Review: A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett

house-in-the-skyI’m having a *really* hard time with this book. I find Amanda Lindhout a very selfish person. I think she was completely full of entitlement.

Of course, I feel sorry for her. I wouldn’t want anyone to go though this experience. It must have been beyond imagination.

However, from the very start Lindhout put herself in danger time and time again. Why? She seems to just have a wanderlust that she desires to fill. Work, save money, then off again until the money runs out. She seems very clear that she became a journalist simply because it was a way for her to continue to travel and skip the going home part, waitress, save money, repeat. At no point in time did she show any desire to better the lives of the people she exploited (sorry, but it was an income to her, nothing more, that to me is exploiting). She would go to hotels and demand rooms from men that were very animate that she should not be there unsupervised. She would be turned away and then become enraged and go down the street from hotel to hotel with the same response.

Of course this is not a great way of life. However, it is THEIR RIGHT to live that way. It is their country. Lindhout was told it was not safe and her naivety (her words, not mine) didn’t really feel that applied to her. That’s the entitlement I felt she displayed.

As people from 1st world countries often do, Amanda felt that the entire world was open to her. That she should be able to come and go as she wanted. If she hasn’t felt that entitlement, hadn’t felt she had the right to do as she pleased (despite her parents warnings and pleas, despite the warnings from governments, despite the warnings from thee citizens of the countries she went into, despite the warnings of the other reporters, despite, despite, despite!) and go where she wanted, none of this would have happened.

I could almost forgive her if she had truly been trying to help the people who suffered in these countries, but again, she is quite clear (her own words) that she was just looking for a sensational story to win her a sponsorship to a major network without having to take the normal route. She simply decided to call herself a freelancer and went out….without training, without schooling, again, without, without, without…she simply went with the first person that would hire her and didn’t even bother to check what they stood for or if she agreed with any of their viewpoints…

Then there is Nigel. Perhaps this is where I disliked her the most. I firmly believe that there are always two sides to every story. The facts are, she invited Nigel (she later admits she did so in order to screw with his mind, again, Lindhout shows how self involved she is). She goes on and on about him crying all the time…like there is something shameful in that. She gets angry when he has relationships with some of the captors. She damns him for not being supportive enough, for not touching her or talking at times….and yet she tells the reader time and time again how weak he is. He doesn’t want to pretend to be muslim, she decides that it is for the best and just does it without his approval and forcing him to do the same. Again, Lindhout shows the world that it’s what she wants and that’s final. The rest can just deal with it. Here’s the thing, Nigel’s life is on the line as well and perhaps he is just trying to survive. Why is okay for Amanda to cry, and we should feel sympathy for her, but if Nigel does, it’s said in such a way that we should feel shame for him?

Again, I am sorry, I know everyone I know has loved this book. It just made me angry. Angry that she was in the position in the first place. Angry that so many people suffered. Angry that the governments of the captives had to deal with the political fallout from all of this. Angry that people think that they are above what everyone else is saying…

I really don’t care if this experience changed her. I don’t really care what humanitarian things she does now. I feel strongly that she gets well paid for all of it. She isn’t doing it for free. If she were, I somehow doubt if she would be doing it. Don’t misunderstand me, sure you can get paid for these things…the difference is, would you do so regardless of payment? What are your motives? I’m pretty sure where Lindhout’s stem from…

(side note) FWIW, many journalists criticized this book because it contradicted much of what Nigel wrote in his memoir that came out prior to this book…there are a few other instances that her integrity came into question and many believe she has lied about other events (prior to the kidnapping). Many things I read in this book (about her behaviour) didn’t ring true to me….

Until next time…
Urania

Buy it now A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett

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Review: It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany

This book needs to be required reading for all high school and college kids. I’m not even kidding. It’s graphic and disturbing, but it’s real. As the title says, it happens all the time. That needs to stop. NOW.

SYNOPSIS
Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.

I am in a state of utter disgust and anger after finishing this book. My heart is cracking for the boys and girls who go through this. I swear to God, more parents need to talk to their children about behavior. There are too many people who point fingers at the wrong person and are experts at the blame game.

“Everything about your behavior and your words might have said yes, but the moment you changed your mind, the moment you withdraw your consent either by physically struggling to get away or by telling him no, he was committing a crime.”

