“The Agony of Bun O’Keefe” by Heather Smith

OMG guys, I read a book that didn’t have monsters, vampires, or any supernatural themes. Just regular old fiction! 🙂 I would never have heard of this little gem if it weren’t for reading my friend, Schizanthus’s review. I just had to request it from Netgalley!

This short book is just so unique and addictive. Bun O’Keefe is a 14 year old (this is NOT a young adult book) with a 300-pound hoarder mother who tells her one day, “Get out! Just get out!” And so she does.

Luckily, she finds a very kind group of rag-tag friends who teach her about life, love, emotions, and how to function *more* as a social being.

I’m guessing Bun has Asperger’s, but it doesn’t really say. She memorizes details from medical encyclopedias and remembers lines from movies and little obscure tidbits. She is extremely literal and has no inkling of “social cues,” but wow, this girl is so awesome and there are many touching scenes and lines.

This also takes place in the 80s, which is cool!

She doesn’t remember her birthday but when her mother lights a candle on August 16th for Elvis’s birthday, she knows “that’s the day to say, Happy Birthday, Bun O’Keefe.”

She is tiny and malnourished and never menstruated. She lived off sausage in a can, saltines and plastic-wrapped cheese. She thought of Cherry Coke as being a fruit.

“Santa stopped coming when my dad left. I figured it was ’cause my mother turned me invisible.”

No one knew she was alive, she didn’t go to school, and was basically an agoraphobic teen until she finds her tribe.

Cher/Chris – the awesome transvestite whose dad wanted him to be a doctor
Chef – the guy who works as a dishwasher but can cook like a boss
Busker Boy – an Innu Indian with a tender heart who takes Bun under his wing
Pop Girl – the girl whose Catholic-extremist mom wanted her to join a convent so she ran away

This was just great. I highly recommend. It’s a book you can read in a day and will leave you feeling good, even though it’s sad. It’s the kind of quirky, “regular” fiction I LOVE.

There are some abuse triggers, but no major details and it doesn’t go on and on. I lurve Bun so much!

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for providing a digital copy to read and review.

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Artemis by Andy Weir

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This book isn’t released until November and already has about 400 reviews at Goodreads! What do I say that probably hasn’t already been said?

My initial response was that the book felt like:

  1. John Grisham in space. Only no lawyers.
  2. Michael Crichton in space. Only no dinosaurs.
  3. Dan Brown in space. Only no religious conspiracies.

Let’s start with Jazz. She’s Saudi Arabian and lived most of her life on the moon (Artemis). She might have been born there, but I can’t remember. She can’t live or even WALK on Earth anymore without major treatments, exercise, medication, etc. because of the difference in gravity. But she is a moon girl, through and through, and has no intention of being anywhere else.

Jazz is a very interesting character, in that she isn’t very likable, yet you find yourself cheering for her anyway. She is a smuggler and doesn’t do anything too crazy yet she is always on someone’s radar. She is one of those brilliant young women who have family members (in this case, it’s just her dad) always telling her she “has so much potential.” She is fiercely independent, snarky as hell, and does what she wants, when she wants.

This is a story of how she makes a deal thinking this will be “the one” to make her rich and yet of course, EVERYTHING goes wrong, and she has to figure out how to dig her way out of the big poop pile.

I have NOT read The Martian, believe it or not, so have nothing to compare this to except The Egg and Annie’s Day (which I liked both of those very short stories a lot).

I enjoyed this. A good high-tech sci-fi suspense… very science-y in a way readers will be able to comprehend. I don’t think it’s my typical choice in reading material. But I was entertained and I think it’s going to sell tons of books and be very successful.

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for providing a digital copy to read and review!
Review also found at Goodreads.

 

 

The Red Lily (Vampire Blood 2) by Juliette Cross

This is a blog I wrote about book two in the Vampire Blood series by Juliette Cross featuring Nikolai and Sienna, who we met in book one. It will be released on
July 19, 2017 and was fantastic. Check it out below! 🙂

The Red Lily is book two in the Vampire Blood series by Juliette Cross. The kingdoms are ruled by the dark and powerful Varis vampire family. One of the royals is pulling the strings and powering the soldiers with a blood madness, called sanguine furorem, giving them extra strength and an indiscriminate urge to murder […]

via The Red Lily (Vampire Blood 2) by Juliette Cross — Dust off Your MacHalo

Dust Off Your MacHalo

crusty chick

I wanted to post a heads up: I am now mainly blogging over at Dust Off Your MacHalo. Please follow me there if you haven’t already! It’s a blog made up of four other members of our group at Goodreads, Dust off Your MacHalo, It’s Time for Another Buddy Read.

The main focus is still books, but we also delve into movies, gaming, and have more “Best Of” and topic blogs than I have done here.

Our Twitter handle: DustOff_MacHalo.

Our DustOffYourMacHalo Instagram.

We have a Q&A up with author A. Zavarelli, who has a new dark romance out called Beast and penned the Boston Underworld series, which I love.

