Ready Player One: A Review

ready player one cover

Hello everyone! I’m back with the first review of the new year. My thesis is written, I’m in my last quarter of graduate school, and I hope to get back to bloggin’ and reviewin’ after a brief hiatus.

I had heard so many good things about Ready Player One, so when I received a copy of it for Christmas, I was extremely excited to read it. And, it was literally my first book of the new year—I started reading it a little after midnight.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is such a well-written and well-thought out book. Even though it’s science-fiction, the future that Cline creates is very plausible, especially when we take into consideration the role that technology plays in our lives, the popularity of VR, and how more and more games are being played online (and with other people).

I could go on and on about this aspect of the book, but I think what really grabbed me was how real and relatable the characters were, along with their relationships with each other.

I found myself rooting for Wade, aka “Parzival,” and getting emotional over the bond between Daito and Shoto, the bestfriendship between Wade/Parzival and Aech, and the budding romance between Wade/Parzival and Art3mis.

Seriously, I typically hate romance in most books because it tends to come across as cheesy, contrived, and unnecessary to the overall plot. But, the romance between these two characters was so nicely done—it evolved organically, and they got to know each other as people. There was a great friendship between them, healthy competition (they were playing a game, after all), and mutual respect. I loved it so much.

One thing that I did have a problem with—and this is pretty minor when taking the whole book into context—was that, towards the end, things felt a little rushed and seemed to work out a little too well for Wade/Parzival. But he is the hero and the Oasis is a virtual reality world (and, ultimately, a video game), so that’s okay. I can forgive that.

Overall, Ready Player One is such a great, fun read with believable characters and a lot of great references to nerd culture. I also think this is a very accessible sci-fi book, and I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t typically read science-fiction and may want to dip their toes into the genre.

You can buy the book here or check it out from your local library (libraries are important, so please support them).
Have you read Ready Player One? What about the movie? Let me know down in the comments!

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Son of Rosemary: A Review

Son of Rosemary Cover

Hello my fellow bookwyrms! I’m finally back after a busy summer of working on my thesis. Although, I don’t think this fall quarter is going to be any less busy, but I’m going to do my best to bring you a review on a regular (or semi-regular) basis.

So, without further ado, here is my review of Son of Rosemary by Ira Levin, the sequel to the super spooky Rosemary’s Baby.

Son of Rosemary picks up a little over 27 years after the events of Rosemary’s Baby, with Rosemary waking up from a coma. The last thing she remembers is sitting down at a desk in her apartment (the same creepy on the lived in in Rosemary’s Baby) and Andy was 6-years-old. Now, she awakes to see the doctors and nurses (and everyone else) wearing buttons that say, “I heart Andy.”

We soon find out that this is her Andy, all grown up and in a position of power, where he’s trying to change the world for the better (or so he says). But, he’s the son of Satan, raised most of his life (while his mother was in a coma) by the members of a Satanic cult.

Is he the Anti-Christ? Is everyone falling for his ruse? And, where does Rosemary fit into this? Does Andy take after his mother or his father?

I’m not going to give away the answers because that would spoil the story. You’ll just have to find out for yourself.

However, while I enjoyed reading this for the most part, it does drag a lot in the middle. It was almost like the author couldn’t quite figure out what direction he wanted the story to go in, so we have a bunch of scenes in the middle that don’t quite go anywhere.

But, then it finally does pick up and the creepy factor kicks in again, and a bunch of deliciously horrifying things happen.

(Spoiler Alert: Satan himself makes an appearance and I’m sure you can imagine Rosemary’s reaction.)

Unfortunately, the ending falls flat. I won’t give that away either, but I feel like it was a big cop-out for the author and he could’ve ended it at a different point in the story that would’ve been much more satisfying.

(Spoiler Alert, the last one I’m going to give you: After Satan shows up, he brings Rosemary down to hell with him, lying that it won’t be so bad. Rosemary realizes his lie and screams, “You said it wasn’t hellfire!” And, THAT is where Levin should’ve ended the story.)

So, with that being said, do I recommend Son of Rosemary?

Yes and no.

While it’s a fun read for the most part (and I say at least give it a chance), it’s definitely not a satisfying sequel to Rosemary’s Baby and the ending will make you want to hurl the book across the room.

If you want to give it a chance, you can grab the paperback from Amazon.

