Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Rebecca

Guys, if you’ve been around for a minute you know I tend to have a hard time with classics. By hard time I mean I hate them. I try, I really do, but more often than not they leave me with a bad time-wasted taste in my mouth. So when my book club decided on Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier I was slightly hesitant. I hate being the person who doesn’t read the book club book. I had bailed on a couple in the past few months because we have been remodeling our kitchen and I legitimately had no extra time. However, the remodel is [mainly] done, so I knew I just had to buckle down and do it.

That is one thing that I love about book clubs. Without mine, I never would have read this book. If by the off chance that I had picked it up on my own, I wouldn’t have made it past the first three chapters.

The beginning is very dry. A lot of explanation of things that don’t exactly matter, so I did a fair bit of skimming for the first quarter. If you are a fan of pretty sentences that are there just for the sake of being pretty sentences, you will probably really enjoy this part. If you are like me and need some meat and bones to a story before you get really hooked, hang in there. I promise it is worth it.

What is this meat you are speaking of, you ask? I give to you, the worlds most confusing and surprising love triangle in novel form. Love triangles are played out you say? What if I told you a member of this love triangle was dead? Yeah. Thought so.

Also, what if I told you that Daphne Du Maurier has succeeded in doing something to my brain that only that great and powerful Gaiman has ever done before? An entire book in which we never learn the narrators name and I didn’t even notice.

Let me set the scene for you. This story takes place in I am going to assume 1940-50ish? Dates are never given, but given context I think that is a fitting time frame. Our narrator marries the widower of a famous estate known as Manderley, Mr. De Winter. His first wife perished at sea. The house keeping staff, as well as the majority of the townspeople in the surrounding area, adored the first Mrs. De Winter, Rebecca. Most notably, the head house keeper Mrs. Danvers. Without giving too much away, that bitch be crazy.

Essentially, our narrator, who comes from a very modest upbringing and is very young, is thrust quickly into the life of a stranger, in an extravagant estate that she is expected to run. Which was ran previously by a woman whom everyone adored and did everything perfectly. She is married to a man around 25 years older than her, who can’t seem to figure out if he should treat her like a child or his wife, but mainly is just an ass most of the time.

Everywhere she turns, Rebecca is lurking. Rebecca was a better wife. Rebecca was adored by the estate. Rebecca was prettier. Rebecca, was more. 

How is she supposed to compete with someone who isn’t even there anymore?

The twists and turns in the last quarter of this story are phenomenal. It absolutely makes up for the first quarter. They come out of nowhere and then they just unfold in the most brilliant way.

If you love a thriller, you will love this. Look past the 1940’s English countryside facade and see it for what it really is, a ghost story.

 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Hey guys! I just posted my review of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie over on the Appraising Pages blog! I will be contributing over there every now and then, you guys should go give it a follow! Plus the Appraising Pages shop is full over bookish tshirts and jewlery, Justine is amazing and I am so happy to be a part of her blog! You can find it here! I am on the tail end of listening to The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and also about halfway through reading The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon, so be on the lookout for those posts soon!

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

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I was a mollisher, the protegee of a mime-lord. My boss was a man named Jaxon Hall, the mime-lord responsible for the I-4 area. There were six of us in his direct employ. We called ourselves the Seven Seals.

It has been a while since I have been able to lose myself in a dystopian novel. Lately, they all seem to follow the same path. Heavier on the romance than the world building. Which is not a bad thing, its just the same thing. Sometimes, it’s nice to get back to a story that the romance is secondary and the action is drawn to the forefront. Before I jump on into my thoughts about it here is the summary from goodreads!

 The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

Paige’s world, although complicated and harsh, is so easy to jump into. You start off knowing absolutely nothing about the state of the world, what kind of society this dystopia is built on. Shannon does an amazing job of easing you right into it. She starts using slang and phrases that are new to you right from the get go, and I don’t hate it. Some books, like The Maze Runner, try to do the same thing but fall short a bit. You have all these new words and have no idea what they mean or what to make of them, making you hesitate. The Bone Season doesn’t hesitate. Shannon is so sure of the world that she built that it flows through the pages. Her confidence is apparent, as it should be.

The  character building in this story is everything you would want it to be. Paige is complicated, but not confusing. You guys know I talk all the time about secondary character building, and how important I think it is. The secondary characters in this book are amazing. Some of them you get to know for maybe a total of a page collectively through the whole book, and you fall in love with them. That kind of building is so so important! When you only care about the protagonist, you don’t care about the world that they live in, which is so contradictory in a dystopian! My favorite secondary character in The Bone Season is Michael. If that guy doesn’t at least get his own short story, I might die a little inside.

I know I said that the romance takes a back seat in this one, and it does, but that does not mean it dissapoints 🙂 you will love some of the men in this one, and hate others. But you will love the right ones, if you know what I am saying 😉 It isn’t without it’s steamy bits.

I know with dystopians reviews are more like teasers, because I want to keep it as spoiler-free as possible, but trust me on this one you guys. It’s good. I mean really really good. I’m pretty excited to start the sequel, The Mime Order, but I’m gonna take a break and read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie for my book club first! So you will see a review on that one up before The Mime Order. I’m also listening to The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard on Audible because I like to bite off more than I can chew 🙂

Also, go follow @thebookboozer on Instagram! All the cool kids are doing it.

Last Review: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Etsy Shop: Night&Day

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

It’s been a minute guys! Be ready for a slew of posts in the next two weeks. Real talk. Because I already wrote them 😉

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Trigger Warning is the newest collection of poems and short stories by Neil Gaiman. This is by no means his first collection, and the other ones are just as mesmerizing (my favorite being Smoke and Mirrors, that one heats up a bit!). There is a ton that I could talk about, being that there is a lot of different content, so I will just focus on the two things that I love the most about this collection.

First off, let’s talk about trigger warning’s for a minute. They have been around for a long time, but I think are used more predominately now. A trigger warning is a warning that you give before posting something that you think might upset someone. Something that might trigger a past pain or emotion that they experienced. The question is, do you keep reading? Should fiction come with a trigger warning? Gaiman says no. I totally agree with him. You need to feel all the feels people. Good fiction is supposed to make you feel. That is one of the reasons why Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare is my favorite book. It made me feel empowered and strong and brilliant, but it also made me feel loss and heartbreak and grief. And I love it for that. People don’t love Harry Potter because its about wizards and spells and magic. They love it because it is about people who live and lose and grow. They love it because it makes them feel.

Every story in this collection will make you feel a different way, depending on the story and depending on who you are. Some are happy, some are dark. The beauty is you have no idea which way each short story is going to go unless you read it. That is why I am only going to talk about one of these stories, so as not to steal the experience of reading this collection yourself.

My absolute favorite story in this collection, and one of my favorite that he has ever written, is called The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury. This story was released before this collection, and was actually a birthday present from Gaiman to Bradbury on what turned out to be his last birthday. It starts out lighthearted and funny, then morphs into philosophical and thought provoking, making you feel a range of emotions. However, the most beautiful part of this story, is that it was written before Ray Bradbury passed away. I know that. But, if you happen to read this story and did not know it was written while he was still alive, you would almost be positive it was written in memorium of his life. It is an ode to his works and his career that shaped so many lives and childhoods and were so important. So important.

Even if you don’t pick up this collection, please look up that story. It is available all over the internet for free, usually with Gaiman himself reading it. But honestly, you should probably just get the book 🙂

The Martian by Andy Weir

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Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

This is one of those books that I would have never, ever, from the summary picked up. Luckily, my husband’s dad and stepmom were adamant that we would enjoy this and lent us their audible of it. Now, you guys are the lucky ones because you have me to tell you GO READ THIS BOOK. Folks, I mean like now.

The setup of the book follows Watney through logs that he records of his day to day activity. So you never get a first-hand account of his activities, just his retelling of them. Then you eventually get chapters thrown in that are in first person, of things going on on Earth.

Not only is there so much suspense in this book it is ridiculous, but it is so smart. Andy Weir seriously knows his space shit. He goes into so much detail about the tech there on Mars, and explains how Watney comes up with innovation after innovation to struggle to keep himself alive, and it is all true to tech that actually exists and would be present on a manned trip to Mars. At least, that’s what the intro says. I’m not an astronaut, so I mean, I suppose he could have made it all up. It sounds pretty legit though, and that is good enough for me.

