October 16, 2016

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist

The Unit follows Dorrit Weger starting at the moment she is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit to be used for her biological material.  The Unit takes in every man over 60 and women over 50 who are single, childless, and without scientifically progressive occupations.  They are sequestered in The Unit, which provides them with food, shelter, clothes, shopping, and many amenities while they are put through experimental drug testing and psychological experiments, made to donate blood and platelets, and have their organs harvested. They will be there until their "final donation," which results in death. We follow Dorrit as she tries to mentally survive The Unit. When she ends up falling in love, suddenly this life changes from "just how it is" to an unbearable burden.

I went through a lot of emotions reading this book.  I actually can't believe I had not heard of this one before, considering I do like reading about dystopian societies. I often feel dystopians have been oversaturated in the industry for a while, but I still like reading them, and have ever since I first read 1984 over a decade ago.

The Unit made me question so much, such as, what would I do if I was in Dorrit's place? It is easy to sit here in freedom and safety and judge her choices and decide what I would want and do myself. But we never truly know until we are in that situation.  I have no children of my ownIn our own society, I am often seen as strange for not wanting my own children, and am often judged. Especially since I love children.  I have just never had the desire to be pregnantIn the book's society, they have gone further than judging people and have declared that the childless are less worthy of living.  I am more expendable.  My working body parts are more useful transferred to an ill parent or a doctor or scientist. No one else is of any importance farther than the use of harvesting their bodies.  Can you imagine such a societyThat the only qualifications for the importance of a human being is the ability to procreate or the ability to further the advancement of life and procreation.  It is eugenicsAnd it is terrifying.


The Unit's society is very specific about gender roles, as well.  I have never been one to stick to any prescribed role so that was unsettling, too. I feel people should be able to live in whatever kind of role they see fitGender roles are very culture-specific.  Nature itself has a variety of gender roles that play out across the animal kingdom from male seahorses carrying the fertilized eggs in its own pouch instead of the female, to female praying mantis' killing the males as soon as they are done mating, to homosexual penguins, dolphins, giraffes, and more.  In the book's society the people have no freedom of choice.  Not only are their bodies not their own, but neither are they allowed their own ideas, desires, needs, or beliefs.

Thanks to Kristen for getting me to read this book. It reaffirmed for me how much I believe in personal freedoms, as long as what you are doing does not harm another person.   I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys dystopian novels, especially one from an adult perspective.

September 24, 2016

Happy Fall! Halloween Events and Playlists



Happy Autumn, everybody!

Once I loved all 4 seasons equally.  For the decade since I got fibromyalgia, I prefer the warmer months simply because I feel better during warmer weather. Cold weather makes my muscles seize up.  HOWEVER, I still love wrapping up in blankets with hot tea or cocoa and a good book.  I love watching the leaves changing to all the beautiful shades of green, orange, red, and yellow.  I even love pumpkin spice candles like some basic white girl. :D  I might feel better physically during the warmer months, but I still mentally and emotionally love so many things about the autumn.

This year I have decided to take part in some spooky reading events, too.

Hosted by Michelle of True Book Addict/Seasons of Reading/Castle Macabre:


 

Gothic September and Season of the Witch Events

FrightFall Readathon


R.I.P. hosted by Carl @ Stainless Steel Droppings
If you don't know, Carl includes several different options for this event (which I am TOTALLY late joining in for because it is all of September and October).  Since I am reading for Michelle's events, I am going to do the Peril the Screen option for RIP and make myself watch some creepy movies!




Right now I have been reading Dracula by Bram Stoker since Gothic September started.  I am not sure what else I am going to add on.  Dracula is pretty long.  I am reading Lamp Black, Grey Wolf by Paula Brackston, too, but it is more of a paranormal ghost/magic and Merlin re-telling than it is horror or gothic, but I do think there is a witch aspect to it. I need to read further and make sure for Michelle's October event.

For the screen challenge, I know I want to watch The Curse of Sleeping Beauty, re-watch Sleepy Hollow the Johnny Depp version, and maybe a re-watch of a couple of the films I watched last year for this challenge like Stonehearst Asylum or Lost Boys or The Awakening. I usually watch The Others around this time of year, as well.  It's my favorite movie of this type, it really is.

