Short and Sweet Review: The Merciless

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Review ~ The Merciless by Danielle Vega

This book was just good ol’ creepy fun at it’s best. No, it’s not a deep, thought provoking story but it will definitely keep you entertained. Some blood and gore to be warned about, if that’s not your thing, but nothing you wouldn’t see in a mainstream horror flick. I really liked it and look forward to the 2nd and 3rd books!

I gave this book: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

~Lisa~

Review: The Clay Girl

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Title: The Clay Girl
Author: Heather Tucker
Series: Standalone
Publisher: ECW Press
How I received: Requested from ECW
Pub Date: October 11, 2016
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism, Coming of Age, Mental Illness
Format: Paperback
ISBN #: 9781770413030
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Description:

Vincent Appleton smiles at his daughters, raises a gun, and blows off his head. For the Appleton sisters, life had unraveled many times before. This time it explodes. Eight-year-old Hariet, known to all as Ari, is dispatched to Cape Breton and her Aunt Mary, who is purported to eat little girls…With Ari on the journey is her steadfast companion, Jasper, an imaginary seahorse. But when they arrive in Pleasant Cove, they instead find refuge with Mary and her partner Nia. As the tumultuous ’60’s ramp up in Toronto, Ari is torn from her aunts and forced back to her twisted mother and fractured sisters. Her new stepfather Len and his family offer hope, but as Ari grows to adore them, she’s severed violently from them too, when her mother moves in with the brutal Dick Irwin. Through the sexual revolution and drug culture of the 1960s, Ari struggles with her father’s legacy and her mother’s addictions-testing limits with substances that numb and men who show her kindness. She spins through a chaotic decade of loss and love, the devilish and divine, with wit, tenacity, and the astonishing balance unique to seahorses. The Clay Girl is a beautiful tour de force that traces the story of a child, sculpted by kindness, cruelty and the extraordinary power of imagination, and her families-the one she’s born in to and the one she creates.

My Review:

Wow. My book is so tabbed up with post-its because of this great story. There are so many parts and passages that I want to go back and read that I had to mark them all.

I loved all the characters in this story, even the evil ones! The author, Heather Tucker, did an amazing job describing and fleshing each one out and they all took on a life of their own.

This book deals with coming of age, mental illness, alcoholism, abuse, triumph and even a bit of magic. I’m so glad I read it. Pick it up! You’ll be happy you did. I look forward to reading anything this author writes in the future.

Thank you to ECW Press for sending this amazing book to read and do an honest review!

~Lisa~

Review: The Vegetarian

Review: The Vegetarian

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Title: The Vegetarian

Book Info
Author: Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith
Author Info
Series: n/a
Publisher: Hogarth, Penguin Random House
Publication date: August 23, 2016
Pages: 208
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Asian Lit, Adult, Mental Illness
Format: paperback
ISBN: 9781101906118
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

I had to give this book time to sink in before I could do a full review. There are many issues at play here and to take them all in, takes a bit of time.

This is a story about Yeong-hye, her husband and her family and takes place in Korea. She decides after a disturbing dream to become a vegetarian and gets rid of all the meat in the house, which aggravates her husband and so begins the downhill slide.

While it may seem by the title, that this would be the main subject of the book, it is really about several subjects: mental health, control, manipulation, desire, apathy, mental and physical abuse, sorrow, abandonment and more. It’s told in 3 parts but never directly by the main character, Yeong-hye. It’s narrated by her husband, her brother in law and her sister, which is an interesting way to tell the story and also in a way I could appreciate it.

If you are looking for story about the ebbs and flows of life and how mental illness and abuse can differently affect everyone in a family, this is a book for you. It was translated beautifully and is a story I will keep on my shelves and reread in the future.

*I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review.*

 

Review: The Hospital Always Wins

Review: The Hospital Always Wins

by Issa Ibrahim

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Series: Stand alone
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Received: Chicago Review Press for a fair and honest review
Pub Date: June 1, 2016
Pages: 288
Genre: Nonfiction, Mental Health, Memoir
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: # 978-1-61373-512-1
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3.5/5
Goodreads Description:

Issa Ibrahim’s memoir details in searing prose his development of severe mental illness leading to a horrific family tragedy, his acquittal by reason of insanity, and his subsequent commission to a mental hospital for nearly twenty years.

Raised in an idyllic creative environment, mom and dad cultivating his talent, Issa watches his family’s descent into chaos in the drug-crazed late 1980s. Following his father’s death, Issa, grief-stricken and vulnerable, travels down a road that leads to psychosis—and to one of the most nightmarish scenarios conceivable.

Issa receives the insanity plea and is committed to an insane asylum with no release date. But that is only the beginning of his odyssey. Institutional and sexual sins cause further punishments, culminating in a heated legal battle for freedom.

