Tag: fiction

Book Review: Stoker’s Manuscript by Royce Prouty

Stoker’s Manuscript
Royce Prouty

Published: June 13, 2013
352 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 2.5 stars

Book Description:

When rare-manuscript expert Joseph Barkeley is hired to authenticate and purchase the original draft and notes for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, little does he know that the reclusive buyer is a member of the oldest family in Transylvania.

After delivering the manuscript to the legendary Bran Castle in Romania, Barkeley—a Romanian orphan himself—realizes to his horror that he’s become a prisoner to the son of Vlad Dracul. To earn his freedom, Barkeley must decipher cryptic messages hidden in the text of the original Dracula that reveal the burial sites of certain Dracul family members. Barkeley’s only hope is to ensure that he does not exhaust his usefulness to his captor until he’s able to escape. Soon he discovers secrets about his own lineage that suggest his selection for the task was more than coincidence. In this knowledge may lie Barkeley’s salvation—or his doom. For now he must choose between a coward’s flight and a mortal conflict against an ancient foe.

Building on actual international events surrounding the publication of Bram Stoker’s original novel, Royce Prouty has written a spellbinding debut novel that ranges from 1890s Chicago, London, and Transylvania to the perilous present.

Kim’s Review:

The poor man’s Historian is the best I can say. The first half had some major potential band I was really excited … but then the second half was such a let down! There was no real mystery, there wasn’t a quest, it just all felt so silly and inconsequential! And you’d think that having more vampires, some weird rituals, and a global conspiracy would make the story better! They didn’t. By the time I got 2/3s of the way through, I just didn’t care anymore and turned the pages in order to finish quickly.

Maybe if I hadn’t read The Historian, I would have liked it better. But I kept comparing them, and Stoker’s Manuscript didn’t even come close! Honestly, I can’t even say I’m glad I read it or recommend it to anyone. Just go read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and you’ll have everything and much more than what this book could give you.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick

The Messy Lives of Book People
Author: Phaedra Patrick

Published:  May 31, 2022

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 3-9, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Have you ever wished you were someone else?

Mother of two Liv Green barely scrapes by as a maid to make ends meet, often finding escape in a good book while daydreaming of becoming a writer herself. So she can’t believe her luck when she lands a job housekeeping for her personal hero, megabestselling author Essie Starling, a mysterious and intimidating recluse. The last thing Liv expected was to be the only person Essie talks to, which leads to a tenuous friendship.

But when Essie dies suddenly, a devastated Liv is astonished to learn of her last wish: for Liv to complete Essie’s final novel. But to do so Liv will have to step into Essie’s shoes, and as Liv begins to write, she uncovers secrets from the past that reveal a surprising connection between the two women–one that will change Liv’s own story forever…

Jessica’s Review:

This was an intriguing book! We see a bit of the relationship between reclusive author Essie and her employee Liv, but then Essie dies unexpectedly…

Essie’s will contains her last wishes, many that are quite different and unexpected, with one of her wishes being that Liv finishes her final novel.  This novel is part of an extremely popular series, one of which Liv herself is a fan.  In addition to finishing the novel, there are secrets that Liv must keep from everyone, including her husband. We see Liv in essence become Essie by taking over writing the novel and in some aspects of taking over Essie’s life. Through this journey Liv learns more about herself and the past of her favorite author Essie Starling. We see a change in Liv who then discovers an unexpected connection between the two.

I was interested in reading this one due to the title and cover: The Messy Lives of Book People.  Oh yes, we ‘book people’ can have messy lives; and Essie’s definitely was and Liv’s becomes so! When I first realized this was going to be another ‘someone else needs to finish the author’s current WIP (work in progress) for x reason I wasn’t sure what to think.  This is the third novel in the past year I have read with that trope, but all of those novels are different genres.  I ended up being surprised with this novel and really enjoyed it!

If you are a book lover at all I say you need to read this one!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK**Published in the UK as The Book Share**


Book Review: First Blood by David Morrell

First Blood
Rambo: First Blood #1
Author: David Morrell

Published: 1972
320 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

First came the man: a young wanderer in a fatigue coat and long hair. Then came the legend, as John Rambo sprang from the pages of First Blood to take his place in the American cultural landscape. This remarkable novel pits a young Vietnam veteran against a small-town cop who doesn’t know whom he’s dealing with—or how far Rambo will take him into a life-and-death struggle through the woods, hills, and caves of rural Kentucky.

Kim’s Review:

I’ve been watching Rambo movies since I was a kid. Of course we had to watch the tv edited versions because they’re rated R, but honestly, they’re not much different! I re-watched the first three recently and I noticed that it said that First Blood was based on a novel, so of course, I bought and read the novel. And I was so disappointed! This is a rare case where the movie is absolutely better than the book! Stallone did an excellent job adapting it and improving on the original story. I did not like John Rambo in the book. I sympathized a little, he absolutely was not a victim. Everything the sheriff did, with the exception of a little bias initially, was appropriate and within the law. Everything was more extreme; Rambo killed everyone! And I don’t want to give away the ending, just in case anyone wants to read it. But it sucked!! If you want to know Rambo’s story; go watch the movies.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK