virago - Reviews

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Absolutely Positively Not
Absolutely Positively Not
Author: David LaRochelle
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 3/29/2016


I'm not really sure how to describe it. It was funny and a little sad. I felt so bad for Stephen for being so clueless as to his own mind and for trying so hard to prove that he wasn't what he was. I suppose what makes it sad is that people struggle with this kind of thing everyday. I wanted to smack his best friend Rachel, because whether or not you knew before he did, and even though you were supportive, you don't out anyone. I don't care if her family had already figured it out, it was up to Stephen to tell them he's gay. And his parents *sigh* they were so clueless, but in the end they were a good mom and dad. I think the best part was poor Stephen trying every idiotic thing he could to prove he wasn't gay.


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Review Date: 3/29/2016


This was hilarious, heartwarming...heart-wrenching!

Excellent book. It makes you appreciate the opportunities you have in life, and feel somewhat ashamed for the ones you've squandered.


Akata Witch (Akata Witch, Bk 1)
Akata Witch (Akata Witch, Bk 1)
Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 9/14/2019


The story follows Sunny who is an American Born Nigerian. Her parents move her and her brothers to Nigeria when Sunny was about five, but she considers herself American. Her American accent and mannerisms make her an outcast amongst her classmates, as does her albino skin and her intelligence.

Sunny befriends one classmate and her neighbor, who drag her into the world of magic, of which she was born to be part of. They and another young magic user are tasked with catching a serial killer who also has magic. It's all very exciting and dangers and a very serious pressure is placed upon the children. For if they do not stop the serial killer, he will bring about the end of days.

It's a bit of a coming of age, as well as a discovery of self, family secrets.

I listened to the audiobook and kept up with the physical copy. It was well narrated and and good story. I look forward to the next book in the series.


Akira, Book 5
Akira, Book 5
Author: Katsuhiro Otomo
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 8/5/2018


I'm not even sure what to say about this... It's still complete insanity. Everyone is fighting everyone. I'm not sure if anyone knows whose side they're on. Tetsuo is completely bonkers, Kaneda is back and apparently Kei is a powerful medium. The power is overwhelming Tetsuo, and still mostly nothing from Akira. I'm seriously starting to wonder if he's actually a threat. One more to go and I guess I'll find out.


Akira Volume 1
Akira Volume 1
Author: Katsuhiro Otomo
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.7/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 1/11/2017


That awkward moment when you go to read Vol. 4 and the "the story so far" doesn't sound familiar at all because it's literally been years since you read Volumes 1-3. So this is technically a re-read, but it almost feels like a first time read because it's been soooo long. I can't believe how much I have forgotten from my initial reading.

It's not like the movie.

What do I say about post-apocalyptic Tokyo? There are gangs, and drugs, a secret military project (which was the cause of the apocalypse in the first place), and kids with paranormal powers.

This whole graphic novel is a hot mess of drugs, violence and creepy kids with mad-crazy mind powers.

I loved it of course, duh! I I think I enjoyed it more than the first time I read it, because I changed my star rating from 4 to 5 stars.


Akira, Volume 1
Akira, Volume 1
Author: Katsuhiro Otomo
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 1/9/2017


That awkward moment when you go to read Vol. 4 and the "the story so far" doesn't sound familiar at all because it's literally been years since you read Volumes 1-3. So this is technically a re-read, but it almost feels like a first time read because it's been soooo long. I can't believe how much I have forgotten from my initial reading.

It's not like the movie.

What do I say about post-apocalyptic Tokyo? There are gangs, and drugs, a secret military project (which was the cause of the apocalypse in the first place), and kids with paranormal powers.

This whole graphic novel is a hot mess of drugs, violence and creepy kids with mad-crazy mind powers.

I loved it of course, duh! I I think I enjoyed it more than the first time I read it, because I changed my star rating from 4 to 5 stars.


Akira Volume 2
Akira Volume 2
Author: Katsuhiro Otomo
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 1/9/2017


Reread.

What I want to know is, how did Tetsuo turn into a mega douche so quickly?! One minute he was besties with Kaneda and the gang and the next he was heading up a rival gang and trying to kill his friends.

Of course it's the age old story of letting the power go to his head. And now this knuckle head has woken Akira. Shit's about to get surius now!!!

Like with Volume 1, I enjoyed this much more the second time around.


Akira Volume 3
Akira Volume 3
Author: Katsuhiro Otomo
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 1/9/2017


Reread.

Oh boy this is a mess. I have no clue whose on whose side, which side is the right side, or if Akira is only dangerous because people are trying to use him as a weapon. But he's 'woke' now. Like REALLY woke. And now Tetsuo is back to throw a monkey wrench in the works.

Once again, liked it better the second time around.

Cannot wait to get to Volume 4 now!


