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GodBomb! Review (My Last Review or Post on Booklikes: Hope to see you elsewhere!)

GodBomb! - Kit Power

I was planning on writing a separate post saying goodbye to all you wonderful Booklikes users who I've gotten to know over the past three years, but I can't seem to get the site to load on the worst of days, and on the best of days, it takes forever to post over here because of how slow the site has become.


So this is my final post. Much love and thanks for all the support. Please believe that it's not you, it's this broken-ass site. I don't have the patience for it. I hope to see you guys elsewhere on the interwebs. 


Oh, I probably wouldn't comment on this post if you want me to see it. This is the first time since my last review that this site has loaded for me. If you want to say goodbye (I wish you wouldn't because I'm loads of other places, like Wordpress and Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Goodreads, to name a few), email me at edwardlorn@gmail.com. I'm not deleting my account because there are hundreds of reviews and posts here that I've linked to in other posts and guest blogs and such, so my account will still be here, but I won't. 


*hugs and fist bumps and high fives all around*


Now for my review...


Exceptional. Far beyond all expectations I might have had regarding quality. I know most of my friends have given this novel high praise (that's how I came to read it), so I was expecting it to be good, but the writing herein is well above your average small-press or indie author. I'd even risk saying that Kit Power is one of the best writers working today, at any level of publishing. I'd have to read more of him, of course, but right now, I'm very impressed.

What Kit Power was able to accomplish with character development in such a short period of time matches the skills of Stephen King and Herman Koch. Power is not afraid to look deep into the hearts and minds of those he writers about. While the book reminded me a small bit of one of King's early novels, his Bachman book Rage, GodBombstands on its own legs. I would even say that Power's novel is better than Rage and Rage is one of my favorite Stephen King books.

The ending was the highlight of the book for me. Those who know me will understand why. I don't want to give even the subtlest of hints, because, while it's not necessarily a twist ending, it did shock me. I thought for sure we were headed one way, and Power took me a completely different direction. I can't say whether or not you'll be shocked, but that was my experience.

Being a opioid junkie of ole, I especially liked Mike's history. I did heroin in the late 90s and early 2000s, before I met my wife and managed to kick the illegal stuff, and currently am what they call a "functioning addict" because of my need for high-dose narcotic pain medicine due to a chronic back condition. I'm not sure if Kit Powers ever chased the dragon, but he sure nailed the character of Mike. Bravo.

I don't know nor will I theorize about Power's religious beliefs, or if he has any at all, but I believed that his characters were devout. If he's not a practicing Christian, I commend him for making these characters believable. It's hard to be respectful of characters with this level of faith if you're not a believer yourself. I know how hard that is. I ran into problems while writing one of my books, trying to make a Christian woman believable while keeping her from feeling overly silly. It's a testament to the power of this book that I found it so engaging when in reality I hate religion of any form. I don't mind religious people as long as they don't try to convert me every time we see each other, but I do hate the gimme-gimme structure of Christianity.

"Lord, please let my sports team win the big game."

"Lord, please let me win the lottery."

"Lord, gimme, gimme, gimme, Amen!"

Oh, and I can't forget the pastors and preachers of the world. But their gimme-gimme is called tithing. Then they can be like Joel Osteen in his million dollar mansion and say "These are just blessings! God is GOOD!" When translated, that statement reads "My congregation is GULLIBLE! Praise the Almighty Dollar!"

I've lost some of you, and that's okay. That means you won't be around for me to offend later. If you're still here, high five. Good job thinking for yourselves. *smooches*

In summation: Kit Power is a talented dude. While he reminds of the best, he's definitely got his own style. A style I image will be a pleasure to read for years to come.

Final Judgment: What a blast!