I’ll still be blogging here occasionally, but will mainly be over there. Check us out if you have the time! Thanks!

 

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James

NOW AVAILABLE! Release day was yesterday! I highly recommend!

No spoilers. This is due for release February 14, 2017 and I received a digital copy from Netgalley and publisher to read and review. Thank you!

What the hay, I’m giving this all the stars! First of all, it has one of my favorite premises:

– Rich, elite group with special abilities (like healing, pyrokinesis, and telekinesis, etc.) that controls and suppresses the masses until some of them rise up and fight against the tyranny.

I LOVE this type of story! It’s an evil X-Men enslaves humanity thing.

They are called Equals, ironically, although they are only equal among themselves (and even then, not really, because this society thrives on politics and intrigue). I won’t go into the plot because spoilers, but just a little background and setup can’t hurt.

This is an alternate reality world. Great Britain still exists, which is where the story takes place. There is still a United States, but it is split into two. One that has abolished slavery and one that hasn’t. Slavery in this world has nothing to do with skin tone, but whether you are born with Skill.

All “commoners” must give ten years of their lives working in slavetowns. They can wait until they are 80 or 18. The story mainly focuses on two sisters, a brother, and their parents after they enter their slavedays and go to “serve” a powerful Equal family.

The story is told through several POVs. I found the pacing to be great and I was quite wrapped up in the story. It does end on a cliffhanger. But I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

I found the Equal characters to be more interesting than Abi or Luke, to be honest. All of the Equals except a few are just horrible. I hated them, but I was intrigued. There are some really good villains you just want to throttle.

I have a feeling this will be a popular book. I hope people enjoy it as much as I did. It has a bit of romance, but not much. The plot drama was enough to keep me on the edge of my seat without wanting to bash my head against a wall.

It is the author’s debut and I think she did a great job. I am definitely wanting more from this world!

“Wrath and Bones” (Marnie Baranuik #4) by A.J. Aalto

Wrath and Bones (The Marnie Baranuik Files Book 4)Wrath and Bones by A.J. Aalto

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review also found at: https://theparanormalpaladin.wordpres…

This was my first completed book of 2016. Yay me! And it was a really good one!
I think Wrath and Bones is my favorite since Touched. To be honest, the love triangle and Marnie’s obnoxiousness kind of ruined Death Rejoices for me, but maybe I wasn’t in the mood. I liked Last Impressions better, but this really seemed like inspired story-telling.

From the first page, I was drawn in the story, and there seemed to be very little setup before you were thrust into the action. A LOT of things happen in this book. One reason I may have liked it more is just that I love me some vampires/revenants and the whole premise surrounded them. The Houses are summoned to replace the King, who has gone mad and can’t do his job anymore.

Asmodeus, who was a total jerk, had Marnie go off with Declan (the Irishman returns and I was glad to see him) and Batten on a quest to retrieve three objects. Marnie also has to prevent Trollpocalypse. She gets to meet other Daysitters, most of whom seem like shitty people.

The world-building here is top-notch, in my view. I was fascinated by the orcs, trolls, spriggans, werefox, and mellified mummy man? Awesome stuff. The scene towards the end where they battle the trolls with the help of a massive Baltic sea wyrm was fantastic!

Also, this one had some of the best “nonsense” words that Marnie makes up and uses as swear words. So funny. Snatchgoblin, “donked in the wabbles,” twatdribble… lots of funny in this one.

No sexy Harry times, but I guess I can forgive that. TEAM HARRY forever! LOL

All in all, I think this is the best story since book one. I thought the author was really on her game with this one. Fantastic.

Review also found at Goodreads.

Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1) by Anne Rice

Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles made me love reading books. I mean, it didn’t exactly start there. I can go back further in my childhood to other books, but as a “young adult” in my late teens, this series nailed it for me. I was captivated. They stayed with me and I thought about them for DAYS, weeks even. In retrospect, it was probably my first experience of “book depression.” I wanted Lestat to turn me into a vampire. I think he was my first book boyfriend.

This is my first re-read since the 90s, I think, and it didn’t hold up as well as I’d hoped. Louis is a dreadful vampire. He has as much self-loathing as Bill Compton from the Sookie Stackhouse series. Sheesh. I found it dreadful to read from his POV. He hated being a vampire and was so melodramatic. I like to read about unapologetic vampires who thrive and are confident and kick-ass. This is NOT that kind of story.

It does read like a “new” classic with lots of literary phrases and descriptions. It’s well-written as a historical novel about an earlier Louisiana and France in the 1800s. It has a certain appeal. But I think that Louis is insufferable as a leading man. Claudia shines with what she is given. Lestat is sort of a villainous caricature here (readers know he is fleshed out in future books and becomes much more complex than any of the vampires in this series, for better or worse).

I am not sure I will read this one again because it’s just … kind of boring to me now. Maybe I’ve outgrown it? I think I like a little more bite in my vampire books now.

View all my reviews