REVIEW: Fireside Chat with a Grammar Nazi Serial Killer

CoverFireside Chat with a Grammar Nazi Serial Killer
by Ryan Suvaal

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

Seventeen gruesome killings across the United States, within a span of six months and there is one clear connection among victims. They were all writers. 
While media is decorating the murders with sensationalist stories, and law enforcement is playing catch-up, the homicidal maniac remains elusive and secretive. 
Things get very interesting, when one day she decides to appear on an internet talk show for an honest fireside chat.

BOOK REVIEW

*I have received an ARC in return for an honest review.*

4 STARS

Disclaimer: The novella contains swearing and explicit scenes. Not for the faint-hearted.

A short but very well-written book. This book is really true to the category of a psychological thriller and I might not be able to sleep tonight. 

Luckily, I do not meet the requirements to be her next target. In fact, I was a little terrified to write a review since my grammar is terrible.

What intrigued me the most about this book was that the serial killer decided to appear on a talk show. Although I was imagining a talk show like Ellen’s or Oprah’s, I was not disappointed. The talk show is famous for having celebrities who had a dark past such as drug cartel bosses, criminals and of course, the Grammar Nazi Serial Killer. The serial killer appears in the talk show and it is written in the style of an interview. I liked how Suvaal wrote about the details of the serial killer’s past murders and told the story in such an unconventional manner.

The story had a very interesting ending that I did not expect. It is so unfortunate that the talk show had to end so soon. 

Fireside Chat with a Grammar Nazi is a gripping, terrifying read that makes you wonder if you’d be next.

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For reviews, contact me at skavansieur@gmail.com.

 

REVIEW: Agate Memory (Bronze Rebellion #3)

Agate Memory
by L.C. Perry

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

The rebellion has given people hope. From former slaves to a princess now fighting for her throne, the rebellion has changed numerous lives. But with the serum going around, the rebellion may be in trouble…

The king and queen are taking out rebels and traitors like no tomorrow, forcing the rebellion to race against time. Confronting the duke turns out to be the least of Irene’s worries. With their relationship growing stronger, Irene finds out that Asher’s past has left an even bigger shadow over his life than she expected. And Ebony still has yet to reveal a secret of her own.

In order to prevent further slaughter of her allies, Irene will have to return to the castle and learn what she can to help her country. But the princess is not ready to learn the secrets that await her back home…secrets the queen might kill her for. Secrets that can make or break everything she has strived to overcome. 

Each day passes and more politics, drama, and violence follow. Decisions will have to be made. And not all of them will be good.


BOOK REVIEW

4.5 STARS

*A free PDF copy was provided to me in an exchange for an honest review.*

Disclaimer: Mentions of sensitive matters, swearing, violence and will definitely rip your heart out and leave you sobbing yet wanting more.

After reading the first and second book in this series, this third book really shed more light on the world building. It gave more insight to the setting of the story – a mix of real countries and some created ones. I had difficulties grasping the setting of the story at first since what I imagined was a fantasy land but didn’t imagine 21st century technology to be in it. I liked this aspect since it makes the characters feel more understandable and more closer to home. This definitely makes the reader feel more connected to the characters and more invested in their lives.

Agate Memory, unlike the second book, Emerald Dream, had broad focuses. It focused on the rebellion, the relationships, the castle and the slaves. Despite having so many crucial parts, none of it was given too little attention but each played a big and sufficient part in the development of the story. 

There were so many things I enjoyed about Agate Memory. I loved how the characters from the first book (Gold Shadow) made a reapparance. It shows how much they’ve grown since they entered the rebellion and how their friendship has grown too. The characters were likable and believable, each having their own strengths and weaknesses, and of course, a past that motivates and haunts them. The rebellion felt like a family and it’s great for them to reappear again in the story, as if the relationships between them were close even though it wasn’t mentioned much in the second book (Emerald Dream).