Hide and Seek Review

Hide and Seek - Jack Ketchum

This is a typical Jack Ketchum novel. 85% of it is a narrator droning on about young(ish) people being young(ish) people: raising Cain, having sex, drinking and/or doping, telling stories. The last 15% is horrific to the point you think you might be sick. It's the Ketchum formula. You either like it or you don't. Me? I have to be in a certain mood for it. I read this one right after The Girl Next Door and I shouldn't have. Would have enjoyed myself more had I spaced these two book out more. I love a good dark read, but I can't do them back to back. Fucks with my mood. The audiobook, read by Wayne June, is good. No complaints there. If you have Kindle Unlimited you can listen to it for free. In summation: Mostly boring with a kicker of an ending. Not Ketchum's best but far from his worst. Final Judgment: Better than dog food. Kindle Unlimited money saved: $27.94 Quality of books: $2.99 In case you're curious how my process of quality-versus-money-saved is calculated, here's a break down: If a book is one I would've bought no matter if it was on KU or not and I enjoyed it, it goes in the quality column. If a book is one I would not have read without KU and I enjoy it, it goes in the quality column. If a book is one I would've read and I disliked it, it goes in both columns because I would have paid money for it anyway, so the quality comes from not having to pay for it by itself. If a book is not something I would've read without KU and a terrible read, it goes into money saved, but not quality.

The Girl Next Door Review

The Girl Next Door - Jack Ketchum

There's going to be some personal information in this review. If you feel uncomfortable reading about child abuse of a sexual nature, you might want to skip this one.

The Girl Next Door was one of the first Leisure paperbacks I recall buying. I don't know what I was expecting, but what I got was a kick in the teeth. This book is brutal and unapologetic. And, in my opinion, Ruth is one of the scariest characters to be found within the pages of the book. What makes this all the more terrifying and unsettling is that the story is based on true events.

This time around, I decided to listen to Jack Ketchum read the book to me via audiobook. The one criticism I have is that Ketchum, like Ruth, is a heavy smoker. You can hear evidence of this in the way he breathes. I constantly felt myself drawn out of the story and and wondering about Ketchum's health. His voice isn't unpleasant, but his breathing is. You likely won't notice, but I did. He reminded me of my father, who was on oxygen during the final years of his life.

Here's where the personal info comes into play. You can skip to "In summation" if you like.

Growing up, I lived down the street from a pedophile named Eddie. The guy was arrested after a neighbor walked in on him molesting his mentally-impaired son, Jamie. Jamie's brother Ryan soon confessed that, yes, Eddie had been messing with both of them. After that, all the kids in the neighborhood came crawling out of the woodwork with stories of how Eddie had been at them.

I recall very clearly playing hide and seek with Ryan and group of our friends. Ryan and I hid in a closet. While we were in there, Ryan unzipped his pants and pulled out his penis. He said, "Put it in your mouth." I was ten and he was a year older than me, but even then I knew there was something wrong with what he was asking me. I mean, you pee out of that thing. Why would I want to put my mouth on it? I called him nasty and he laughed. He put his dick away and said he'd only been kidding. We played the rest of the day and never mentioned it again.

That was my only odd experience with that family, meaning Eddie never got a hold of me. Although there were stories about how my sisters offered themselves up willingly so he would leave me alone. To this day I'm not sure if that's true. It's not something I feel comfortable asking them, because we're not that close.

Soon after he was caught, one of the girls on the block came up pregnant. Rumors flooded the street about how the father was Eddie. The girl's mother had had a thing for him and used her daughter as a bargaining chip to win Eddie's attention.

Years later, I remember thinking, what kind of woman would do such a thing? Reading The Girl Next Door hit me that much harder because of all that.

Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. They come in all genders. Unfortunately, people like Ruth exist. Trust me. I know.

When Eddie got out of jail a few weeks later, he would park on the cross street and walk up and down our block. He'd point at houses and nod his head. He'd wave at anyone he'd happen to catch in their yards or looking out their windows. This was years before sexual predators had to register on a national list, and it was months before a restraining order was put into effect.

Some of you might recognize parts of this story because I put a different version of these events in one of my books. Looking back, I know how lucky I was.

In summation: Rereading this wasn't a bright idea, but I don't regret it. I'll never say that I enjoy reading it, but I feel everyone should experience it at least once.

Final Judgment: Utterly horrific.

Deathcrawl Review

Deathcrawl - Rich Hawkins, Daryl Duncan

One thing is obvious after finishing Deathcrawl. Rich Hawkins is an above-average writer. The editing is on point and he was able to extract physical reactions from me. The dinner scene toward the end was intense and disgusting and I damn near threw up. That scene is also where, in my opinion, the book should have ended. Deathcrawl ends up drifting into nonsensical territory that dropped my rating from a solid four stars all the way down to a low three. 