See you guys next time! And, since October is almost around the corner, I’d love to hear what spooky books/stories you guys are reading this Halloween season. Let me know down in the comments!
Currently Reading: The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

“His name is Adrian”: A Review of Rosemary’s Baby

 

Rosemary's Baby cover

 

Hello, hello! Sorry for the lack of blog posts, but I’ve sort of been in a weird place emotionally (it was the 4-year anniversary of my father’s death earlier this week) and I’ve had a lot on my plate lately (not to mention, I’ve just been taking some personal time for myself).

But, now I’m back with a review of Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin.

I actually watched the movie before I ever picked up the book and it’s one of my favorite horror movies.

And, now, after having read the book, it’s one of my favorite horror novels.

The basic premise of the story, without giving anything away, is that a young couple move into an Upper West Side apartment called Bramford (against their friend Hutch’s warnings), and things gradually become creepy and dire, and Rosemary finds out that her neighbors aren’t who they seem.

That’s the gist of it. Because I had seen the movie before I read the book, I know what was coming and spent a good portion yelling (in my head, of course), “NOOOOO. GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE.”

But, before I go further, let me mention that the movie actually sticks VERY close to the book. In fact, I can’t think of anything that was in the book that wasn’t in the movie (or anything that was changed significantly).

So, for all of you bookwyrms who want a quality book-to-movie adaptation, Rosemary’s Baby is it.

The book is delightfully creepy and at times I couldn’t put it down. Ira Levin also balanced the right amount of detailed description and leaving the rest to your imagination.

The only gripe I have (and this is a gripe I have with almost all horror movies and books) is that Rosemary ignores quite a few red flags from the beginning and, personally, I would’ve been like, “Yeah, I’ll stick with my original, safe, not-creepy apartment choice.”

Then again, we wouldn’t have a story if she had paid attention.

You can purchase Rosemary’s Baby from Amazon. And, be sure to grab the movie while you’re at it!

Ira Levin also wrote a sequel to Rosemary’s Baby called Son of Rosemary (which I’ve already ordered and it’s on its way). You can also grab it from Amazon.

We’re only a few months away from Halloween, guys! I want to hear about your favorite spooky book. Tell me about it in the comments.

 

Currently reading: The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

Favorite Book-Related Apps

I was a very bad blogger and didn’t bring you guys a blog post like I promised. Last week was kind of rough emotionally for me—I lost my dad in 2014 and this Father’s Day felt particularly hard. I think it was because I’m currently writing a memoir about the time in my life when I was taking care of my dad and it’s bringing up a lot of memories and emotions I haven’t processed in a while. So, I guess I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to blog.

Which is why I’m bringing you a new blog post today!

A few months ago, I got a library card after years of not having one, and I’ve been utilizing it much more. I love the fact that I can use my library card with so many book-related apps.

So, I thought I would share some of my favorites!

Without further ado, in no particular order:

1. Hoopla: I love Hoopla and I’m always recommending it. All you need is your library card and an account, and you can download e-books, audiobooks, TV shows, music, movies, and even comic books and graphic novels. I mainly use it to download and read comics and graphic novels, and I love it. I’ve caught up on the The Sandman series and I’ve even read some of the Dark Crystal comic books. There are so many to choose from (can you say Adventure Time and Steven Universe? Oh my god). The cool thing is that when the due date rolls around, your download is automatically removed from your phone, so you don’t have to worry about late fees. I highly recommend Hoopla. You can get the app in the iTunes store or the Google Play store.

2. Libby: Libby is an app that I just recently downloaded and so far I’m liking it. All you need is your library card and pin number, and you’ll be able to download a variety of e-books and audiobooks, and from what I can tell there’s a large selection. I used Libby to download the e-book version of Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the book, but the plus side is that Libby gave me the opportunity to read it without wasting money on it. So, that’s nifty. The only downside is that, unlike Hoopla, the e-books and audiobooks aren’t always readily available, so you may have to put some items on hold. But, I still recommend it if you want to listen to audiobooks without having to pay a subscription fee, or read an e-book without spending money if you find out a certain book wasn’t your cup of tea. You can find it in the iTunes store or the Google Play store.

3. Manga Master: Okay, so this one isn’t a library app, but it’s still a really cool (and free) manga reading app. I love manga, but unfortunately I don’t have the money or the space to collect ALL the manga I want to read. So, Manga Master is a great option because I can read newer and older manga, and I can read it to my heart’s content. I’m currently making my way (slowly) through Angel Sanctuary, an old favorite of mine, and I have many more waiting for me in my Favorites. It’s great if you’re a manga fiend and you want to read ALL THE MANGA, and it’s also great if you want to read a certain manga but are unsure of whether you want to commit to it. And, there are SO MANY to choose from. I downloaded the app from the Google Play store, but I’m sure you could find it (or a similar one) in the iTunes store.

