Posted in Book Reviews

The Coelura by Anne McCaffrey

Let’s take a step back in time to the good old fashioned fantasy genre…

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I happened to look at other reviews before I began my own on this February book review and found very opposing opinions of the work. To me this story was very simply just that. A story.

A simplistic sort of love novella that takes place in a far off corner of the universe with strange happenings and fantastical worlds.

I first picked up the story because the art on the jacket of the book was memorizing. Briefly flipping through it I knew the illustrations alone would be worth the buy, so I purchased the book and took it home with me and read it all in one sitting.

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The bad reviews that I read all complained of the basic authors writing style and were upset at the way the illustrator drew most of the attention, but I honestly loved it.

Often times I want to read a book to become deeply absorbed in the thickening plot, to cry for the characters or to root for their victories. Then now and again the most refreshing thing I find is reading a story like McCaffrey wrote where it is really nothing more than a small adventure in a large galaxy in the land of all possibilities; Imagination.

Through out the entire reading (with the help of the incredibly talented illustrator Ned Dameron) I was in a visual heaven.

Also, Please. If anyone ever paints a portrait of me I would love to have some awesome work like McCaffrey has where she looks like just a regular classy old woman holding a DRAGON LIKE SHE IS DAENARYS FREAKING TARGARYEN QUEEN OF THE WORLD. But I mean.. just putting it out there..

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I don’t like to categorize myself to any specific genre when it comes to the enjoyment of reading, but after reading this mystical novel I definitely want to delve into more classic sci-fi/fantasy books that have a simplistic yet wondrous charm.

I apologize for how short this book review is. I have been completely absorbed with my real life sadly and haven’t been able to pay much attention to the internet world. I have begun teaching art and dance classes as well as painting quite a bit as I am hoping to eventually start to sell my paintings and prints as a part time job.

I am working to find balance though! I promise March will produce a bit more activity on my end. If you haven’t had time check out my new section “Prayers to the Universe” and look forward to a couple more Guspacho posts!

I hope your February was full of magic and light as well as I hope your March is full of twice that amount. May you lose your head in the clouds and imagine the worlds beyond the galaxies, incredulous and wonderful. I feel like I am forgetting something… OH YEAH! Read! Read! Read!

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Posted in Book Reviews

The Age of Steam Series by Devon Monk

Those who have been searching for an adventure to please the inner child of their heart look no further…

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It’s America back in the day where railroads were still being built but at the same time airships have already become battle vessels of the sky. This steampunk themed series will take you on an adventure that is near impossible to step away from.

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I personally have never been tied to a specific genre or author (Aside from Neil Gaiman, who is my love) but I found myself craving a sort of classic adventure book. I’ve read fantasy and science fiction and romance novels in early time periods, but I wanted something different.

Devon Monk introduced me to her world and I lived in it from chapter to chapter, having to argue with myself to put the book down so that I can do normal functioning human things like sleep. (Psh, so overrated.)

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The story follows along a few characters, each intermingling and dispersing on their own ways through out the book. There was truly something I fell in love with about each character. You can sense the authors soul poured into this story and I really enjoyed the way she made me care about each of them as individuals and then all of them when they came together as a group.

The reason I am doing this review on the entire series (consisting of just three books at the moment, but potentially more) is because I read the first one so fast, I was finished with the second and third within the week! I haven’t been so into a series like this since re-reading the Harry Potter series OVER and OVER and OVER again. (I have lost count how many times.)

Even though the story line was taken by the inner child inside me always dreaming of new worlds, it was the maturity and underlying darkness of it all that kept me intrigued. I think Devon was very clever in the way she went about constructing the plot line, keeping the more gruesome parts like torture, gunfights, and loss interwoven through out the whimsical world she constructed of steam.

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Another genius part of her novel is it’s correlation with the American government. I find the political capture of a novel has always been the down fall of making or breaking a made up reality. Without the varying opinions and wars of the government leaders, the world becomes more and more distant to the reader.

The thing that I find unfortunate about this series is that the publishing has been interrupted. Though Devon hopes to finish the series someday (She had seven books planned in total) it hasn’t been added to since the third novel in 2014.

There is a small short story on the internet that I believe takes place after the first novel and before the second, but I really hope there is a way this series regains popularity so that the characters in the story may finish their adventure.

Despite the sadness that will fill your heart at the end not getting to continue their journey right away, I still recommend giving the first book “Dead Iron” a try. If you do enjoy it, the two others that en capture the memorable characters and their world are “Tin Swift” and “Cold Copper.”

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Devon Monk is also a celebrated author with another very successful series that has too many books for me to devote my time to at the moment, but I would encourage you to look into her if you enjoy a good adventure. Her writing is unique and full of heart.

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Stay young and wild in your heart, adventures both in life and in books are always right around the corner.

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Posted in Book Reviews

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Whoever thought skirts were for women clearly hasn’t seen a hot Scottish man rock a kilt…

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Now that I have your attention.. hehe.