In summation: A short review for a short book. Deathcrawl is reminiscent of Stephen King's Cell, up to and including the lackluster ending. Instead of Phonies, we get mad cannibals who may or may not be possessed. Luckily, Hawkins's book is a quarter of the length of King's, so the rushed ending doesn't annoy as much as it would have had the book been longer. Worth a read if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Final Judgment: Rushed and nonsensical finish leaves a bad aftertaste to what was an otherwise delicious cocktail.

Kindle Unlimited Update: Money saved = $3.98

Spoiler Discussion:


What sense did it make for Charlie and his mom to leave Jed alive only to come back six months later to kill him? None. That's how much sense it made. Zero. And both Jed and Charlie surviving a bombing run and being able to hear each other afterward? Highly unlikely. Charlie's mom running out of the mist made me literally laugh out loud. Everything after the mad dinner party felt like a rush to tie up all loose ends. Even the writing took a hit, as Hawkins's prose went from lush to bare minimum quicker than I could blink. This is all a huge shame because I was thoroughly enjoying myself until the last few pages.

(show spoiler)

David S. Atkinson wants to pay you for reviews!

David S. Atkinson is buying reviews for $5 gift cards. How nice of him! Mind you, I'm not a reviewer for hire, so I passed up the chance to review his book for $5, but I promised to spread the word.

Original email sent to my personal email account:

Happy Friday!

Hope you've had a great week.

My name is Sami, and I just wanted to check in [I don't know who this person is, so I have no idea why "Sami" would be checking in], as I have an author wanting some Amazon (and Goodreads, if you're a member) reviews for his book of short stories - Not Quite So Stories.

David is giving out $5 gift cards for your time, and I'm happy to send you a digital copy of the book, if it piques your interest! I've included some details below.

Thanks for taking a look, and I hope to hear from you!

Not Quite so Stories (published March 1, 2016 by Literary Wanderlust) The traditional explanation for myth (including such works as the relatively modern Just so Stories by Rudyard Kiping) is an attempt by humans to explain and demystify the world. That's crap. We may be able to come to terms with small pieces, but existence as a whole is beyond our grasp. Life is absurd, ultimately beyond our comprehension. The best we can do is to proceed on with our lives in the face of that. The stories in this collection proceed from this idea, examining how the different characters manage (and/or fail) to do this.

Helltown Review

Helltown: A Horror Novel - Stephen Bentley

This is the first book I've read using Kindle Unlimited. I got the idea to keep track of the money I save using KU from my buddy Dan. But I will not only be judging the amount of money I save. I will also be comparing the money saved to the quality of the books offered. Thankfully, I decided to start my 30 free trial of Kindle Unlimited with this book, because, holy shit, was it bad. Had I paid for it, this review would have been far more rage-y.

DNF @ 18%, but I'm going to review this because the problems I had were with the terrible writing and editing, meaning no amount of good story could have saved this. To those of you who whine about reviewers reviewing books they do not finish, kindly take a flying fuck at a wall of spikes.

The Stephen King references and Easter eggs were cute, but Stephen Bentley is no Stephen King, so they felt out of place. From a store called King's Supermarket to mentions of people with names like Barbie (Under the Dome) and Dodd (The Dead Zone) to the main character having gone to the University of Maine at Orono, where King was not only a professor, but a student. Then we have the Overlook Hospital... Okay. I get it. You've read some Stephen King. Good job. As a King fanboy you'd think that I'd have loved this stuff. But not here. Here it felt well and truly overdone, because all those nods to King occur in the first 18%. I can't imagine how many are in the book total.

The dialog is clunky and silly and at times just plain broken. Bentley fails at even getting the simplest points across without rambling on. Slight spoilers ahead:

Bentley writes:

"I felt uncomfortable out there in the dark with Jessica trading numbers, like I was cheating on Pam or was planning to, but I wasn't, and that's the truth."

