Book Review: Of Mice Not Men by Donald L. Canterbury

33386633Genre: Science Fiction, Non-Romance

Page Count: 350 pages

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

After manmade natural disasters wiped out most humans and life around the world, war breaks out among the remaining humans. The faction called the Developers want to take the resources from Earth and leave the dying planet behind to join the stars. The Harmonizers want to stay and restore Earth’s resources. Both factions race to stop the other, using deadly, even sadistic measures. After all, the fate of the planet and the human race lies in the balance.

I had my ups and downs with this book to be sure. Aside from the book badly needing a proofreader, the writing itself is well done, only dipping into preachiness about human’s greed a couple of times. The brain curdling torture scenes were deliciously awful and made me stop reading a couple times to look up pictures of pet pigs until I calmed down enough to continue.

pigsimage
Look at that face. It makes everything seem better.

I thought I had a stomach for violence. I read Stephen King books and have watched plenty of horror movies. In middle school I reveled in shocking my classmates with presentations of General Sherman’s March to the Sea and torture practices from the Spanish Inquisition. In high school I was the only one who could watch the video of a shark eating a turtle without looking away ( but I ended up crying about shark fin soup later that year).

The point is, violence in books usually doesn’t bother me. But Canterbury takes it to a whole new level in a few of the torture scenes. It wasn’t just the twisted sadism in the scenes that bothered me, however. It was the fact that both sides are tooth achingly aware of the finite resources left and yet they both spend resources making inefficient weapons. The Developers do it in the name of sadism and the Harmonizers end up with weapons that are less effective than gun powder guns. I guess it shows that humans don’t make sense.

There are a lot of characters in this book, but Jasmine is the main character. I didn’t like her at first. I found her too cold-hearted and hot-headed. Granted, she’s in deeper and darker shit than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, but despite her parents dying, she isn’t a sympathetic character for most of the book. Her relationship with Thomas feels as forced as a cheap jigsaw puzzle. Mostly she is indifferent to him or pushing him away. For awhile the only reason she was still with him was out of fear of being alone. And then suddenly she loves him? I never really bought it. Cynthia’s relationship with an alien artificial intelligence robot feels more real and she thought she was hallucinating it.

But I ended up really liking Jasmine in the end, and even Thomas.  The plot was fascinating, even a couple of parts I was skeptical about at first and this book turned out to be entertaining, even though I guessed two of the biggest plot “twists” (if you can even call them that) as soon as the foreshadowing again. But one plot twist I didn’t see coming at all, which was great.

I do wish the sides were not so black and white. The Developers were clearly evil with practically no human sides in any main characters while the Harmonizers were clearly peaceful with no dark streaks to be found. It ended up making what could have been a great story about needless conflict and saving the world sound a little like anti space exploration propaganda. That being said, it is still entertaining.

While Canterbury’s writing skills are rough, he has the potential to be a great science fiction/horror writer.

You can get Of Mice Not Men on Amazon today.

5 Classic Romances to Read This Week

Sometimes you need to go and revisit the classics or discover some new classics. These are five books that are in the public domain, so you can find them for free. They are perfect when you need some old-fashioned romance.

pride-and-prejudice-book-cover1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

 

“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

This classic is one of Austen’s best-known works. It has humor, romance, and a healthy dose of reality. Headstrong Elizabeth Bennet wants happiness for herself and her sisters. And that does not include marrying Mr. Collins, no matter how much he courts her. She enjoys the company of a handsome soldier named Mr. Wickham and tries to avoid the handsome, rich, and completely intolerable Mr. Darcy.  But when she learns the truth of Darcy’s past and his intentions, she finds him not as intolerable as she thought.

Continue reading “5 Classic Romances to Read This Week”

5 Romance Novels for Foodies

One of the best things that go together is food and romance. After all, what’s more sexy than having your partner cook (or buy, for those of us who are challenged in the kitchen) our favorite meal for us? So here are 10 romance novels for foodies.

1) New Free Chocolate Sex by Keith Lowe

cvr9780743482103_9780743482103_hrGenre: Contemporary

Page Count: 336 pages

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.14/5 stars

Can your sworn enemy become your romantic obsession? What lies between sugar and spice? Do personal tastes ever change? And when should we try something new? As this irresistible novel reminds us, sometimes love is the least predictable flavor in life’s box of chocolates.

Matt, the brilliant young marketing director of the confectionery Trundel & Barr, loves chocolate. To him it represents sensuousness and innocent joy; it is to be adored, worshipped — and exploited — at every opportunity. For Samantha, however, chocolate represents something more sinister: While researching for a television documentary she learns that there is a darker side to Trundel & Barr, in the horrendous conditions of its African cocoa plantations. So Sam sets out to expose Matt — until she finds herself locked up with him in his own chocolate factory. Stuck together, they are at risk of having a complete meltdown. But if Sam and Matt can find a way to confront their differences and learn to accept each other’s passion for chocolate, their bitter situation stands a chance of turning out sweet….

Buy this at your local bookstore now.

Continue reading “5 Romance Novels for Foodies”

3 Ways to Listen to Audiobooks for Free

Audiobooks are really great for when you want to read, but you’re working with your hands. Whether you’re doing the dishes, cooking dinner, or commuting, sometimes you’re not able to hold a book. Audiobooks are great for that. But they’re even better if they’re free. So here are 5 ways you can listen to audiobooks for free.