Personally, I am not a fan of the intimate scenes between Asher and Irene. It felt a bit too much for YA. However, I like how raw they were with one another. The times where the people of the rebellion had opened up to one another showed that they were more than friends but like a family. It also showed how the author actually had a clear idea of who the characters were, their backstory and their values. When it comes to a story like this with a whole lot of characters and so many different places to put their focus on, it is a difficult job to give each character enough attention. Most of the time, it isn’t executed well and most of the plot seemed to be a last-minute plan to spice up the story. 

With all the plot-twist going on and the change in the air after Irene’s return, I can’t help but to feel extremely excited for the next and the last book, Obsidian Fragrance.

REVIEW: Emerald Dream

Emerald Dream (Bronze Rebellion, #2)
by L.C. Perry

Get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

After forcibly being taken away from her home, her family, and everything she’s ever known, Princess Irene has no choice but to live alongside her captors. But when a potential bloodbath encourages the rebels to act, Irene is forced to go down a dangerous path. She will have to accompany the rebels she so deeply despises including Asher, the sardonic squad leader with a haunting past and Ebony, the person responsible for her kidnapping. As worlds collide, so do beliefs and neither side will be left unscathed. Irene will have to acknowledge the consequences of her glamorous lifestyle while Ebony realizes the promises she’s made will not always be kept.

Meanwhile, things aren’t as they seem at the castle. Danger is lurking in every corner and it is up to Gavin and Aurora to find out what the king and queen are so diligently trying to hide…

With so many secrets arising and complications unfolding, the line between ally and foe isn’t as clear as it should be. The king and queen’s tyranny is gathering momentum and Irene and Ebony will have to make a decision: kill each other or work together. 

BOOK REVIEW: 


5 STARS


Say goodbye to the ignorant princess of the past and hello to the new queen with a goal.


The plot, first and foremost, was developed amazingly. So many events that happened here co-related with the first book, Emerald Dream and did not seem to be an afterthought. It really shows that the plans and the ideas were already drafted and it was executed extremely well. The first book, Gold Shadow was more focused on Ebony and Princess Irene, the background of the rebellion and the some of the newer recruits of the rebellion. Now, we find out more about Asher’s team and each individual’s past and their relationship with one another. There are also mentions of LGBTQA+ characters in the book and also a little bit of romance. Not forgetting the whole mission, there’s a ton of bloodshed as well.

In the previous book, Irene seemed to be a stuck-up and ignorant princess while Ebony seemed to be a slave who had hardened her heart and had a strong desire to bring down the ones in power. It was extremely frustrating for me to read since I wasn’t fond of the two main characters and things seemed similar to the times of old where slavery was allowed. The reason why I continued reading was that I loved the other characters. In this book, my initial feelings for the two main characters developed and became a strong desire to root for them. Emerald Dream shined a new light on Ebony and Irene, changed them from being bitter about their state to rebels who cared for their friends and wishes to help society. Talk about character development!

It turned out that the king and queen were hiding far more than slaves. They were involved in something more devious, so messed up that the rebels are increasing their pace. More people are involved with putting an end to the harm that the king and queen plan to do, both from inside and outside the castle. Things are getting messier. There are so many secrets being hidden from one another and there’s more than one way to threaten them to tell.

Lastly, there are some mentions of attempted rape, mentions of abuse, and also violence. Tons of violence.  This is a heads up for those who are interesting in reading Emerald Dream but are sensitive towards these issues. Nonetheless, Emerald Dream is extremely enjoyable with absolutely lovely characters who could potentially snap my neck but I (who have no experience in fighting or in self-defence) would love to protect them. It is also exciting to see what happens next!

REVIEW: Now You See Her

Now You See Her
by Mark R. Harris

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY:

15-year-old Luke Gray is in shock—his girlfriend Lonnie is moving, and he can’t follow her. Before she leaves, he gets her to promise to wait for him until they are 18. With Lonnie gone, Luke falls into a whirlpool of depression and fear. He tries to stay afloat via sarcasm, 1970s music, and fantasy. 