No shit, Sherlock, because Pam's dead. You can't cheat on a dead person. I know what he meant, that he felt he was betraying his dead wife, but that sentence if full of unneeded words. Speaking of unneeded words, we get stuff like:

"I saw Jessica swallow hard."

The book is written in first-person, so we know everything seen is from Dan's POV. A simple, "Jessica swallowed hard." would suffice. We know Dan saw it. He wrote the book.

Which brings me to the fact that this poor novel is in serious need of a line editor. Sure, there's a missing word here and there, but Bentley needs help with simple mechanics. He needs to have a professional work with him on how paragraphs are structured and what information should come before what information.

Speaking of information, the first 15% of this novel is nothing but info dump after info dump. Instead of getting to know the characters, like in any other cogent novel, Bentley dives right into these vague scare tactics. "Can't you feel something coming?" Ooooooo, eerie! But not so much, because we don't know the characters, one of which is stolen whole-hog from Stephen King's Dreamcatcher. Barbie is Duddits's doppelganger, right down to the way he talks. But, back to my point about the lack of character development. I can't be scared for characters I don't know. Just because you tell me something is scary doesn't make it so.

There's a bunch of silly shit in here that I won't go into too much detail about, but I wanted to highlight a scene wherein the two main characters are saying this place, Hilltown, is unique because it has ghost stories. Here's the interaction:

"It's amazing isn't it?"


"All these stories." She put her pen down and looked at me. "Everyone [the people in Hilltown] has them. Did they have them in Maine?"


"Didn't have them in Fairlawn, either..."

Fucking what? What town doesn't have ghost stories? Also, I lived in Maine, for 3 years. That state is loaded with ghost stories. It was at this point, 8% into the book, that I lost all faith in Bentley as a storyteller.

Nothing happens in this book for the first 15%, and when something does happen (the characters being teleported ahead two days) they're shocked for all of a minute before going to grab hamburgers at Burger King. What? You just lost two days and your investigative approach is "Wanna grab a whopper?" Fuck off.

We do get a lot of forced foreshadowing. Something is coming. Everyone feels weird and uncomfortable. We get the cliched old man warning of "Get out of town while you still can!" and the strangest fucking bit of forced foreshadowing I've had the displeasure to read:

"Jessica threw the ball into the river. I was glad. Something about it gave me the willies. I had a feeling those pinky balls didn't belong in this universe."

commercial photography locations

There's no reason for this dude to feel the way he does about these pinky balls. No descriptions of odd shadows or the ball sweating or dripping ectoplasm. He just... feels... like... something's... wrong... And that is this book. It just feels wrong. From the info dumps to the terrible writing to the forced foreshadowing to the goofy dialog to the tired King homage, it all just feels wrong.

In summation: Nothing can save this read at this point, so I gave up. Stephen Bentley has written what will likely become my worst read of the year.

Final Judgment: That soupy substance at the bottom of a dumpster.

Thank fuck for Kindle Unlimited. Money saved thus far: $2.99

Confessions of a Hack #7

Crouched and crotched are two different things. I didn't even know crotched was a word until I mistakenly used it instead of crouched. Tell me, how does one crotched?

The World Lost a Good Man Last Night

My Facebook friend Rich Meyer passed away last night and his wife Mona needs help with funeral expenses. If you can help out at all, I'm sure she'd appreciate even something as small as a reblog or share. 


Rich was a great guy, a snarky, pleasant soul who loved classic television, trivia, and rescuing animals. I remember when he adopted this blind cat he came to call Ruby and all I could think was, "This dude is a saint." Although I never met him in person, he was open enough that I felt like I knew the guy on a personal level. I'm gonna miss seeing him around.


Here's the link to the GoFundMe. I can vouch for the lady who's running the campaign. She's good people as well, and I have no doubt the money will go to the right places. 




RIP Rich.