And as you may or may not know, my seriously terrible A.D.D. has led me to create playlists on Spotify of instrumental music to help me concentrate on reading (counterproductive it may seem, but it totally works) and now I have created a Halloween Background Music playlist to listen to whilst reading Dracula and any other books I pick up for these events.  Then I created a Halloween-ish playlist with words, too, to listen to in the car or while cleaning the house. I have not always dived into Halloween without reluctance - I was once very, embarrassingly easily scared. Last year (or maybe year before?) I slowly got back into it. Now as long as I avoid hard core gore I can handle most things. It has opened up a lot more movies, tv shows, and books for me. Huzzah!  That is always to be celebrated!

ANYway, I thought I'd share the playlists with you in case you wanted to pilfer the songs you like for your own playlists or follow it or maybe it will give you the idea to create your own on your own music platform you enjoy.  So here are the links to each and I included a sampling of songs included in case you can't see the lists because you don't have Spotify (you should totally get it, it is awesome, but I digress) because I am not sure if you can still see them or not.


Halloween Instrumental Background Music

Over 6 hours of music. Some songs include:

Music to be Murdered By by Alfred Hitchcock and Jeff Alexander
Whale & Wasp by Alice in Chains
Tubular Bells by Mary Ayers (from "The Exorcist")
Bad Things (from "True Blood")
Room 1408 by Gabriel Yared (from "1408")
Ghost Song by Max Ablitzer
Creepy Crawl by Necro
Psycho - Suite for Strings by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Night of the Vampire by The Moontrekkers
Theme from Friday the 13th
White Walkers by Ramin Djawadi (from "Game of Thrones") 
Bad Moon Rising (instrumental version of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song)
Sympathy for the Devil (inst. version of the Rolling Stones song)
Hungry Face by Mogwai (you might recognize this as theme song from France's The Returned tv show)



Psycho Killer - Halloween-ish Playlist

3 hours of music. Some songs included:

Psycho Killer by Talking Heads
Sweet Transvestite from Rocky Horror Picture Show
Nightmare by Avenge Sevenfold
Elegy by Carina Round
If I Had a Heart by Fever Ray (you may remember this song from Vikings or The Following)
Hotel California by The Eagles
The Devil in Miss Jones by Mike Ness
Horror Hotel by The Misfits
Gods & Monsters by Lana Del Rey
The Watcher by Midnight Syndicate
Voodoo by Godsmack
Down in a Hole by Alice in Chains
Trigger Happy Jack by Poe
Black Magic by Magic Wands
Cry Little Sister by Gerard McMann (Theme from Lost Boys)
Devil in Me by 22-20s
Thriller by Michael Jackson  


What are you reading this fall/autumn/Halloween?  Gothic stories?  Horror?  Psychological scary or gory scary?  Are you participating in any of the above events?  Share in the comments!!

September 6, 2016

A Thousand Salt Kisses: Why to Skip It

 


I couldn't even read half of this book. The writing is, unfortunately, pretty awful. I love a good mermaid story, so I kept reading thinking it had to get better at some point, but no. No, it doesn't. I've read stories written by young teenagers that far exceed this writing. It was just truly terrible. Here is why:

1. The descriptions of people and places are laundry lists of adjectives - every adjective she could find. Kill me now.


2. The main character constantly contradicts herself and I'm not sure the author settled on a personality for her. She is one way, then the complete opposite 2 pages later, then she changes back, and it goes on like this continuously.


3. Everything is a stereotype or a cliche, from what Crystal acts like to what the bad guy of the story is like. The only originality I saw was in the character's personality disorder. (which I don't believe was on purpose.)


4. I wouldn't find Crystal relatable even if I was still a teenager. Probably because I still have no idea who she is. But also probably because she is supposedly really smart but is written as an obnoxious and naive twit of a girl who couldn't find her way out of a paper bag (how is that for cliches, Demuth?)


5. Insta-love. I HATE insta-love. Not only that, but it wasn't even done well. The guy was cliche in looks, and boring as drywall in personality. 



I am not usually so harsh on a book I did not like because I know the author tried. But I don't think this one tried at all. There is no way.

I seriously wanted to throw this book at a wall several times, but it was on my Kindle, so I just pressed delete extra, extra hard.