Akira Volume 4
Akira Volume 4
Author: Katsuhiro Otomo
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/11/2017


What. The. Crap. Is going on?

This whole thing has taken a left turn, and yet it hasn't. It's been a big paranormal mess from the beginning. Kaneda has left the Earth, but isn't dead and Neo-Tokyo has been left to fend for itself by the powers that be. Akira doesn't speak and Tetsuo is in waaaay over his head.

I must go on and figure out what the hell is going on.


Akira,  Volume 6
Akira, Volume 6
Author: Katsuhiro Otomo, Katsuhiro Otomo
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 8/5/2018


Okay now I see the movie wasn't as far off as I initially thought. This was kind of trippy? I'm not even sure how to explain it. It's all violence and supernatrual powers. It's about power and evolution and the birth of the universe. Like I said, trippy. Akira...I'm not even sure why this whole thing was named after him. Maybe because he was the beginning, but he was also the end. He wasn't evil; he was just a child who was experimented on--and eveloped earth shattering powers. None of it was really his fault, although he was the cause. But in the end, he was the solution. Tetsuo was practically the main protagonist of this series...poor Tetuso. In the end you feel for him because he was just a lonely, bullied kid who only wanted love and frienship. It wasn't his fault the government chose to experiment on him and unleash his powers. In the end he couldn't handle it; in the end he called for Kaneda, not Akira. It was almost kind of sad...once you get past the confusion and the insanity. This may warrant a re-read.


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Author: Lewis Carroll, John Tenniel (Illustrator)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 24
Review Date: 3/29/2016


This book was insane. The adventures she had and the creatures she met...It all sounded like what a bad acid trip would be like.

I'm honestly not sure I enjoyed it. This may require a re-read in the future.


Aliens: Bug Hunt (Aliens Universe)
Aliens: Bug Hunt (Aliens Universe)
Author: Jonathan Maberry (Editor)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/16/2019


This is an excellent collection of stories based on the Colonial Marines as seen in the movie, Aliens. In each tale we were are introduced to new characters and different units of the marines. We're taken to different planets and moons and met with xenomorphs other than the ones we're familiar with. It's funny and terrifyingly realistic that no matter how dangerous humans know something to be, there is always some corporate "genius" willing to take the risk of killing everyone if it'll make them a profit. And no matter how many scientist and marines die, or how many ships and facilities are destroyed, the corporations will keep trying to find a way to profit off the xenomorphs.

I loved that we basically witness the "birth" of Bishop, as he was discernibly different from his "brothers", though they were built to be identical. In one story we learned how he came to be with Apone and his mischievous band of jarheads. The main reason I bought this audibook was because of the promise of adventures with Hicks, Hudson and crew. I wish there had been more, but I did enjoy what there was.

The theory of the mutations of the offspring of the face-huggers varying based on the host was fascinating. Getting different and sometimes more terrifying versions of xenomorphs was jarring. But the most interesting was seeing the story from the xenomorphs' point of view. It just reminded you that they were only doing what they were built to do, they were just trying to survive just like any species. I ended up feeling bad for them, which I guess was the point.

The stories were all well written and interesting. "Interesting" is such an inadequate word. *sigh* They were...engrossing. My only wish was that there had been more adventures with Hick and co. The voice actors did an excellent job bringing the characters and the worlds to life.


The Alpha's Pet (Dark Hollow Wolf Pack Series 1) (Volume 1)
The Alpha's Pet (Dark Hollow Wolf Pack Series 1) (Volume 1)
Author: Shannon West
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 3/29/2016


I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. I'm okay with dub-con and even a little non-con depending on the situation and how it is written. Mostly I felt sorry for Nicky throughout the book because mostly everything done to him was against his will or without his prior consent. He was taken and turned against his will. I understand it was done to save his life, and that's always forgivable in my book, because the intentions were in the right place (usually). What bothers me is how mad everyone was at him for not just jumping for joy at this sudden, major change in his life and quite frankly his freedom. He was no longer fully human, he had become dependent on a biological imperative that he'd never asked for, and he was to become a slave, a submissive to a master he didn't ask for. He wasn't even into dudes before any of this happened. It's a lot to take in and he wasn't really given a chance to process, he was just told to behave or be punished.

As a pet, or mate, he was expected to be submissive but he wasn't. And when he tried to explain that it wasn't in his nature before he was turned, so he shouldn't be expected to be that way after. Nicky was basically told over and over that he didn't know his own mind and that everyone else knew what was best for him. His alpha wouldn't listen to reason that, perhaps the ways of their ancestors were wrong, or at the very least in need of an overhaul as the bloodlines had been diluted over the centuries, and the world had changed.