Dear Mr. M Review

Dear Mr. M: A Novel - Herman Koch

In subtext and content and delivery, Herman Koch says to novelists everywhere, "Do better." As a writer, I think I got a little more from this book than a non-writer would. I caught all the nods to form and style and competition. Sure, this book is a thriller, after a fashion, but it is also a punch in the face to the lazy writers of the world. Toward the end of the novel, there's a passage that gracefully explains my hatred for writers like James Patterson and Clive Cussler, these word mills employing authors-for-hire who will only ever be remembered for how many books they sold and not what their books were about. There is a place for their laziness and business savvy and quantity-over-quality approach, but, in my opinion, it is not the in the world of literature. No, not everything needs to be a work of art. I simply wish the books that have something to say, something meaningful to say, outsold the air-headed authors of the world.

Why, yes, Virginia, I am a book snob. Now kindly fuck off and let me get on with my review.

*clears throat and does a horrible impersonation of Movie-Theater-Voice Guy*

In a world of books whose titles all start with THE GIRL... and authors who regurgitate last year's bestsellers' lists, Herman Koch dares try something different.

Not necessarily new but indeed different.

Here is a story told in two different, usually-unpalatable styles: second-person close and third-person omniscient. You're gonna fuck up and find yourself more confused than Tom Cruise at a Chippendale's if you don't pay attention. The first third of the book is much different than the second third, but the last third brings everything together in a string of Ah-ha! moments. And then Koch brings everything home with a final, fitting twist. But, while this is, at its most basic, a literary thriller, its potency far exceeds that of other novels of its kind.

As always, Koch delivers on the nastiest details, but what I found startlingly hilarious was the description of M. I've seen interviews with Herman Koch, and I'm pretty sure he was describing himself. The unshaven face... the teeth... Koch is the kinda guy you imagine you can smell his breath through your computer screen, a sickly bitter aroma of old coffee and rotting food lurking at the gum line. In that sense, this book is quite meta. Here is Koch poking fun at himself while proving that, although he has his shortcomings, he's much better than most authors on today's bestsellers' lists. It's a bold statement. "I might be ugly and stinky, but I can do this one thing better than you." Koch doesn't have to tell us this, though. The work speaks for itself.

Yet I felt the burn of Koch's dissection of writers, too. He riffs on the authors who're "down to earth", those authors who are open to personal contact from their readers, authors who are approachable. While I've always loved having a personal relationship with my readers, I gotta say, Koch is right. I'm still an asshole. Why? Because, by making myself easily accessible, I am, in a way, saying I am better than those authors who choose to keep their distance. "Well, at least I'm not like So-and-So. He won't even return emails from fans. What a cockhead." But is the detached author a cockhead? No, he's not. Well, maybe he is, but being unapproachable doesn't not automatically mean he's a cockhead. He might simply be anti-social. Or perhaps he's an asshole who realizes he's an asshole and would rather be judged on his work than his demeanor. Such a person should be commended. At least I think so. I surely shouldn't be placed above him just because I choose to make myself available to readers.

Man, but this book brought some stuff to light for me. Made me change the way I see how I might be seen, and I gotta say, I don't care too much for my reflection. And isn't that the best part of good literature? When it in some way big or small turns the mirror on ourselves and perhaps makes us reevaluate the way we perceive something?

Holy shit, this book is good. Fuck. It's the kinda book that makes me less articulate. All I wanna do is cuss and bitch about how well written it is because, you know, I didn't fucking write it.

Oh, and no worries. I'm not going to distance myself from you guys. But I think I might stop talking about how I feel about my own work. After all, it's not my place. The books are published. They're yours now. Who cares if I don't like some of them? The only thing that matters is that some people do like them. And that should be enough.

In summation: All the rambling you've just read is brought to you by a guy who read a terrific book that changed the way he sees a few things. You might not have the same experience, and that's okay. I, for one, loved everything about this novel. Dear Mr. M should be required reading for every author.

Final Judgment: A mirror that shows the parts of us we'd rather not be able to see.

1Q84 Review

1Q84 - Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel, Haruki Murakami

Well, shit, it's over. Took me three months to read this one, and after that last page, I want to start all over again. I got to know Aomame and Tengo in every way possible, and I will miss them like old friends.

1Q84 is the third longest book I've read, as far as page count is concerned. It is also one of the only books over a thousand pages that I've read which was not written by Stephen King. I plan on fixing that over the next year by reading Gone with the Wind and Alan Moore's newest, Jerusalem, and any other 1,000-page motherfuckers I can find. Not too interested in fantasy novels, but I might throw The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss, in there too. We'll see how the mood strikes me.

