definitely recommend this novel. Brooks provides a fascinating and in-depth look at a probable situation. It almost makes you feel as though you’ve lived through the Zombie War as well. Note: The movie adaptation of World War Z starring Brad Pitt is really good though it doesn’t follow the novel exactly. I still recommend it, regardless.

Human Places Make Inhuman Monsters: Reviewing The Shining by Stephen King

Happy Halloween everyone! In honor of today, I decided I’m going to review one of the most classic horror novels from the master of horror novels himself. Despite the novel not being long, it took me a while to get through it but I survived the Overlook and I’m here to tell you about it so sit back and enjoy my review of Stephen King’s The Shining. 

Jack Torrance is troubled man struggling to overcome his personal demons. When he is given an offer to be a seasonal caretaker at the famous Overlook Hotel, he seizes the opportunity to offer a better life for his young family and to work on his writing. As a terrible winter creeps in, the Overlook begins to a reveal a darker side that brings about the worst in the Torrance family. Soon, Danny – the gifted child, Wendy – the caring wife, and Jack – the struggling writer must fight for survival against the long-buried ghosts lurking in the Overlook Hotel.

I have to admit that I have only recently seen the movie, along with finishing the novel. I must say that I was surprised by some of the drastic differences in the plot that were not shown in the movie. That, however, is a different tangent for a different time. The Shining is a brilliantly frightening novel that puts the reader into the isolation that the Torrance family faces. King’s narrative is a perfect balance of suspense, shock, and gore all wrapped up into one haunting novel. Surprisingly, this one of the shorter Stephen King novels so, if you don’t want to commit to one of his longer novels, then I recommend this one. Any horror fan is guaranteed to love this book as (in my opinion) it provides more shock and thrills than the Kubrick movie. Note: I’m not saying the movie is bad but, compared to the book, you would be surprised by how much Kubrick left out.

 

As Above, So Below: Reviewing Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

I bet that you’ve been waiting for me to talk about how much I love Neil Gaiman’s novels. Well, I’m back to tell you about another one of his novels. I meant to write about this one a while ago but I forgot. I have since re-read the book and will now share with you my thoughts on the strange world of Neverwhere. 

Richard Mayhew was doing pretty well for himself with a nice job and wonderful fiancee  in London. All of that changed when he stumbled across a dying girl on the sidewalk. Soon, Richard finds himself trapped in the bizarre and macabre world of London Below where he must fight to get his life back and reach the surface against all odds.

Neil Gaiman is the master of creating vivid settings and characters with just his words. Neverwhere is a wild and wonderful take on the classic “Alice in Wonderland”-type story. Gaiman’s wicked sense of humor shines through in this whimsical novel. Neverwhere is a testament to Gaiman’s world-building abilities. If you are looking for a thrilling and special tale, then I recommend Neverwhere in order to escape from this world to one below.