Tag: 3 stars

Book Review: The Cloisters by Katy Hays

The Cloisters
Author:
Katy Hays

Published: November 1, 2022
312 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

When Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, she expects to spend her summer working as a curatorial associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she finds herself assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval art collection and its group of enigmatic researchers studying the history of divination.

Desperate to escape her painful past, Ann is happy to indulge the researchers’ more outlandish theories about the history of fortune telling. But what begins as academic curiosity quickly turns into obsession when Ann discovers a hidden 15th-century deck of tarot cards that might hold the key to predicting the future. When the dangerous game of power, seduction, and ambition at The Cloisters turns deadly, Ann becomes locked in a race for answers as the line between the arcane and the modern blurs.

A haunting and magical blend of genres, The Cloisters is a gripping debut that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Kim’s Review:

My first book of 2023! And unfortunately it was kind of a dud. I went into it expecting a lot of supernatural mystery and spooky elements … what I got was adult drama and a murder mystery. The best thing about this book was the setting! Now I want to go to NYC and visit the Cloisters! The world of history and artifacts gets me all geeked out! There was a nice focus on some of those artifacts, but even then, it didn’t feel like enough. And there was some odd historical research that I really wasn’t able to follow; a lot of mental gymnastics that I don’t think would hold up very well in academia. Overall, I was just disappointed, I expected so much more!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Audiobook Review: Fairy Tale by Stephen King

Fairy Tale
Author: Stephen King

Narrator: Seth Numrich with Stephen King
Published:  September 6, 2022
Audiobook: 24 hours 5 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 2-14, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets Howard Bowditch, a recluse with a big dog in a big house at the top of a big hill. In the backyard is a locked shed from which strange sounds emerge, as if some creature is trying to escape. When Mr. Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie the house, a massive amount of gold, a cassette tape telling a story that is impossible to believe, and a responsibility far too massive for a boy to shoulder.

Because within the shed is a portal to another world—one whose denizens are in peril and whose monstrous leaders may destroy their own world, and ours. In this parallel universe, where two moons race across the sky, and the grand towers of a sprawling palace pierce the clouds, there are exiled princesses and princes who suffer horrific punishments; there are dungeons; there are games in which men and women must fight each other to the death for the amusement of the “Fair One.” And there is a magic sundial that can turn back time.

A story as old as myth, and as startling and iconic as the rest of King’s work, Fairy Tale is about an ordinary guy forced into the hero’s role by circumstance, and it is both spectacularly suspenseful and satisfying.

Jessica’s Review:

Fairy Tale was a risk for me as I knew it is in the fantasy genre. The first part is contemporary then it goes fantasy. I started it on my commute home one day and by the time I got home I was 1000% in love with Charlie, Radar, and Mr. Bowdich. Charlie and Mr. Bowdich meet by chance: Charlie hears the dog who formerly frightened all the neighborhood kids when they were younger constantly barking. The dog is up in age now and not as frightening, but Charlie looks to see what’s going on and Mr. Bowdich has had an accident.  From here starts the part of the novel I loved: The three-way relationship that forms between Mr. Bowdich, Charlie, and the dog whom we learn is female and her name is Radar. 

This beginning contemporary part is for anyone whom is an animal lover. I absolutely love Radar, and if I ever get another dog that is of the Shepard breed or similar, its name will be Radar! There is also intrigue and a mystery as well in this section.   This isn’t giving anything away since it is in the book description, but Mr. Bowdich dies and Charlie inherits the house and then learns Mr. Bowdich’s many secrets, among them the existence of a shocking new world, and the entrance to it is in his shed.

I was still interested in the journey to the other world and part of Charlie and Radar’s adventure there.  But this is a bit of a spoiler Charlie becomes separated from Radar and then I begin to lose interest in the story as this is where the fantasy part of the novel kicks in. Fantasy is just not for me! There also became so many more characters I couldn’t really keep track. Part of the story became a mesh of The Hunger Games and Divergent with characters fighting to the death. This second part just wasn’t for me. 

I guess I just needed a story of ‘a boy and his dog’ as the first part was. There are some difficult scenes involving Radar as she is nearing the end of her life and I was trying to prepare for that, I was so invested with Radar. There is a rush for Charlie to get Radar to the  Sundial to… well you must read to see what happens!   It’s very good, trust me!

The narrator is Seth Numrich and he did a very good job! Mr. King himself makes an appearance as Mr. Bowdich in the cassette tape Charlie listened to! I was not aware that King was going to have a small part, so I realized it was him and ‘Whoa’d!’ Being it was Mr. King himself narrating it actually distracted me from what was being said. I guess I fan girled a bit hearing his voice. 

Overall, if you enjoy contemporary and fantasy I think this will be the novel for you to read! Or even fantasy and a boy and his dog’ story this one will be for you. It just wasn’t fully for me.  Like I said, this one was a risk, and overall, I am glad I read it for the first part of the novel. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

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Book Review: Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison

Make Room! Make Room!
Author: Harry Harrison

Published: 1966
288 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

The world is crowded. Far too crowded. Its starving billions live on lentils, soya beans, and ―if they’re lucky―the odd starving rat.

In a New York City groaning under the burden of 35 million inhabitants, detective Andy Rusch is engaged in a desperate and lonely hunt for a killer everyone has forgotten. For even in a world such as this, a policeman can find himself utterly alone….

Acclaimed on its original publication in 1966, Make Room! Make Room! was adapted into the movie Soylent Green in 1973, starring Charlton Heston along with Edward G. Robinson in his last role.

Kim’s Review:

Ok, I think I’ve come to a conclusion: Old book to film adaptations are so ridiculously different from modern ones. This is the second one that I’ve read where the film is actually miles better than the original book! I’m weirded out! I showed Ivan Soylent Green last year and I was reminded how brilliant it was. I mean, Charlton Heston, but even aside from him! That movie is terrifying and so well done! I noticed that it said it was based on a novel, so naturally, I looked it up. I finally bought it and read it … and it wasn’t that great at all!

I don’t want to spoil Soylent Green cuz everybody should watch it, but very little of the story from the book was put into the movie. And the story in the movie is so much better! Some of the concepts were the same; overcrowding, lack of resources, extreme classism, etc. and the setting was well done. I liked Andy Rusch, but mainly because I was picturing Heston the whole time. Overall, I’m glad I read it, but I’d quickly recommend the movie to anyone else!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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