The most important thing that I wanted to share with you guys, is something that I can’t believe is never mentioned in the summary. MARK WATNEY IS FREAKING HILARIOUS. This dude gets stranded on Mars with zero contact with any other human. The entire world think that he is dead. Instead of wallowing in what is honestly the most dire situation that I can think of, he decides that if he is going to die all alone on Mars, he is going down with some snark. Here is a couple little gems from him that are my favorites.

“The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the “L” in “LCD” stands for “Liquid.” I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.”

*

“He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”

*

LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.” 

*

“Everything went great right up to the explosion.”

That’s about all I can post quote-wise without putting too many spoilers out there. If you guys love action, suspense, humor, and an extremely well-written storyline, then this book is for you. If you don’t like any of those things, you might be at the wrong blog 😉

Top Ten Tuesday: Secondaries Getting Their Own Books

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If you have never come across a Top Ten Tuesday, it is a weekly feature hosted over on The Broke and The Bookish. They post a different top ten topic every week, it’s pretty awesome. All the cool kids are doing it.

I know that this was last week’s topic, but it was too fun for me not to do. I love secondary characters. Sometimes they are the reason I love a book. Sometimes they are the reason I love an author.

1. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. I never related to Harry. He was a 12 year old orphan boy who is treated like crap from his Aunt and Uncle and then finds out he is a wizard and subsequently ends up being The Chosen One. An intriguing lead, don’t get me wrong. But not someone I could relate too. A girl raised by loving parents, who loved to learn and read? There was my escape. I saw Harry through Hermione’s eyes. It would nice to get inside that head for once. Get on it Jo!

2. Simon Lewis from The Mortal Instruments. Wait, what’s this? I’M SO EXCITED.

3. Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices. Go ahead, argue with me that he was a main not a secondary. In the end I will win because I want what we all want. More Will Herondale.

4. Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter. The thing about the Harry Potter series is it is  seven books from the same point of view. We never get to see inside of anyone else’s head. I would love to know more about Neville’s life. He is one of my favorite characters of all time.

5. All of the Marauders. Collectively or separately I don’t care. Everyone wants this. Everyone.

6. Cinna from The Hunger Games. Another person that I would love some backstory on.

7. Poppet and Widget from The Night Circus. Can you imagine the whimsy?

8. Vida from The Darkest Minds. I am about halfway through In the Afterlight right now and what I wouldn’t give to understand Vida a little bit better. She is so sassy and bitchy and I love it.

9. Haymitch from The Hunger Games. If Haymitch had his own book I probably couldn’t handle it. I still want it though.

10.  Church from The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments, and I am sure a couple more to come. Come on. You know that cat has some stories.

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

RosemarysBaby

So, I am in this book club with some friends and girls I work with. Our last club meeting was right before Halloween and we were all amped to read something creepy. So we thought, Hey! Rosemary’s Baby! Wasn’t that made into a movie? And it was written in like the 60’s right? A horror classic? Sure! Why not! Let’s do it!

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If you are looking for a book that will scare the begeezus out of you, look no further. You guys know I love a good scare, and I have been hunting for a classic horror novel that actually does that ( I know some won’t consider something written in 1965 a classic yet, but hey, I’m not one of those people. Also, based on the amount of work that Rosemary’s Baby ultimately inspired, makes it a classic in it’s own right anyway). Frankenstein and Dracula did not do that for me. Like, not even at all.

If you are looking for a book that makes you want to literally crawl out of your own skin, this is it. The suspense in this is perfectly executed. There is never a lull that you have to wade through, it takes you smoothly throughout the plot while everything just escalates and escalates and escalates.

Levin’s writing is so modern too. If you took away the references to the pop culture of the time, or the “Hey, since I’m pregnant now, I’ll have to remember to ask the doctor how many cocktails is too much” thoughts, and someone asked me when I thought this book was published, I would say post 90’s for sure.

The story is a pretty well known one so I am not going to go too much into that here. What I will say is that the version that I downloaded on my kindle had an introduction by Otto Penzler and it was awesome. Read it. It will cue you in on so many inside jokes Levin slipped into the novel that are down right hilarious. Like constantly referring to the play Drat! The Cat! which he wrote for broadway.

All in all, I seriously recommend this book to anyone who isn’t too squirmish. It will make you feel uncomfortable, scared, paranoid, and you will love every second of it. Until the end. Then this will occur. JohnNotOkayGif2