What should you know about 1Q84? Well, it's a slow burn. It's definitely not a page-turner. It's literary fiction, so don't expect action and fight scenes and too much in the way of straight-line plot progression. It's magical realism, so expect to find some weird shit going down that people are overall okay with. Two moons in the sky? Why the fuck not. Exploding dogs? Okay then. Whatever you say.

Will you like it? See, that's the question I cannot answer with any certainty. If most of you in my friends list asked me if you should read this book, I'd likely say no. It's long and can be boring if you do not become invested in the characters like I did. I say that because you will learn every little detail about Aomame and Tengo, and you might not always be interested in their pasts.

I, however, loved every minute of this book. After two duds from Murakami (The Elephant Vanishes and Wind/Pinball... I guess that's technically three duds...), 1Q84 was a welcome return to the style I fell in love with after reading After Dark and Norwegian Wood. However, you should definitely read a shorter Murakami book before reading this one. I can't imagine anyone starting here. It would be like skipping the jungle gyms on the school playground and rushing straight for Mt. Everest.

This epic novel is broken up into three books. I believe that the original Japanese text was released in three completely different volumes. I never saw a clear ending point after book one, two, and three, so had I read these separately, I don't think I would have liked them as much. I did find it fascinating that I could tell the difference between the first two books and the final book. Something felt... off, is the best way I can explain it. Then I read the copyright page at the back and I find that the first two books were translated by Jay Rubin, whereas the third book was translated by Philip Gabriel. To me, there is an obvious difference between these two translators, but, if asked, I could not put a finger on what made the experience different. Odd.

Murakami nails the opening and closing of the novel. At the beginning, you can feel the shift from 1984 into what Aomame comes to call 1Q84. The last time I felt so certain that I was in a different place was while watchingDisney's Alice and Wonderland as a child. The cool part is that there isn't much difference between 1984 and 1Q84, only this feeling that 1984 is the real world, and in 1Q84, anything goes.

In summation: This review will likely grow as I digest more of this stunning novel, but for now, this is what you're getting. Air chrysalises and Little People and Sakigake and Buzzcut and Ponytail and Ushikawa and Aomame and Tengo are all part of my life now. I will never forget any part of 1Q84and I will definitely reread it on occasion. One of the best novels I've had the pleasure to experience.

Final Judgment: Magic.

This December, the War on Christmas come to an end...

Coming in December...


The Con Season Review

The Con Season: A Novel of Survival Horror - Adam Cesare

This is my first experience with Adam Cesare's work. The Con Season has been on my radar since I voted for it on Kindle Scout. I'm a big fan of George C. Cotronis's covers and can spot them at a thousand paces. It is a fact that I will buy anything with his graphic design work on it if for no other reason than I like supporting his work. "Why, yes, Virginia, I do judge books by their covers." Then I found Adam Cesare's YouTube channel and instantly became a fan of the guy. I like his attitude and his knowledge of the horror genre. That alone made me subscribed to him and stalk follow him everywhere I could.

The first thing about the book I will mention is the obvious love of the genre coming off every page like heat waves off desert tarmac. Adam Cesare knows his stuff and is one of the few that can pay homage without blatantly ripping off those who came before him. I dug everything about his killer, but mainly I was impressed that he did something new. Good on you, Adam. In a genre full of impersonators, you manage to stand out with your own designs.

Second, the writing, for the most part, is damn good. The book could've done with another proofread or two, because I found many errors early on. The book gets cleaner the deeper in I went, but toward the front, the typos and missing words came at me at least once every three pages. Around the 60% mark, I stopped noticing them, and trust me, I was looking for them, but only because I'd encountered so many early on. Many people think errors and typos are a product of bad writing, but that's not the case. When I find an author who knows their stuff like Cesare knows his stuff, I tend to believe that multiple errors are a product of editing mishaps. So if you are overly sensitive to typos and the like, you might want to skip this book. That being said, you'd be missing a great story written by a lover of the genre.