And then a new girl appears on the scene, Sherry, who seems perfect. Without giving up on Lonnie, Luke begins dating Sherry, and she keeps him on this side of insanity. His parents, though, notice disturbing changes in his behavior… and eventually Luke realizes that his relationship with Sherry has limits they can’t move beyond. So he befriends Julie, a clever, down-to-earth girl he quickly grows to love. But when Julie finds out that Luke has never let go of Lonnie, he’s forced to either try to find Lonnie or turn his back on her forever.


BOOK REVIEW: 

3.5 STARS

*A free PDF copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review*

Meet 15-year-old Luke who spiralled into a land of music and talking to the radio after his girlfriend Lonnie had to move away. It was a struggle for him to be without and he was constantly reminded of her every day. Then, came Sherry, a girl from his church, who caught his eye. Perhaps she might be able to take his mind off Lonnie. And there was Julie, who he was interested in too.

I’ve wanted to venture into the land of romance and young puppy love but now I found out that it isn’t for me. I could not relate to the obsession that Luke had over Lonnie and how he needed someone by his side, every day. I also faced culture shock during some parts of the story like when Sherry could stay the night over at Luke’s. It was so foreign to me.

I didn’t like the first half of the book. I’ve had no interest in his love life with Sherry as it just doesn’t feel genuine. They had their love for music in common, they went to the same church, but overall, I wasn’t fond of it. Despite this part of the story being a little dry, it played a role in the story, emphasising how Luke still wasn’t able to get over Lonnie.

The second part of the book became much more interesting. Luke tries to find someone new who can take his mind off Lonnie. He eliminates from a list of girls who he was interested in and then settles on the girl who took notice of him, someone he has a chance with – Julie. She is by far my favourite character in the book. Although, I was disappointed that she changed so much after Luke admitted his feelings to her.

What I do find that was interesting was Luke’s faith in the Lord and how he often relied on signs for his love life. I like how this incorporates relying on the Lord in our lives, especially in choosing a life partner or a girlfriend/boyfriend as it is extremely important.

REVIEW: Tributaries

Tributaries (American River, #1)
by Mallory M. O’Connor

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY:

In the mid-1800s, three immigrant familiesIrish, Japanese, and Mexicansettle along the American River in Northern California. A century later, only one family remains.
Owen McPhalans Mockingbird Valley Ranch is still a thriving family business in 1959. But when his wife, Marian, leaves Mockingbird to follow her dream of becoming a successful artist, she ignites a firestorm that impacts the descendants of all three families. As artists, musicians, writers, and politicians inherit their immigrant parents’ hopes, they are torn apart by ambition, prejudice, and deception while struggling through the turbulent 1960s. From the concert halls of Europe to Kyoto’s ancient avenues, and Manhattan’s artists’ lofts to San Francisco’s North Beach, they each learn the price they must pay in order to realize their dreams. But just as the river is drawn to the sea, they eventually find themselves pulled back to the place that forged the original link between their destinies is a place called Mockingbird.


American River: Tributaries follows three California families as the descendants of Irish, Japanese, and Mexican immigrants embark on unique journeys to pursue their dreams amid an unsettled 1960s world.

BOOK REVIEW: 
3 STARS

*A free PDF copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review*

I wanted the story to be a surprise for me but I should’ve read the reviews first. Little did I know that it would contain a few explicit materials and would not have picked it up.

Right off the bat, I was confused about what was happening. There was a list of characters and their roles at the start which I loved but it was difficult to keep on scrolling back and forth to find out who was who. This made reading the first few chapters a little bit tough.

I love the way the relationship between the three families and how their paths intertwined, especially between the McPhalan and the Ashida’s. It was very creative, albeit a little disappointing that their role was being servants for the McPhalans. I especially love the storyline of the Morales’ family. There’s so much drama!

It was difficult for me to continue reading this story. One of the main reason was that I didn’t find the storyline to be interesting for me. This, of course, varies from one individual to another so do pick it up if you love drama. I, unfortunately, am not a big fan of it. Another reason was the fact that there were quite a handful of sexually explicit parts which I would tend to scroll past. I’ve decided to drop the book since I can’t do it justice.