A lot of the complications could have been avoided if Marco had just approached Nicky and explained things to him in the first place. If he had given the chance to make an informed choice, maybe things would have turned out different. I know part of the story had to be angst and strife, but that could have been covered with the rogue pack and the prospect of hunters.

So I didn't hate it, but it didn't quite rank three stars for me. I'm considering reading more of the series; maybe it will get better.


Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, Bk 1)
Review Date: 3/29/2016


This was fab! Georgia is hilarious; I was literally laughing out loud throughout a good portion of the book. I adore Angus and wish he was my cat. This was just a really fun book to read. The writing was great, the stories were fun and interesting and creative. I really look forward to checking out the rest of the series.


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 6/16/2019


First person perspective quickly became a non-issue once I got a few chapters into this book. This is probably the best first person story I've read.

All the feels. So, so many feels. This story was so profound. I felt like I was Aristotle, or Ari to his friends. He was a lonely, lonely boy, and though I had good friends--great friends growing up, I remember feeling such an aching loneliness at times. I also remember being caught in my own private wars and living inside my head, keeping so many of my thoughts to myself.

Ari was a beautiful boy who was confused not only about himself, but about the entirety of his family. His father returned from the Vietnam war a shell of his former self--not that Ari would know that because he was born after his father returned from the war. It was as if whatever haunted his father was inherited by Ari. He grew up being so bothered by the fact that he didn't know his father because he wouldn't let anyone in. He grew up as practically an only child because his siblings were so much older than him. He grew up hating that his brother, who was in prison, was treated as though he didn't exist. He hated that there were so many secrets in his family, yet he didn't want to share any of his secrets either. There was so much anger and confusion roiling around inside of Ari. And it really came through in the writing. I just wanted to hug him, and I remember being him.

And then Dante came into his life. Dante was such a polar opposite of Ari, but like a light in the otherwise darkness of Ari's mind. They were a strange pair, Aristotle and Dante, but they fit so perfectly together. Dante taught Ari to swim, and became Ari's first ever real friend, let alone best friend. He immersed Ari int art, and books, and a different family life than he was familiar with. Dante made Ari feel things that he didn't want to. He made Dante want to share his mind, which was something Ari just didn't do.

Watching them fall in love... It was amazing and beautifully written. This was like a slice-of-life, but with a plot. I wasn't always certain they were falling in love. The author, in my opinion, keep me wondering. I figured Dante out pretty easily, but Ari, as Dante called him, was "inscrutable". Just when I thought maybe he returned Dante's feelings I was like, oh maybe not. Even when Dante was beaten badly enough to be hospitalized, and Ari found out one of the boys who had done it, he went ballistic and returned the favor to the little punk. Maybe I'm just clueless, but I certainly would destroy anyone who hurt my bestie, and I would definitely have pushed her out of the way of a moving vehicle. That's what besties do, or at least I thought so. Which is why it made sense to me when Ari continually said he hadn't done it on purpose, it had just been a reflex. Protecting people you love-no matter the manner of love--is a reflex. You don't think about it, you just do it. I honestly believed for the longest time, that Ari loved Dante as a friend. Their experimental kiss threw me off because the author tried very hard to make the romantic feelings seem one-sided...or as I said, I'm just clueless.

I'm not doing very well on this review. This book has got me shooketh. It was just a beautiful story, and I loved every page of it! It was sad and funny and exciting and heartbreaking. Dude, this book made me cry. Not full-on ugly cry, but I got misty and that's a good as tears when it comes to me. This book also triggered me a bit. But it was a me-thing. I was reminded, every time Ari thought about his father, of how much I miss mine. And like with many other books on my shelves, I can't believe it took me so long to read this.


Army of Darkness Omnibus, Vol 1
Army of Darkness Omnibus, Vol 1
Author: Sam Raimi, John Bolton (Illustrator)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 5/2/2018


This was a beast! It's broken into five sections and each one tells the story of Ash's shenanigans with the Necronomicon, deadites, Evil Ash and time travel.

This has been a treat to read! It is full of time travel, Ash goobering up his one task to destroy the book over and over, fighting and endless deadite army, and multiple Evil Ashes. He saves the girl, loses the girl, ends up in the wrong time, travels backwards and forwards in time, gets sucked into a computer game and fights the evil digital version of himself and deadite soldiers. He travels back to the cabin where it all started, picks up [and loses] new allies, destroys the book on multiple occasions and still the Necronomicon finds a way back into his life every time.

The stories are amazing and the artwork is is phenomenal. Part of what took me so long to finish it was me staring at the art. Each section is done by different writers and illustrators, so that makes it that much more eye-grabbing noticing the differences in writing and art styles. It's a must read for anyone who is a fan of Ash Williams and the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness series.