Another complaint I have is, early on, around the time I was struggling with finding errors, I also came across what I considered to be filler. There was a lot of inner thought that did nothing for character development and felt like the author was padding to increase word count. I could be wrong, but that's the way it felt to me.

I highlighted several sections of the books because I was impressed by Cesare's writing. The paragraph about why chainsaws cause such a visceral reaction in us was exceptionally written. He managed to put into words something wordless. He caught a rare piece of magic with that paragraph, and I must say, I'm jealous. Damn impressed.

Final note: The ending felt a bit rushed for me what with how padded the beginning felt. He built up such a terrific scenario and then sprinted through the final pages. The epilogue actually made me angry. Could've done without it.

In summation: I will be reading Adam Cesare again.Tribesmen is on my radar, so I'll probably be reading that one next. Likely with Janie C. And, yes, I like the cover.

Final Judgment: Great idea if a little inconsistent on the quality.

Lola Review

Lola: A Novel - Melissa Love

Lola, by Melissa Love, reads like a television drama. If you're a fan of shows like Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy, you should like this book. That being said, the book is not without its problems.

If you're a medical professional of any kind, this book is likely to have you rolling your eyes or fuming more than half a dozen times. The medical inaccuracies were ludicrous and easily fixable. Nothing consulting a nurse wouldn't have fixed. The problems are as follows (slight spoilers ahead):

#1. Character has finger cut off and reattached and contracts sepsis all under 24 hours. I was a CNA for five years, and during that time I was trained and became a certified phlebotomist. I drew plenty of cultures in those five years. Cultures, the tests used to diagnose sepsis, take 24-48 hours to grow results.

#2. The symptoms of infection take hours to develop. Even if they tested this character the minute he hit the ER, there's no way he could have been diagnosed and admitted for sepsis because they would have had no reason to even check for sepsis.

#3. I'm sure there are shitty hospital employees out there who do not give a shit about HIPPA rules and regs, but who gives out a patient's diagnosis and personal info to someone who's only asking for a fucking room number?

To paraphrase:

Person: "Hey, I'm looking for so-and-so."

Hospital personnel: "Right. He's in room what's-its-fuck and by the way they were able to reattach his finger and he was admitted because he has sepsis."

Person: "Great. I'm so-and-so by the way."

Hospital personnel: "Oh, cool. He's been asking about you."

If you've never worked for a hospital, none of this is going to bother you. Needless to say, it bothered the fuck out of me because I was enjoying the realistic feel of the book. It took me over half the book to get back into the story because I was pissed that the author couldn't be bothered with simple fact checking.

Another thing that took me out of the story was zero mention of smog. It's always clear blue skies and gorgeous vistas in this book. I lived in California for 15 years, was born and raised there. The sky always looked like a smoky bar unless the Santa Anas had blown through. This might sound like me being nit-picky, but not mentioning smog in a story set in southern California is like writing about Egypt without mentioning sand.

Finally, as far as accuracy is concerned, I've been a member of three different gyms in my life. None of them allowed you to keep items in their lockers overnight, much less for several days. That being said, some might. So I might be wrong, but I doubt it. Lockers in gyms are prime real estate, and I don't believe any company would risk tying up lockers by giving them permanently to customers. Besides, they would eventually run out.

All of that killed my rating for this one. The story itself is a five-star read, as is the quality of the writing. A little more research would've made this a runner for my book of the year. I loved the characters, especially Lola and Lucy. If the author decides to write a sequel, I'll definitely pick it up.

In summation: Lola is a terrific story that is well-written yet horribly researched. All of the problems in this book are easily fixable, but it didn't seem like anyone wanted to be bothered with checking the facts. If you can ignore the impossiblities and inaccuracies, you should dig it, but my life-experience ruined the book for me. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC, which I received for free in return for the honest review you've just read.

Final Judgment: Donald-Trump levels of fact checking.

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The Kite Runner Review

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

The problem with tragedy porn like The Kite Runner is that, at some point, it all becomes a little too much. We get it. Amir had/has a fucked up life wherein nothing goes right. The reader holds out hope that something good must be just around the corner because, surely, life cannot get any worse for this dude. Welp, if you think that while reading this book, you'd be dead wrong.

I did find the surprises engaging enough to keep reading, though. I never knew what new horror was right around the corner. Even though I knew that something horrible was always just over the horizon, I didn't know what horrible shit would next befall this man. I was constantly shocked by just how bad life became for him and those around him.

I do feel like some aspects of the story were forced into existence, but those are spoilers, so I'll save them for the Spoiler Discussion at the end. I explain my three-star rating in the Spoiler Discussion, as well.

Thanks to Quarter-Book Day at my local thrift store, I own all of this authors work. But, before I pick up another Hosseini novel, I need to be assured that not everything he does is tragedy porn. If it is, I'll likely put off reading his other work until I'm in the mood to be depressed for a week. I don't mind sad stories, but I need some kind of relief ever hundred pages or so.

In summation: Not much else to say about this debut novel. It was sad and sad and sad and then it was sad. There is one small fleck of light at the end of the tunnel, but it's like finding a grain of diamond dust in a massive pile of elephant poop. You can dig through it if you want, and it might even be worth your time, but you're still gonna come out feeling like shit.

Final Judgment: I need a shower and some weed.

Spoiler Discussion:

The MC getting a split lip just like his dead friend had when he was a kid was a bit silly to me. Coincidences like that in books always seem forced. It took me out of the story. The ass whupping he took was plenty. No need for the forced scar. Up until that point, this felt like a true story, as if it could have been an autobiography, but after that scene, the author lost the real-life feel of the book and the novel felt overly fictional.

When Sohrab tried to kill himself at the end I just kinda rolled my eyes. I wanted the book to be over so badly at that point. I couldn't take yet another fucking tragedy. I think that's what drove my rating down to three stars.

If you'd like to continue the spoiler discussion in the comments below, please use spoiler tags. Thanks for joining me!

(show spoiler)

Marked in Ink Review

Marked in Ink: A Tattoo Coloring Book - Megan Massacre

Usually the only time I can find tattooed chicks and coloring books in the same place is when my meds wear off and I am committed to the state psychiatric facility go on vacation to parts unknown. I don't watch the reality show NY Ink, nor have I heard of America's Worst Tattoos, so I have no idea who Megan Massacre is, other than her parents gave her a wicked sweet name, yo. I did watch one or two episodes of that one tattoo show with with that chick that banged Jesse James (the biker who cheated on Sandra Bullock, not the train robber) while wearing a Nazi helmet. What's her name? Cat van Gonerrhea? Kitty von Chlamydia? Nazi vin Fuckstick?

(Great, now if my wife looks at my history, she's going to see that I Googled "Chlomedia" because I didn't know how to spell "Chlamydia." Wonderfail...)

It's no secret that I like to color. Well, I like to paint, and that's really the same thing, innit? It is now, because I said so. Anyway, I like adding color to things that lack color. Like toilet water. But I wasn't too thrilled with this one. Why? Well, I guess I'd have to say that, to me, the pictures were rather boring. I've flipped through dozens of adult coloring books and I think this is the most boring one I've come across. I don't know if you have to be a fan of Megan Massacre to "get" these images, but I can't see the draw of them.

I do, however, like the fact that the opposite side of each sheet is blank. So, if I ever do color any of these, which I doubt I will, I'd be able to rip it out and post it on the wall next to my Howard the Duck poster and my plaque for Bestest Cookbook Reviewer in All of Goodreads and Forever. But being able to tear out these pictures ends up being useless because I just don't give enough of a fuck for the images to actually color them.

In summation: If you like Dia de la Muerta skulls and pixies and sharp objects, this is the coloring book for you. If you like reality shows about tattoo artists (NY Ink) and people who make bad decisions when choosing tattoos (America's Worst Tattoos), you might dig coloring and ripping out these pages. But I can think of over a dozen coloring books with better designs, so this one only gets an "okay" from this reviewer.

By the way, thanks to Crown Publishing for the review copy. This one just wasn't for me, kids.

Final Judgment: Not my style.

Currently reading

It: A Novel by Stephen King
Howard the Duck Omnibus by Steve Gerber, Val Mayerik, John Buscema, Carmine Infantino, Frank Brunner, Gene Colan
Progress: 82/800pages