American Rivers: Tributaries had tons of unexpected twists. There were some parts which I found to be a little problematic that could be overlooked in the story, after all, it is there to add to the drama. Overall, it was a well-written book that explored the lives of three families from different backgrounds and how their lives intertwine.

REVIEW: Gold Shadow

Gold Shadow (Bronze Rebellion, #1)
by L.C. Perry

get it here

 BOOK SUMMARY: 

In the North American continent, eighteen-year-old Ebony has been living as a slave for as long as she can remember. The underground cities, the tattoo, the scars and the shackles are a part of the only world she has ever known. She knows that in order to survive, she will have to stay strong. And she will stay strong, cursing those in power, until her very last breath. She waits for a meaningful way to die as she quietly pushes her body to its limit…but that all changes when rebels from the surface drop down right in front of her. 

Now, Ebony is challenged to envision a life beyond slavery as she and the other escapees are thrown into the center of a rebellion against the monarchy. She has to embrace this glimmer towards a real life…this glimmer called freedom. But what can she contribute to a rebellion that is doomed to fail like those before it? How can they stop a corrupt monarchy that has lasted for a century? Among the lower class, those with hope are hard to come by, but Ebony has found refuge with people full of it. And through their strong desire, an idea emerges…one that has never been done before. The princess of the country is coming of age and what better way to send a message to the king and queen than to kidnap their only daughter?

 BOOK REVIEW: 


5 STARS

*A free PDF copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review*

Gold Shadow may have a slow start but 10% into the book and you will find yourself hooked, I assure you.

We are first introduced to Ebony, a character who is cold and self-sufficient. As a slave all her life, she has learnt to harden her heart and disregard the companion of others as it could only bring more trouble. The foil character, in contrast to Ebony, is an innocent princess named Irene who was shielded from the harsh reality of the world, fed with the idea that the rebels were causing more trouble to her soon-to-be kingdom. The narrative of the story is told through the lives and experiences of the two characters, forming a clear understanding of the background of the characters.

Being at the wrong place at the wrong time, Ebony crosses paths with the rebels from the surface and is forced to go with them. As they make their leave, they are noticed by other slaves who wanted in on the escape as well. Ebony who was a slave all her life was experiencing freedom and the outside world for the first time. It was what she wanted, but yet she feels empty and wants more meaning in her life.

Gold Shadow has a variety of characters, each unique and captivating in their own way. There was diversity, which I really like. In my opinion, it wasn’t the plot that drove the story, but the characters. Every character had a past that shaped and motivated them to be a part of the rebellion. It was also the relationships between the characters that made this book so interesting. 

I love seeing the character development in the story, especially for Ebony whose life changed because of her mentor, Asher. She was constantly driven to the edge, motivated yet scared for her life. I would see why too, especially because of Asher’s personality. It was also how Perry revealed each characters’ past that made me engrossed in the story. It was done so smoothly without it seeming as if it was awkwardly inserted into the middle of the story. Furthermore, the characters were so relatable that it could make the reader feel a connection with them.

The only thing that I disliked was how it ended with a cliffhanger, however, it sure sets the mood and thrill to read the second book in the Bronze Rebellion series.

POPULAR BOOKFEST 2018

The long-awaited Popular BookFest is here once again! From June 9 to June 17, bookworms around Kuala Lumpur are able to enjoy the wonderful book sale and splurge on the books that they’ve been waiting to read. From YA novels, Chinese books, technology and even stationery, Popular BookFest has it all!

Unlike the previous years, I’ve had the opportunity to visit Popular Bookfest twice this year. The entrance fee was only RM2.50. It is free of charge for children 18 and under as well as for senior citizens aged 60 and above.

TIPS
1. Bring your own bag

The more environmentally friendly option to shop. Plastic bags will be charged at 20 cents in order to encourage using our own bags. It is also more rewarding to know that you’re doing a part in helping the environment. You also won’t have to worry about the plastic bags breaking.