Written with great verve and immediacy, The Hospital Always Wins paints a detailed picture of a broken mental health system but also reveals the power of art, when nurtured in a benign environment, to provide a resource for recovery. Ultimately this is a story about survival and atonement through creativity and courage against almost insurmountable odds.

My Review:

I felt myself going back and forth about this book. At times, I really enjoyed it and others, I found myself drifting off and not paying a lot of attention to what I was reading. This is a memoir about Issa, who is raised by parents, while both into the arts, also like to partake in some Mary Jane every once in awhile. Ok, who are we kidding? They smoke ALOT. It seems to be a habit that most of the family seems to pick up although Issa is more reluctant than most. From here we are told the story of how he ended up first in a psychiatric center, then prison, and finally in Creedmoor Psych Center for 19 years and his journey with mental illness and the treatment he receives while there, which more often than not is by people that are not qualified or in a profession fit for them.

The writing goes between past and present and I didn’t mind this at all and it didn’t affect my reading or understanding the story. I never found myself confused between settings either.
I can’t say that there’s a lot I didn’t like. I think I was just left with wanting more. Possibly more details about rehabilitation and some of the other patient’s stories about how they came to be in this hospital. I understand this story is about Issa but I just felt something missing. If he happens to do some more writing, I would definitely be interested in picking it up!

Author’s Info:

Issa Ibrahim is an artist, writer, and musician. He has been featured in an HBO documentary, an award-winning NPR audio story, and in exhibitions the world over. He has created numerous CD covers and merchandise designs, and his award-winning musical documentary film, Patient’s Rites, is showing in film festivals and has been embraced by the mental health community. He lives in New York City.

 

Review: Shadow and Bone

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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I started this book, then got sidetracked with some e-books and finally came back to this. Once I got going again, I really enjoyed the story. This is my first Leigh Bardugo book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the trilogy and her next two books, Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.

The world building was amazing and I was immediately sucked in by the beautiful descriptions.

I was especially drawn to the Darkling. Is he a good guy? Bad guy? I looked forward to every chapter he was in.

I wasn’t sure where the story was going to go with Mal and Alina but I was pleasantly surprised by their story. Mal seemed a bit boring through a lot of the book to me but I grew to like him the more I read.

Alina’s story went through many changes. I especially liked how she came to see herself as beautiful, which is a struggle so many women deal with.

I’ve heard a lot of people say they didn’t care for this trilogy. I am new to young adult fantasy and I’m surprised to say I enjoyed it as much as I did and definitely recommend it.

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

~Lisa~

Review: More Happy Than Not

Review: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

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More Happy Than Not is a book everyone must read. It was wonderfully written by Adam Silvera, who I am eagerly awaiting another novel from.

I went into this book pretty much blindly, because I had heard it hyped so much on booktube. I knew it was one I had to read. So glad that I did! I thought all of the characters were well fleshed out and I had differing opinions of each one. Their personalities were each unique and and highlighted the best and the worst in them all. I loved the story and felt a wide range of emotions through the book; from sadness, shock, heart wrenching heartbreak to happiness.

The lasting lesson here is we are all born the beautiful unique way we are. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to read this book 10 times over!

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

~Lisa~

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Review: Illuminae

I’m not sure if I can even form words to describe what I feel about this book.

First, I am typically not a sci-fi reader. I’ve just never been ‘into it’ and the genre didn’t hold my attention. Evidently, I wasn’t reading the right books.

I saw this book originally all over booktube and loved the format of the book itself. It’s made up of emails, IM’s, pictures, drawings, charts, etc. Just seemed intriguing to me. So I went ahead and bought it. I started it a month or two ago, then put it down because I was struggling to concentrate on it. Whether that was from my own mind wandering about the stresses of daily life, or that the book was not reeling me in right away, I’m not sure, but I’m glad I picked it back up.

Characters: I loved Kady and her bold personality won me over. Ezra could be a bit annoying at times but he quickly grew on me. If I must surrender to using OTP, well…Kady and Ezra are it. I even began to enjoy AIDAN as the story went on.

Plot: It took me a bit to get into everything going on, what with the technical names and different worlds, etc but once I got it all down..there was nothing about the plot of this book I didn’t like. Also, just when I thought they couldn’t go anywhere else with the story they hadn’t already been…they did..and never disappointed me for a minute.

World Building: While there didn’t seem to be a massive amount of world building at the beginning where the story begins, there was plenty of it later in the book on the ‘ships’ themselves. There are several charts and drawings showing the different ships and where certain areas and people are located which helps to envision everything better.

This book will be a reread and have a permanent home on my shelves.

I have Gemina, the sequel, preordered and it is due to come out October 18th. Can’t wait to get it!

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
~Lisa~