P.S. If you want to read a GOOD story about mermaids, try Nichole Chase's Flukes and Tera Lynn Child's Forgive My Fins.

August 30, 2016

Book Review: We Were Kings by Thomas O' Malley



We Were Kings, about the IRA in 1950s Boston, sounded super promising, but in the end I was underwhelmed. :(

1. First, it should have been explained on Net Galley that while this is not a series, that a previous book featuring these characters had been previously released. It wasn't on Goodreads I think the author does a pretty good job not making the reader feel left out if they had not read the other one, but still it got in the way.  There were characters that came in from left field and I didn't understand why they were there. 

2. I really enjoyed the thoughtful and creative murder and murder scene.  It wasn't just a regular mob hit.  The tar thing is creepy and crazy and you don't see that in every other mystery/crime novel.  Loved that.

3. The descriptions of 1950s Irish-heavy Boston area was somehow both underwhelming and too much.  Mostly because it was told in info dumps and with a heavy amount of sorrowful pity from some leftover situation in the previous book that I had no idea about and so had no sympathy for.  You should have really let people know there had been another book.

4. The mystery was WAY too obvious. I could have written that plot line in my sleep.  Next you'll tell me you are writing a book where the big reveal is that people are smuggling drugs into the country in their colons.  Did he spend all his creativity and fresh ideas on the tar murder and had nothing leftover for the climax of the book?  Yikes.

5. The depiction of the IRA and its members was either extremely violent, gruesome, and horrible, or it was boring and predictable. I didn't mind the graphic nature, but the downtime left me so bored.  The characters had so much potential but in the end they were basically exactly who you would expect them to be. They weren't surprising enough to be interesting.

Bottom line?  If you haven't read the first book, or aren't someone who reads everything mystery/crime, I'd skip this one.

August 23, 2016

BOUT OF BOOKS READ-A-THON UPDATES - 8/22 to 8/28

 

I am participating in the Bout of Books Readathon. I will be posting daily updates on my reading here.  Friday I have outpatient surgery (nothing serious at all) so that day and Saturday might be a total wash, but the rest of the week I hope to be reading! 

I am a multi-book reader and I decided that instead of a fresh stack of books for the week I will keep working on the ones I am in the middle of and start a couple more just for fun.

MONDAY
 Total Hours Spent Reading: 4
Total Pages Read: 102

The Fireman by Joe Hill (31 pages)
Eragon by Christopher Paolini (38 pages)
Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle (33 pages)

 TUESDAY
  Total Hours Spent Reading: 4.75 hours
Total Pages Read: 187

A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie (27 pages)
The Heretic Daughter by Kathleen Kent (43 pages)
Somewhere South of Tuscany by Diana Armstrong (30 pages)
The Fireman by Joe Hill (57 pages)
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon (30 pages)

WEDNESDAY
 Total Hours Spent Reading: 0
Total Pages Read: 0

Unfortunately, I didn't get anything read yesterday. Technically, I read 30 pages of Dragonfly in Amber early early in the morning, but I counted it for Tuesday.  I've already started reading for today.  How are you doing with the read-a-thon so far?

THURSDAY
 Total Hours Spent Reading: 2
Total Pages Read: 48

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist (48 pages)

 FRIDAY
 Total Hours Spent Reading: 0
Total Pages Read: 0

I had outpatient surgery this morning and was out cold the rest of the day and night. I knew this was going to be a day I couldn't read, though.

 SATURDAY
 Total Hours Spent Reading: 6
Total Pages Read: 188 pages

A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie (19 pages)
Selling Scarlett (Love Inc #1) by Ella James (51 pages)
Eragon by Christopher Paolini (25 pages)
The Hidden Ones (Legacy of the Watchers #1) by Nancy Madore (93 pages)

SUNDAY 
 Total Hours Spent Reading: 2
Total Pages Read: 30

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (30 pages)



FOR THE WEEK TOTAL
Hours Spent Reading: 18.75 - close to what I hoped, but still under.

Total # of Pages Read: 555
That is equivalent with about 2 books, so that is pretty darn good for me, especially considering I wasn't able to read a couple of the days.  I consider this Bout of Books a success!

 
Did you participate in Bout of Books this go-round?
What did you read?  How did you like it?