4. The Jacksonville Public Library App: This app is exclusively for my local library, but I’m sure there are similar apps for other libraries around the country. I like it because I can use the app to put books on hold and also renew the books I have checked out. It’s really handy and convenient, so if you live in Jacksonville (and have a library card), I’d recommend downloading the app. And, if you don’t live in Jacksonville, check out whether your public library has its own app.

That’s all for now folks! In the meantime, let me know what you’re reading (or listening to). Anything good?

I’m currently reading Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Pirates and demons and seraphs, oh my!

Terror of the Deep: A Review of Steve Alten’s “MEG”

MEG Cover

 

In addition to loving dragons, I also love dinosaurs. And I love prehistoric monsters. I love underwater creatures. I love alligators. I love sharks.

I love gigantic, prehistoric sharks.

So, it’s no wonder that I would love MEG by Steve Alten.

Why didn’t I pick this up sooner?

MEG is about a female Megalodon shark that has managed to survive for thousands of years and has decided to leave the deepest depths of the ocean in search of food and a place to birth her pups (baby sharks are called “pups,” for those of you who didn’t know).

And, of course, since she’s a 70-foot Megalodon, this causes a lot of problems for both humans and sea life.

I love this book and couldn’t put it down. I also loved how some parts were told from the shark’s perspective. I’m always a fan of that kind of storytelling.

I also enjoyed how the main character, Jonas Taylor, had a deep respect for the Megalodon, even though she ends up eating almost everyone he cares about.

And, he does have to kill her, but it’s out of survival. So, while my animal loving heart took a hit when that happened, I understood why. The guy was on the threshold of death.

It was one of those “kill or be eaten” moments.

There is a “surprise” at the end (more a surprise for the characters), which leaves things open for the next book in the series (that’s right, it’s a series and I need all of the books, ALL OF THEM).

While I enjoyed the book immensely, there were a couple things I didn’t enjoy. First off, the gore kind of got to me. There’s a part at the beginning where a Megalodon eats a T-Rex, and the way the T-Rex dies is described in graphic, bloody detail. I’ve never been a fan of gore, especially not when animals are involved. And, as someone who has always had a deep, deep love for dinosaurs, that part put a bad taste in my mouth.

There are a few other scenes sprinkled throughout the book that I had a hard time with.
Another thing has more to do with shark conservation. With a book like MEG where the “monster” is a 70-foot shark that basically goes on a killing spree and the fact that MEG is being made into a movie, I’m a little concerned about what this will do for shark conservation. Books (and movies) like this always make me concerned that people won’t be able to differentiate between fiction and reality when it comes to sharks.

But, that has less to do with the book and more to do with how ignorant some people can be. I just love sharks so much.

If you want an action filled book reminiscent of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, then definitely pick up MEG. Despite some of my reservations, I still love the book and plan on picking up the second book in the series.

I got my copy from a local used bookstore, Chamblin Bookmine, but you can find a copy on Amazon.

 

Have you read MEG? Do you plan on seeing the movie? Let me know down in the comments!

The Tragic Story of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Acheron: A Review

Acheron Cover

Paranormal romance used to be my genre of choice way back in high school (I was a hardcore fan of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series). But, I’ll admit that I haven’t touched much (if any) paranormal romance since then.

I chalk this up to my pretentious English major mindset and seeing the genre as beneath me (plus, I really just wanted to expand my horizons and read things that didn’t have to do with vampires and werewolves).

I’ll admit that I’m STILL in this mindset.

So, when my friends kept recommending Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series to me, I was a little hesitant to pick it up. I enjoyed Infinity, the first book in Kenyon’s Chronicles of Nick series (that sort of crosses over with the Dark-Hunter series) and I owned a copy of Acheron because I took a liking to the character after being introduced to him in Infinity.

But, paranormal romance tends to have a lot of…well, romance, and that’s not really my cup of tea. I want action. I want adventure. I want magic.

However, when my friend Kenna of Fan Girl Gang wrote a blog post about Sherrilyn Kenyon and her stories, I thought, “Okay, Sarah, time to take a chance on this series.”

So, I cracked open Acheron.

I was warned it would destroy my emotions.