This book brought so many things to my attention, I’ll admit, in the past, I may have thought a few of things before. I’m not proud of that. In fact, I’m sick over it. As I watched the suffering that transpired between these two, I realized that so many in this day in age still think like this. The stats alone have me ill. Our culture has this all wrong. It’s been twisted in our minds. Something needs to change.

~Melpomene

Buy It Happens All the Time HERE

Review: The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert

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This was one weirdly confusing book. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It left me thinking for a bit, wondering exactly how I wanted to proceed with my review. Because it’s a story that’s not for everyone. Some will love it, some will not.

The story opens with the arrival of children. Nobody knows where they came from or how they got there. And that remains the case for the entirety of the story. But they arrive one after the other, some left on the doorstep and some simply wandering up to the door.

As owner of the sprawling estate, it falls on Morgan to decide what to do. As a hermit, he’s lonely from time to time and comes to enjoy the company of the children as does Engel, the caretaker. Who, by the way, also showed up mysteriously shortly before the children. Strange children are accompanied by strange happenings, of course.

So here is the overriding mystery of the story. But another equally compelling mystery concerns Morgan’s reclusiveness. What happened during his childhood to horribly scar him? Yet another intriguing tidbit the author drags out as long as possible.

I guess I’m not sure exactly how to describe this book. It’s good, but frustrating at the same time. I wanted more answers but in a way am glad they weren’t given to me. And if I’ve confused you even more, so goes The Children’s Home.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Children’s Home

Review: Wonderland by Jennifer Hillier

wonderland-9781501115189_hrJennifer Hillier is one messed up writer. And I mean that in the best possible way. I mean, how else can you explain the brilliance of Creep, Freak, and then the Butcher? And then along comes this one. And there are clowns. And scary dolls. All of the most important elements of one heck of a scary story.

Vanessa is forced to return to her hometown after a scandal nearly cost her a career. With the help of some much needed connections, she’s able to secure a job as Seaside’s chief of police. There’s some comfort in bringing her children home to the place where she grew up, a small touristy town that owes its existence to the omnipresent Wonderland. Everyone wants to be there, and everyone has been at one time or another.

But her less than happy homecoming is thwarted when she’s immediately thrown into the thick of things. A dead man has been found inside the amusement park, after hours no less. And he’s been dead for a very long time. Is this connected to the spate of missing teens that nobody wants to talk about? And what kind of secrets are lurking behind the gates of Wonderland, just under the smells of cotton candy and the cheerful sound of carnival music?

At the very surface, this is your basic scary-mystery-serial killer-slasher story. All the elements of the genre are there. But it goes much deeper than that, thanks to the brilliance of the author. She knows how to set the stage and how to build suspense from page one. This story is scary, and the fears are real. Grab it and settle in for a good read. With the lights turned down low. And then be prepared to sleep with the lights turned back on.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Wonderland

Review: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker

burying-water-9781476774183_hrDisclaimer: An earlier review of this book was previously posted to the blog. However, in light of the second part of the story being released tomorrow, I felt that another look at this wonderful story was needed!

Almost 2 am. That’s what time I stayed awake until in order to finish this book. And at my age, that doesn’t happen very often.

When “Jane” wakes up in a hospital, she has absolutely no memory of how she got there or even of who she is. With the help of the sheriff who found her on the side of the road and his surgeon wife who saved her life, Jane begins to build a new life. But there’s something about the sheriff’ son, Jesse, that niggles at her lost memory. There’s definitely an attraction but something tells her it goes deeper than that. Told from alternating perspectives, the story also switches from past to present. We hear Jane’s present-day story as she struggles to find herself. And then there’s Jesse’s story leading us up to Jane’s brutal attack.

Although I’ve seen this book described as a romance, I’d say it falls more into the suspense/thriller genre. The romance is there, most definitely. But that’s not what kept me awake reading to find out what was going to happen next! It’s also been mentioned as the first in a new series which interests me immensely as I’d love to see where the author goes next with these intriguing characters. This is the first book that I’ve read by KA Tucker, but it definitely won’t be the last!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Burying Water: A Novel (The Burying Water Series)

Review: The Wolf in Winter by John Connolly

thewolfinwinterOkay….so I should probably start this review by confessing that although this is the twelfth book in the Charlie Parker series, it is actually my very first time reading John Connolly.