Before I actually get into this book I wanted to mention quickly a little bit of a frustration I had when I picked up this book.

I found out after I had bought Outlander it is part of a series. Don’t get me wrong, I love stories that continue on to more adventures and explore further into their worlds. I am also sure it is a great way to hook a reader into buying more of an authors writing if they wrote so well and got the reader so invested into the characters they spend another ten or twenty dollars just to get the second book. But I am finding it a little aggravating lately that every book I pick up has at least two or more to follow.

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There are so many INCREDIBLE classic novels that have had such an amazing impacting story that didn’t need to be dragged on volume after volume. So why are writers in modern literature needing a five set series to be an accomplished writer? Thoughts?

But aside from the empty wallet issue I am having needing to spend all of my money on a complete set of works…

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Outlander is about a couple who are on their anniversary when the leading character Claire gets transported back in time. Separated from her husband and having not the faintest idea of how to get back, Claire finds herself kidnapped, married and conflicted about whether the past she now lives in is reality. How can she abandon the people who have taken her in? What has become of the future her husband and her still have ahead of them? Will she ever get home?

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The writing is great. Descriptive but not lacking good dialogue as well as you can tell the author has extensive knowledge on the history and lifestyles of the time period. My only complaint was that the book was too long.

Six hundred and twenty seven pages isn’t necessarily insane. I’ve read longer, like the Game of Thrones series for example that reach above one thousand pages. There is something though about the subject matter that makes it alright in that world versus Diana’s.

When you have over ten main characters and varying plot lines, you undoubtedly have a lot more information to provide and situations and conflicts that need to be described. Each character has their own little story going on and combining those all into one book isn’t going to be a short three hundred page novel.

Something about the book having an overall romance vibe bothered me as it dragged on and on. Halfway through the book I was struggling just to discipline myself enough to read through to the end. I enjoy love stories, but I don’t need extensive knowledge on the couples honey moon phase for fifty plus pages. Even at the beginning I found myself uninterested in where the story was going, but it pulled through.

There are various points where something does happen that really twists the plot and intrigues you to continue reading. As Claire’s reality becomes more and more tangled through out the book you start to wonder if there will ever be resolution. The great way Diana throws her character into deeper and deeper trenches does capture you and I did find myself  wanting to know what more she had planned for Claire’s adventure.

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I don’t think I will be reading the rest of the series. I used to make myself for the respect of the author and story, but I’ve now reached this point with a shelf full of to-be-read-books that I think I can allow myself to deny the indulgence of the remaining books in the series.

Of course in our advanced world there is a movie for the book, or a series I believe. I think the series is something I would be very interested in watching. If the directors stayed true to the dramatic happenings and beautiful love story the idea and concept of the story itself would be very entertaining to relive through a television series. I feel like the dismissal of some of the more unimportant areas of the book would make it the perfect amount of intensity and story building. Hopefully I get the chance to watch that, but if you have seen it please let me know if it’s worth investing my time.

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I am sad to say this is my first book review leaning to the more negative side. It might just be my fast paced millennial brain that is too impatient to read through a story like this, but I usually find myself very intrigued and willing to involve myself in longer books. I am not quite sure what January’s review will be on, but I will be sure to mix it up. Maybe an old classic? The Picture of Dorian Gray? I suppose you will have to stay tuned to find out.

In the mean time if you do chose to give Outlander a go, I wish you the best on your adventure and I hope you find fascination in the history and magic of Scotland. Diana will not fail in taking you back in time, and I warn you she will most likely have you dying to fall in love with a rough red haired Scott in a kilt.

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Posted in Book Reviews

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

Oh, to be a young hot diva rising in the city of dreams…

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I suppose first I owe an apology. I had meant to have this review posted at the end of November, but for some reason I was convinced there was thirty one days in the month hence my tardiness.

But aside from my lack of competence and commitment to my blog I would love to share with you this amazing November read written by the incredible woman Jacqueline Susann.

I think a huge part of the appeal in this story was that it starts out with a young woman who moves to New York City in September to begin an independent life. September fifth marks the day I did the very same, and for the first thirty or so pages I had never found a story so relatable to my own. I was enthralled with the character Anne because it was like reading an extension of myself.

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When you move out on your own for the first time the excitement of possibility is enough to build any place into what you imagine it to be. It’s a beginning to your own creation, having the freedom of becoming whatever you are ready to pursue becoming. An artist, ambitious lawyer, or even climbing social light, where else could be a more perfect place to persue these things then the endless possibilities of New York?

In a way alike my last book review I appreciated the rawness of the story. The characters were so human. They made honest decisions, became very unique individuals, and continued to grow through out the story.

Another very fascinating aspect of the story was reading the very similar New York dream happening in a different time period. The novel travels through time from the 1940’s to the 1960’s. It was very enthralling seeing the goals of men and woman around the time period post war. Stability was the dream. Things such as marrying to a wealthy man steady  on his feet and finding a gorgeous woman to manage the house were paradise.