Oh my god.

First off, even though Acheron is part of a series, it reads like a standalone. And, to be honest, I’m glad I started with this particular Dark-Hunter book, because it was SO GOOD.

It was surprisingly well-written. I loved the incorporation of Greek mythology and even Atlantis and the Atlantean gods. I love myths of any kind.

The world building was superb with a lot of detail and all of the characters were well-written with a certain amount of depth to them that kept me interested and invested.

This actually felt more like a historical fantasy novel, instead of paranormal romance, which I appreciated.

Acheron’s story is indeed tragic and at times it was hard to get through the book because so many god-awful things were done to him, even as a child. I’m not going to go into detail because I don’t want to give anything away, but, man, Acheron was an emotional read.

But, he does get a happy ending after struggling so much. Acheron is officially my favorite character after reading this book.

While I enjoyed this book for the most part, I do have a few minor gripes.

The first one is the overuse of “[Insert character’s name] growled.” (And any variation of that.)

Look, I have never once “growled,” and while that makes sense for a character like a were-animal or even a vampire, it doesn’t make sense for EVERY character and I really think Kenyon could’ve picked some different descriptive words to show a character’s anger or frustration. It gets a little repetitive (and annoying) after a while, especially when a human keeps growling like they’re some kind of animal.

But, as I said, that’s a minor gripe and doesn’t keep me from enjoying the book.

The second gripe is the character Tory and the fact that she seemed a little too perfect, at times. I would’ve liked to have seen her fleshed out a little bit more with some additional flaws, because she came across as a little too much like a savior character. And, her relationship with Acheron felt like a whirlwind romance. I’m happy Acheron found someone who loved him unconditionally, but Tory was just a little too perfect and a little too good for my taste.

I guess I’m of the belief that you can have skeletons in your closet or have an imperfect family, and still be a good person and love someone unconditionally.

We see that with Acheron. Tory on the other hand? Eh. I liked her, but I’d say that she bordered on a deus ex machina type of character.

But, despite these gripes, I still really enjoyed Acheron, and now I’m addicted. I have Styxx (the story of Acheron’s “twin” brother) coming in the mail and I’m currently reading another Dark-Hunter novel, Dragonsworn.

I’m also eying some other books in the series.

And, I’m more motivated to finish the Chronicles of Nick.

I’m bordering on obsessed, guys.

I didn’t need another series to be addicted to, but here we are.

 

Check out Sherrilyn Kenyon’s website for her most recent books and info on the Dark-Hunter series (and others).

Have you read anything by Sherrilyn Kenyon? Let me know down in the comments!

And, for those of you who missed my last post, after Sunday, my posts will be dropping down to once a week. I’ll be working on my MFA thesis/memoir this summer, so most of my reading and time will be dedicated to that. I do hope you stick around, though!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Sorry for the lack of blog posts this week! I’ve had a busy, fun-filled week. It was the last week of the spring quarter at SCAD, I got to (re)connect with my cousins (which was much needed), and I volunteered all day at MOSH on Thursday (and went to a tea workshop).

I was a social bookwyrm this week, and now I’m ready to settle down and continue reading “Acheron” by Sherrilyn Kenyon. You gotta have balance sometimes.

But, I thought I would pop in today and make a post about some of the changes that are coming to my blog. After next week, my regular two-posts-a-week schedule will be bumped down to only one post.

Why? Because I will be working on my MFA thesis over the summer, and I’ll need to do some “research” (i.e. reading all of the relevant memoirs I can get my hands on, since that is what I will be writing for my thesis) in addition to working diligently on it (and tutoring as much as I can).

My goal is to have a working draft by the start of the fall quarter. But, because I love this blog and want to continue with it, I thought bumping the posts down to once a week would be a good idea. This will allow me to read what I need to read for my thesis, but also read some fun stuff for reviewing on this blog.

Again, balance.

This is of course, temporary. Once I have my thesis written, I’ll switch back to two posts a week.

I’m excited about getting started on this new project. It’s an important story I need to tell (and, hopefully, I can get it published in the near future).

Sooo, be patient and stick with me!

In the meantime, let me know what you’re reading down in the comments! I love getting recommendations for reading material.

 

And, since I’m reading “Acheron” by Sherrilyn Kenyon, I wanted to know if you have read any books by her. If so, which ones are your favorites? This is my first foray into her Dark Hunter series, and I’m really enjoying “Acheron” so far. But, man, his story is tragic!