However, that doesn’t mean I felt lost….it doesn’t mean that I believe I could have liked this book any more…it was simply put…brilliant. I was torn between wanting to rush on and finish this one or slinging it aside and starting at book one….It’s a new series that I am EXCITED to read more of. This is at a time where I have been in a major book slump and nothing could hold my attention.

Here we have infamous Charlie Parker….a former NYC police officer turned private investigator. As with all great protagonist, Parker has personal tragedies that have shaped him into the man he is today. There are many people that love him….and many that would like to see him dead….but few are brave enough to try it themselves…He has a reputation that proceeds him and many that have battled against him do much to stay clear of him today….

This is borderline paranormal. No….maybe I shouldn’t say borderline. It is paranormal. But it doesn’t read like it. It seems very real. This book isn’t written to provide escapism into another universe….It’s made to have you question those things around you….to look closer at things around you….

What I especial liked about this book is that there is little doubt that there are many ongoing story-lines involved. Yes, I read this as a stand alone. No, I did not feel lost. Yes, the focus was on THIS storyline….however, you were surrounded by several other ongoing story-lines as well…there were hints and glimpses galore..and I am excited to go back and get started on this series and find out what they are all about!

I also loved what Connolly has done with the many characters. Again, it’s obvious that they have played major parts in previous novels. In this novel they might not be very dominant, but they are there to remind you that they exist. There are there to remind you that they will become more involved one day in a future story. They are much like an old friend (or disliked co-worker) that you meet on a crowded street….you’re in a hurry…you only have a moment to say hi….but you promise to meet up soon and really discuss life…..and you mean it!

So often, authors of longer series feel the need to start and end a storyline in every book….maybe dragging it out for a second book to wrap up…..so often they think that each character must play a dominate, visible part in each novel….or somehow just mysteriously be vacant in the novel…..Connolly didn’t do this….and it makes me excited to read the rest of these novels….

He is an author I have always wanted to read….I pictured for some reason a John Saul type of author….I’m not sure who to compare John Connolly to now….no….I take that back….there is no comparison. He is original. He is worthy of all the praise I’ve heard about him. He deserves to be a household name. You deserve to treat yourself to this series….

I’m feeling some serious author love right now….just saying….

Until next time….

Urania xx

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now The Wolf in Winter by John Connolly

Review: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

18920446Okay, so this is soooo not a typical Stephen King book. Reading this novel I suddenly understand why authors use pseudonyms. I mean, I loved this story from page one….but the entire time I was reading it, I kept thinking, “this isn’t like any Stephen King book I’ve ever read”….

This actually distracted me a great deal…I mean, I would have entire conversations inside my head…..

“Why does it matter if this is different, you like it, right?”

“How can it not be a SK book when SK wrote it, Idget!”

“Who are you to say what A SK book should be written like?”

“Of course he didn’t use a pseudonym AGAIN….been there….done that….got the grief for it tee-shirt”

I mean, it would go on for 20 minutes at a time…..

Yes….my life is indeed this sad….

This is a novel WRITTEN BY STEPHEN KING about a retired detective…..The detective is contacted after his retirement by a killer he was never able to capture whilst on the job…..The contact wakes up the detective from his numb numbing simply existence….Suddenly the retired detective has a reason to live again……along the way he recruits a few unlikely heroes to help him….

Stephen King has said that this will be a trilogy and I have to say that although I’m not 100% keen on the detective, that I absolutely love his recruits! I can’t wait to see them in the future books.

The one complaint I have over this novel is I can’t believe how far the retired detective pushed the limits. I found it hard to believe that he went so far out on his own without involving the current *real* police. I found it hard to believe that he didn’t turn over information when so many lives were at stake. Especially since the Detective was so highly decorated whilst he was on the force. He wasn’t known as someone who worked outside the law. He didn’t seem like the type of officer that had such little confidence in fellow officers or the system. He worked 40 years at a job and yet, didn’t involve them or seek their help. He even outright lied and withheld information AFTER an innocent victim was killed…..It didn’t make sense to me….

Having said all of that, even with those bits gnawing at me, making me almost feel like I needed to suspend reality for a bit….well, I still loved the secondary characters enough to forgive SK this….ESPECIALLY since this isn’t his normal type of novel…..bwhahahhaahahahahaha

Highly recommend…and I’m not even really bothered about having to wait for the other books…..these characters were worthy of remembering well past the closing of the last page…..

Until next time….

Urania xx

Buy it now Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King