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The common denominator the really connects these women (aside from their rising glamorous lives) is that they all encounter dependency on what they refer to as “dolls.” Little pills that aid them to getting the life they desire, whether it be more beauty rest or a thinner waist, the pills find their way into each of their lives for better and for worse.

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It’s hard writing book reviews because I would love to discuss further and deeper about all the trials and successes the three women go through, but my goal is to tempt you into the story not spoil it for you.

The love life of these women is probably still the most honest and comparable to today then anything else I have read. The ending is not sugar coated, yet it’s not overly painful and heart tearing either. Though I do admit I sat in quite a subdued state of shock for a while after I finished the last page.

All in all this book really awakened the inner diva inside me. As I was reading it I felt ready to fall in love, become heart broken, and wear my pain in the sparkliest of diamonds around my neck. Jacqueline Susann (the author) did a fantastic job of connecting the reader to the characters so that even if you aren’t in a big glamorous city you felt as if you just moved there too and were facing the harsh beautiful realities in the life of a star.

If you have the time, and are looking for a book to pop open now and again while you are commuting to and form work I definitely recommend you give “Valley of the Dolls” a go. It will motive that inner tigress inside you as well as entertain and excite you if you need a little break from that nine to five job.

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I also encourage you to look up a little more about the author Jacqueline. I won’t go too deeply into her background, but a lot of her writing seams to stem from a very personal place in her heart and history of her past. When a writer is so willingly ready to open up to their readers you know the story will be gripping.

I hope you have enjoyed this review and are tempted to look a little closer to find a copy of this wonderful novel. My december read will be Outlander by Diana Gabaldon so look forward to upcoming material! I also posted my first short story and am really getting some inspiration to write a few more so stay tuned…

A lot is happening with lots of great changes in life! I promise to stay dedicated to my blog and post material monthly. The year is flying by so quickly I can hardly believe it is almost the beginning of a new year.

Stay glamorous my friends! Keep aspiring to your dreams, falling in love, and above all get lost in the amazing world of books.

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Posted in Book Reviews

Horns by Joe Hill

God’s justice may not be your own…

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I have never been the one to turn down a story that makes you rethink humanity. I love writing that get’s inside your head and really makes your mind think in ways it doesn’t normally do. Joe Hill’s book “Horns,” did just that.

What are the dark fantasies inside the mind of a person believed to be the embodiment of perfection? What if good is the wrong and evil is the right? Do you REALLY think you’ve been in love?

Horn’s was a great October read, and if you want to read minds, discover shocking deep dark truths and walk alongside the main character Ig as he embraces his inner demon, this is an adventure for you.

I watched the movie staring Daniel Radcliffe on Netflix, before I even knew there was a book. I feel like this happens often, but I usually try to make sure I read the novel if I watched the movie – I always get a guilt trip and I feel like I need to pay homage to the original creator of the story. In most cases I think you can still enjoy the book and movie as separate creations and expressions of the story if you first watch the movie then read the novel. Most often times I just get excited there is more to the story rather than getting upset for the millions of missing details.

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In the case of Horn’s I wish I would have gotten to read the novel first. The concept of foreshadowing plays a great part from the very first chapter, but I remember in the movie I was completely shocked at who was revealed to be the murderer. If I could wipe my memories of the story I would start over with the book so that I could see if the foreshadowing of the killer is as obvious as I thought it was.

Another reason that might intrigue you to read Horn’s, is that the author Joe Hill is actually Stephen King’s son. I definitely see hints of his father’s taste and influence in the writing, (things such as harsher vulgarity from the characters and the darker sides of moral values)  but Joe Hill still stands independently as the clear creator of the story.

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The complexity of the plot is brilliance. I have been trying to write a novel myself and have found the hardest part is remembering all those little details and twists added in and tying them all together at the ending. How any author can do this I am impressed. With how intricate Horn’s characters were and the on the side details that actually popped back up later on, I thought the entire journey was incredibly well thought out.

In resolution I was captivated. From the beginning to the end every time I had to set the book down, I would immediately pick it back up to squeeze in one more section. When Ig wakes up a year after the brutal death of his girl friend with a pair of horns sprouting on top of his head, you emote with him until the very end. You get angry. Not just angry – enraged. Patience is tested. Your heart gets broken. You feel for the endlessly suffering and you anticipate the resolution just so that the characters in pain may finally rest in peace.

I think Horn’s was the perfect book for an October read, though it might have helped if I posted this review at the beginning of the month rather then the end. If you are one of those people down to sit in and watch a scary movie rather then go out and party, I would completely recommend curling up with this book and reading from cover to cover to get lost in Joe Hill’s dark world.

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So go on. Put the bowl of candy out on the step and shut off the porch light. Find a dark corner in a room and pull the blinds shut. Light a candle and reawaken in a new world where you are the devil and the decision of damnation is left to you. Are sins what make you evil? Or is it something else entirely? Something deeply troubled in the root of your soul?

Declare your justice, discover the truth and always fight for what you love.

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