The Art of Racing in the Rain
The Art of Racing in the Rain
Author: Garth Stein
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 1003
Review Date: 8/26/2016


First of all, the initial description of the book that I read said NOTHING about this being heart-wrenching or a tear-jerker. If it had, I would have better prepared myself for this book.

It was a beautiful story that made me happy, sad, angry. I laughed at a few parts, but mostly, this was a very melancholy tale. Enzo was an amazingly smart dog and living life through his eyes made me wonder (even more than I previously did) what goes through my dog's head most days.

I loved and hated Enzo's family. It was so sweet and very believable how much Denny loved his dog, because I love my dog that much and I'm not even a 'dog' person! And the things Denny went through... Ugh there were a few times when I wanted to punch Denny, but mostly I wanted to do bodily harm to his wife and in-laws. And somehow, even though he was only a dog, Enzo usually ended up saving the day.

As mad as I was to read the opening paragraphs and find out that this was not a whimsical tale of life through a dog's eyes, but the flash back of his life during his last days (which they warn you about in the description on the back of the book so this is NOT technically a spoiler) I could not put this book down. I ended up taking it to the beach and sitting under an umbrella next to my hubby, I finished it. I was bawling. If you read this, keep tissues or a hanky with you! But you should read this.


As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride
Review Date: 4/28/2017


The tale was almost as whimsical as the movie! This was a great listen. The stories of commaraderie, funny and happiness, as well as the tales of shenanigans were fantastic. Cary told his story of the nerves of audition and being cast were refreshing. I think we sometimes forget that (even big name actors) don't always have roles handed to them. So for an virtual nobody in the acting world, Cary had to have so much anxiety at even being considered for the lead in one of his favorite stories.

I love the other actors' account interspersed with Cary's narration. I think the stories I enjoyed most were in regard to André. I was a huge wrestling fan growing up and as a child, seeing him in this movie was such a treat. But to hear about how much he meant to his fellow cast mates was very touching.

Not that I ever need an excuse, but listening to this made me want to watch the movie and look for the hidden things revealed in the book. I had the opportunity to attend a Cary Elwes panel at Comic Con a few years back. He was so engaging and funny and told such wonderful stories. Now I regret not having purchased a copy of the book and having him sign it. :(

Even if you've never read the book; even if you've never seen the movie--but seriously if you haven't, what rock have you been living under?! You will enjoy this book if for no other reason, it's an actor's account in the adventures of making a movie that became a cult classic the likes of Rocky Horror!


Ashes to Ashes:  The Dragon's Flame (Blackstone Chronicles, Part 3)
Ashes to Ashes: The Dragon's Flame (Blackstone Chronicles, Part 3)
Author: John Saul
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 68
Review Date: 9/20/2018


Re-read.

The dark figure has chosen the Ward family as their next victim. Martha Ward is a religious fanatic. She drove her husband away and then her only daughter, and when her sister died in a car accident, she took in her niece Rebecca and tried to teach her the path of righteousness. Everyone in town refers to her as "Poor Rebecca" as they all believe the accident has left her mentally deficient, but really, it just removed her filter.

Years later, dumped, fired and pregnant, Rebecca's cousin, Andrea, has no choice but to return to the home she fled from the day she turned 18. Rebecca is thrilled and decides to buy a welcome home gift for her cousin. The dark figure makes sure that the gift Rebecca finds in a dragon-head lighter with ruby eyes. Andrea is only home for a few days before everything goes horribly wrong.

Needless to say, the dragon lighter is a bad, bad idea. Looks like tragedy is only getting started in this town.


Asylum (Blackstone Chronicles, Bk 6)
Asylum (Blackstone Chronicles, Bk 6)
Author: John Saul
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 70
Review Date: 9/26/2018


Reread.

The final "gift" has been delivered to Harvey Connally, the uncle of Oliver Metcalf, but Harvey is certain the gift was actually meant for his nephew. When Oliver sees the shaving box with a blood-stained straight razor inside, all of the repressed memories came flooding back.

Oliver's father was a monster who had visited his rage upon the patients of the asylum and worse, his own son Oliver. And through Oliver's childhood, Malcolm had been grooming his son to be the instrument of his revenge. From the beginning of the renovation project, Oliver had been having blackouts and performing tasks (without his conscious knowledge) that his father had implanted into his memory years prior.

Between the death of his uncle and finding himself standing above Rebecca holding the straight razor, Oliver finally snaps out of the trance he's been in and realizes what has been going on in Blackstone all along. Now that he's remembered his past, he's been freed of his father's influence and the "curse" is lifted from the town.

This series was great. I love serial novellas and wish they would make a comeback. There was always just enough thrill and suspense in each novella to keep you eager for the next one. The stories were so well written that I was never truly sure who the dark figure was. Not until right before the reveal. I adore John Saul novels and am glad I decided to reread this series.


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