1) Llibrivox_logoibriVox

LibriVox.org is a website with free public domain books read by volunteers around the world. They have over 10,000 works catalogued and are adding more all the time. Even if you don’t like the classic books you read in high school, you’ll find so many more interesting and amazing books to read and enjoy.

 

2) Free Audiobooks App by RB Audiobooks

This is a great app that I use quite a bit. You can either stream the books from the internet or download them for on the go. There’s a wide variety of books here, again from the public domain. Currently, I’m listening to The Amazing Interlude by Mary Roberts Rinehart through this app, and I’m really enjoying it. You can find it quickly by going to the app store and typing in “free audiobooks”.

3) Library of Public Domain YouTube Channel

There are plenty of audiobook channels on YouTube, but this one has one of the largest selections. With over 13,000 videos, there are plenty of choices for everyone.

What’s your favorite way to listen to free audiobooks? Comment below.

Book Review: Bascomville by Mark A. Calde

Genre: Contemporary, Teen

Page Count: 284

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.67 out of 5 stars

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Welcome to the life of Max Bascom, whose home is Bascomville. Bascomville has its own special kind of normal, where fathers can get job leads from their sons and Christmas dinners can end up to be Chinese take out. Max does his best to navigate Bascomville and to keep it running as smoothly as possible through good times and tragedy. And he also forms a special bond with the girl next door, Janice, who understands Bascomville despite coming from a world much different. 

This book is so fabulously written. I usually don’t take review requests, but I’m glad I did for this book. It’s part romance, part literary masterpiece, and it captures “growing up” so well. I wish I had this book when I was in middle school or high school because I can relate to making your own kind of normal.

“Us? Normal?”

“How do you know we aren’t? How do we know everybody doesn’t make their own?”

She considered this for a moment then dismissed it. “If everybody made their own then nothing would be normal. Nothing could ever be normal.”

“Exactly.”

That’s my kind of definition of normal. And I think everyone needs to remember that normalcy doesn’t really exist a little bit more.

I didn’t see the plot twists coming ahead of time and I never got bored. On top of that, this book is incredibly quotable. There’s some good life advice in here, like when Max helped Janice cover up vandalism on her house:

And I knew then that ultimately we can save neither ourselves nor our loved ones from life. We can only live it.

Max is a complex character that I like and dislike. He is, ultimately, human, not a hero. He tends to overreact sometimes when Janice is involved, but for the most part he’s likeable. He’s loyal to his family, loves his little sister, and wishes for a world with a level playing field.

My favorite character is his little sister Lily, though. She actually has it worse than Max. She lives at home with her parents after Max goes to college and has to deal with her mother pretending she doesn’t exist and her father pretending to be her best friend to make up for it. Her home life is lousy at best and she practically raises herself for her last years of high school. But she’s strong enough to not break under pressure and she’s not one for self-pity.

“Fair is for dorks. I don’t need fair to make things work.”– Lily Bascom

So why only a 4.5 instead of a 5?

It’s because of the long descriptions, like this one that characterizes Mr. Birnbaum, Janice’s father, through his workshop.

I stepped inside and caught my breath. It was, to me, a foreign wonderland, this workshop. I am not a particularly handy person, and the panorama of neatly arranged rows of tools hanging on pegboards, the fittings categorized in plastic bins, the copper piping slung above the rafters, the worktables and vises and clamps and braided electrical cords all echoed the prowess of this man. I felt humbled, and strangely calm. I still wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing but I was no longer nervous about it. I could leave disappointed, even chastised, and be all right with it. Such was the power of Sheldon Birnbaum and this place.

While these descriptions certainly add character and depth to the story, they can sometimes be a little excessive and make my attention lag. This book is certainly not a fluff book and isn’t meant to be one, but the long descriptions make it slightly more harder to get through than it has to be.

This is a good book for anyone to read and I can’t recommend it enough, especially to teens. It helps us remember that we all need to make our own normal.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to get my list of high quality free romance novels when it’s finished, as well as updates about my blog and exclusive content. I’m in the final stages of editing and hope to be done soon. Have a good day!

5 Great Romance Novel Bloggers to Follow in 2017

171241-smart-bitches-who-love-trashy-books

Smart Bitches Trashy Books

These guys are the ultimate romance novel bloggers. With snarky reviews, cover snark, shopping lists, giveaways and Help a Bitch Out (for when you can’t remember the name of that book you love) there’s plenty here for everyone. SBTB is great for when you want to find new romance recommendations, or just need some laughs. One of my favorites is reading the Cover Snark, because it’s hilarious. Here’s an excerpt from one of their most recent Cover Snark, this one for the cover of the box set Dirty Desires. 

Continue reading “5 Great Romance Novel Bloggers to Follow in 2017”

Book Review: Grind by Edward Vukovic

51m7qvaf84l-_sx322_bo1204203200_Genre: Contemporary, Literature

Page Count: 391 pages

Average Goodreads Rating:4.2/5 stars

My rating: 3.5/5 stars

Ziva has the ability to read fortunes in coffee grounds, passed down from her grandmother. She does it for her family and friends. But then Ziva uses her ‘gift’ for herself.

Throughout her life, her talent had been freely given to those desperate for a glimpse into destiny’s promise: love, loss, life and death, and everything else along the way.

 Ziva revels in the semiotic arts and their ability to bring joy and comfort to those she meets. But with the blessing of enlightenment comes the curse of knowing all that is toxic, harsh and flawed in the future. To tell or not to tell? When face-to-face with imploring eyes, begging to know what’s to come – are they sometimes better off not knowing?

Continue reading “Book Review: Grind by Edward Vukovic”