2. Visit the stationery section and electronics first

I’ve only done this this time around and I highly recommend it. Usually, I’d visit the books section first instead of the stationery and electronics section. By the time I’ve bought my books, I’ve already spent 2 hours in the convention centre, exhausted and aching to go back home. Lunging around the crowded stationery and electronics section with heavy bags of books isn’t the most ideal shopping condition, after all. I’ll definitely start my day by heading off to the stationery section first as it gets crowded during the afternoon.

HERE’S THE LOOT!

The School for Good and Evil set usual RM134.90, now RM79.90

I’ve seen my friends read this book and the blurb really interested me. I would’ve not bought it but it was surprisingly cheap, so what’s the harm.

The Girl With Seven Names usual RM59.90, rebate 20%

After reading Yeonmi Park’s In Order to Live, I became more interested in wanting to hear what others faced in North Korea. I believe that everyone has a story to tell and I’d like to listen to Hyeonseo Lee’s story.

Aru Shah and the End of Time usual RM41.90, now RM29.90

I’ve never really thought of picking up this book either. I’ve seen my favourite author, Rick Riordan constantly posting and retweeting about this book on Twitter. Seeing that it was on sale, I’d decided to take a shot at it.

 Around the World in Eighty Days 25% rebate

I’ve been wanting to read this for a while now. It was difficult to find this book. Honestly, I am not quite sure what its’ about but I guess the title tells it all. I hope it’s filled with adventure!

Murder on the Orient Express  usual RM 39.90, now RM 27.90

I’ve heard wonders of Agatha Christie. I’ve also read a book review on this book that has made me quite intrigued by it. I’ve only added it to my TBR list a few weeks ago and I’m so glad to be able to tick it off! 

 One of Us Is Lying RM46.95, 25% rebate

I remember adding this to my TBR too a while back. I’ve already forgotten what the blurb was about but I am always up for a mystery novel!

The Diary of A Young Girl usual RM55.90, now RM14.90

I’d like to know about her life, the things she faced and her experiences. I am someone who likes reading autobiographies, just to get to know the person better. It has been a book that I’ve constantly seen and I’ve been waiting to pick it up but didn’t think I’d like. A new year, a new challenge. 

All that She Can See + On The Other Side usual RM42.90, 30% rebate

I’ve been a subscriber to Carrie’s YouTube channel for a while now. I’ve always wanted to read this really. I’m more excited by All that She Can See compared to On the Other Side, but either way, I’m thrilled to have seen these goodies on sale! 

My TBR is growing week by week with me trying to get more indie authors’ books to review as well as my habit of buying books faster than I read them. Nonetheless, I am glad to have rekindled my love of reading. Cheers to more book reviews in the future. I’m sure a review of some of these books here will be out in the future. Till then!

– J

REVIEW: Girl Empowernment: Poetry

Girl Empowernment: Poetry
by Hunyah Irfan

Get it here

BOOK  SUMMARY: 

Girl Empowernment Poetry By Hunyah Irfan Girl empowernment poetry is about empowering girls to be strong women 

BOOK REVIEW: 


1 STAR


*A free PDF copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review*

This poetry book is a short read, something you can definitely finish in one sitting.

The poet wrote it in a way where the ideas were direct on how empowerment is vital to young girls and how it would shape them into strong women in the future.

Right off the bat, there were a few spelling errors that were overlooked in the editing process. The poems were also a little too short for my liking. However, there’s a hint of a satirical tone to it if I had to be honest. Some poems mocked the idea of women doing traditional women things, which was how I understood it. Nonetheless, the execution could’ve been improved and more impactful, if this was the way the poet intended for the poem to be interpreted. It was also written in a way that seemed chronological which I found to be interesting.

Personally, I did not enjoy reading this book. It definitely requires you to read it 2 or 3 times, just to figure out if there’s more to it than it meets the eye. One thing I definitely remembered from my literature classes were not to take things at face value, so if I read too deeply into this than it was intended for, my bad!