Angry Young Men
Author: Chris Lynch
Published: February 8, 2011
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Alexander, who wants to be called Xan, is a misfit. He has never fit in—not in academics, sports, or social life. He’s an awkward loner who hasn’t been able to find his place in the world.
Robert is Xan’s half-brother, and unlike Xan, Robert seems to have his life together. At eighteen, he’s enrolled in community college with a decent job and a great girlfriend. Robert often teases his brother, but he’s also his biggest supporter. No matter what, he’s got Xan’s back.
When Robert starts to suspect that Xan is traveling down a dangerous path, he may be the only one who can save Xan from self-destructing—before it’s too late. But can Robert save himself?
This edgy exploration of what goes on in the mind of someone pushed to the brink examines the seeds of extremism that exist in everyone—and is sure to captivate readers of all kinds
This is more about character development than anything else. Normally, I’m not so hot at those; this book, I got all involved in. I liked Xan and Robert. They seemed realistic and relatable. There’s not tons to say to such a simple story except I liked getting to know the boys, but the stakes weren’t high enough to make the ending as satisfying as it could have been. This is a short and simple story that’s high in moral conflict and emotions . . . I don’t want to say much more, cuz spoilers. I do recommend it, just with managed expectations.
Author: Alexander Williams
Published: December 2, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Caroline Owen is in recovery after a mental breakdown. Confined to a hostel, she has to avoid the addicts and strange, oppressive characters lurking in crannies and wandering the hallways. Getting her life back on track proves difficult as more than past ghosts are coming out of the woodwork. Bad dreams torment her of girls disappearing, girls like her, taken by some ancient evil that will do anything to stay young and beautiful. Caroline begins to learn that there are worst things than ghosts lurking in the darkness of the world. A mental patient tells her that her dreams are real, that every full moon a pair of killers take a life to replenish their youth…and are careful to take the ones who will not be missed, those that are outcast and alone.
Caroline has no choice but to confront these two monsters when she intervenes with them taking another victim and inadvertently makes herself their next target and finds that her nightmares are about to become a reality.
This. Cover. Another cover buy for me and this one was a success! It scratched my horror itch. The characters were interesting and mostly likable, except for when they weren’t supposed to be. There was also a mental hospital, and y’all know I geek out over those! My main issues are relatively simple. The number of characters got a little overwhelming. And the perspective was constantly jumping between everybody. Chapter headings or some kind of marker would have been helpful. I also would have loved more background info on Charlie and Rose. It’s hinted at, but you know I love having as much info as possible. But other than that, Williams wraps up the story well and I liked the resolution. There were many places that were creepy; seeing the darker side of humanity is always fascinating! I would absolutely recommend Eternal Youth to the horror fans out there.
The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home
Author: Denise Kiernan
Published: September 26, 2017
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
The fascinating true story behind the magnificent Gilded Age mansion Biltmore—the largest, grandest residence ever built in the United States.
The story of Biltmore spans World Wars, the Jazz Age, the Depression, and generations of the famous Vanderbilt family, and features a captivating cast of real-life characters including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Teddy Roosevelt, John Singer Sargent, James Whistler, Henry James, and Edith Wharton.
Orphaned at a young age, Edith Stuyvesant Dresser claimed lineage from one of New York’s best-known families. She grew up in Newport and Paris, and her engagement and marriage to George Vanderbilt was one of the most watched events of Gilded Age society. But none of this prepared her to be mistress of Biltmore House.
Before their marriage, the wealthy and bookish Vanderbilt had dedicated his life to creating a spectacular European-style estate on 125,000 acres of North Carolina wilderness. He summoned the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to tame the grounds, collaborated with celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt to build a 175,000-square-foot chateau, filled it with priceless art and antiques, and erected a charming village beyond the gates. Newlywed Edith was now mistress of an estate nearly three times the size of Washington, DC and benefactress of the village and surrounding rural area. When fortunes shifted and changing times threatened her family, her home, and her community, it was up to Edith to save Biltmore—and secure the future of the region and her husband’s legacy.
The Last Castle is the uniquely American story of how the largest house in America flourished, faltered, and ultimately endured to this day.
This is a great history book! I listened to the audiobook, read by the author, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Biltmore has a special place in my heart; I’ve been visiting since I was a kid and it ignited my imagination as a place of finery and magnificence! I’ve said many times that if you haven’t been to visit, you should and I hold to that.
Kiernan laid out not just the history of the house, but the people who built her. George Vanderbilt is the height of refinement and education and Ivan and I have already decided that we need more dapper gentlemen like him. Edith was a classy, yet humble woman who accomplish much. I grew to love them the more I learned and I’m so happy that their legacy survives in that estate.
As a historian, I was happy with the way Kiernan presented the facts. She did extensive research and put all kinds of resources throughout the book. The personal letters were fascinating. I also loved how she focused on the trailblazing that happened at Biltmore. The National Park Service practically started on the estate and the agricultural and forestry development procedures were revolutionary. Overall, this was a great and easy read and I learned a lot!
Here a few pictures of Kim and Ivan at Biltmore: