A Review of The Town and the City by Jack Kerouac

No one appreciates the love of their family and small town life until they find themselves out of it and making their way in the big wide world. Adventure awaits the Martin family as the older boys, Joe, Peter, and Francis leave their small town of Galloway to go to college. Joe decides against college and instead becomes a truck driver travelling the united states. Peter is the star football player at high school and despite his worries of being a little fish in a big pond now, he makes the university team. Soft spoken and sickly Francis is not the sports type which doesn’t exactly make him popular with his sports obsessed family. He finds himself being sucked into the literary circles of the big city when he leaves for university.

This is a really long book and the problem I had with it, is that it takes so long for anything of value to happen it became a chore to read. There is an extremely long back story to each character in this book and so much unnecessary information is given that I feel like I am just spying on a family in their day to day lives. Ordinary conversations that does nothing to further the plot reigns supreme in this portrait of small town life. I really thought I would like this one because Kerouac is such a well known author and I grew up in a small town and thought I could relate.

I gave this book a 3 out of 5. For me, this book never really delivered after the slow and monotonous lead up. It is very much suited to a previous time when people were in a slower mindset, when slow build up was the norm. Because of the generational gap I never felt like I related to any of the characters or cared what happened to this. I was disappointed and have crossed Jack Kerouac off my list of authors to read more of.

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A Review of Society Builders by Anthony Puyo

I was gifted this ARC by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. As an advanced copy it is also a pre-edited edition.

Society Builders is a science fiction account about a world on the cusp of total technological immersion. There are no more cell phones. Citizens now have usb style chips ported directly into their brains. This allows them to access the entirety of the internet with just their thoughts, including calling and messaging others- all from their brains. Jason Mendes works for the company powering this endeavor, Matson Cybertech. But he is also a double agent working on getting intel for his true allegiance, PAC, an organization developed to stop what they view to be a breach of ethics and morality. Matson’s latest edition, The Thin Chip, may have more behind it than just to bring together humanity- something much more nefarious.

I’ll start with my only real criticism and I don’t want to say much so you can make your own decision once you’ve read it. I really didn’t like how the relationship between the love interests in the book played out. I wanted more and I also thought more time could have been put into developing their relationship. It was sudden and very quick.

On the whole, I quite enjoyed this one. I’m a big fan of sci fi, especially that dealing with future societies and the toll technology can take on them. The thing that really impressed me with the whole concept of the book is how real it seems and the way humanity is evolving alongside tech. In a lot of ways, this story is kind of prophetic and because of that also truly terrifying. I found many similarities and parallels to our current society and the technology we are already trying to develop. Jason is a great main character, he’s passionate about the morals his dear grandmother instilled at him and he doesn’t sway from those even when confronted with things like love and as an every man type he’s relatable.

I recommend this book to any fan of sci fi. If you like things like the Terminator franchise, this will appeal to you. There’s a lot of action and after the first few chapters I couldn’t put it down. I give this a 4.5 out of 5. This was without taking the editing mistakes into account because the author made it clear this was pre-editing review copy. I gave it this score because I really enjoyed the plot but I thought there were a few things that needed more development and I don’t care for how the romantic sub plot played out.

A Review of In the Kingdom’s Name by Amy Jarecki

I was gifted this ebook from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I received this one awhile back but upon finding it was a sequel, I purchased the first book in the series and read it first. You can find the review for that book in this blog as well.

In the Kingdom’s Name finds Eva still in medieval Scotland, during the war to free themselves from English rule. Andrew Murray is on the brink of death and William all but forces Eva to use her newfangled healing to save him, something time does not want her to interfere with. Because of this, she is spirited away back to modern day and is desperate to get back. Will fate let her go back? Can she change time to save William Wallace’s fate.

This was a really good follow up as it helped to further develop Eva and William’s relationship but aside from the historical aspects of where the story had to go in order to still be true, the rest was kind of a let down. Jarecki explains her decision in the author’s notes and it makes sense but it didn’t feel right to me. I thought there were many things that could’ve happened to make the outcome more enjoyable. The last chapter of the book felt very forced to me and I never gained any real emotional connection to the resolution.

Another thing that bothered me, is that William Wallace is an extremely pious man. He had decided that he was going to take his vows into the priesthood until he decided to take up arms to fight the cause of his country. That being said, he very quickly jumped into a sexual relationship with Eva from the very beginning. While men can change their minds, he continued to read his psalter and to quote scripture all while this is taking place. So for me, I don’t feel like his character stayed true to himself and the whole sexual relationship was contrived to help the story further along.

This was a decent read but I liked the first installment of this saga better. I give it a 3 out of 5. This decision was mainly based on the fact that the ending was completely lost for me. I felt the author couldn’t figure out a way to make her original ending work and so this was plan B and everyone, including Eva, got the second best option. ┬áThis book has strong sexual scenes so reader discretion is advised.

A Review of Hatred Day by TS Pettibone

This book starts out in the viewpoint of Desya while trying to rescue his sister but changes almost as soon as he rescues her to her point of view. In the distant future, a race of beings called the Inborns, leave their world through a portal to inhabit Earth. The people of earth do not like this and destroy the portal killing thousands of inborns and separating thousands more from their families. Since that time, the people of earth have celebrated Hatred Day, the day they forced out the Inborns. But the Inborns are still living amongst them in hiding because they look just like earthlings. Many have mated with earth beings and produced halfbreed children. But the government is tired of them living with them and has shut Hollowstone off from the rest of the world and is intending to do DNA testing and only allowing pure earthlings to leave the dome. Snofrid and her family must find a way out before they are eradicated with the rest of the city.

I liked the science fiction aspect of this book, especially the technology. The characters had well developed back stories and there was a lot of action. The governmental aspect was very true to life and the race story arc was reminiscent of Nazi Germany and all the Jewish people and those that supported them had to deal with.

Though I liked the book, the plot took way too long to unfold. The character back stories were given in the smallest pieces and left me mostly unsatisfied. This was obviously meant to be a series, so much was left unsolved or not even touched on at all, even though mentioned in the book and as a reader I find that to be infuriating. I don’t mind cliffhangers but to leave out large points was annoying.

I gave this one a 3 out of 5. It has potential to be great but it is a really long book with too much left out. If the author was going to include as much as she did then I expect her to not leave so much for the next book. There was also a secondary love story between a couple of the characters that I actually really enjoyed but there was no resolution to that at all. If you like sci fi and slow burn novels that turn into series than you would enjoy this.

A Review of The Watchmaker’s Hell: The Pit by LA Barnes

The Pit is book one in a series of four books. It begins with a group of people dropped randomly in hell. This story is told through the perspective of many different characters so I won’t get into one specific character as being the protagonist. Also, many characters are not what they seem so in order to not give anything away I won’t get into it much. The main conflict is a a war in hell some are trying to avoid while others are trying to figure out why they are in hell.

The character development in this book is exceptional. Each profile is given an extensive history and backstory. With that said, I feel like some of it is too much. This is an extremely long narrative and would serve its purpose better by cutting out some of it. As we navigate through perspectives there is a lot of rehashing of events both past and present and sometimes it becomes too redundant. This book shows there can be too much of a good thing. But honestly, this was my only complaint.

The story was told well and was always leaving me wanting more. There are a few twists that I wasn’t expecting and I was left wondering if what I was reading was the truth just like the characters. It’s fascinating to be left feeling betrayed because I often times felt very immersed in the plot.

Without giving too much away, my favorite sub plot was the reconnection of two characters, one who was the reincarnated lover of another. For most of the story I felt very drawn to them and their connection. I was rooting for them and vicariously living through their rekindling romance.

There is lots of foul language as well as sexual content both being discussed and implied acts. There are also a lot of religious overtones. The author goes into doctrines of many different belief systems. Besides being a bit too wordy in parts I did enjoy the book. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars and I think I would’ve given it a 5 if it had been edited more.

A Review of The Witch House of Persimmon Point by Suzanne Palmieri

The Amore family was cursed from the very start. This family history starts in Italy and follows their immigration to America all the way to present time. Eleanore inherited a house she knows nothing about, but it came at the right time. She’s on the brink of divorce and doesn’t know what to do with her life or the strange daughter she is trying to raise. A reporter wants to do a tell all on the tragic history, and what may be multiple murders, of Haven House. Eleanore and her daughter Maj go there a few days before the reporter is expected to arrive to try and unlock the secret of the witch house before the reporter can. When she arrives she finds 14 year old Byrd Whalen. She’s ran away from home and claims the witch house as her birthright. Eleanore may be in the dark of the family history but Byrd knows everything and slowly tells her the stories of the cursed women of the family while they search for the answers they are looking for.

This book had me from the start. I hated to put it down for real live. It got to the point where I was so immersed that I rushed through it just so I could see what happens. My initial thoughts are that it is a lot like Tess of the d’Urbervilles. It is a heartbreaking and seems like that tragedy doesn’t end. But you fall in love with the characters despite their major flaws and seem to root for them even when you want to slap some sense into them as a lot of their tragedy is of their own orchestration.

The author opens this narrative with a letter about trigger warnings. The story is riddled with every kind of abuse you can think of: rape, torture, physical abuse, verbal abuse, incest, abandonment. You name it and this family has probably been plagued by it. While some of it was extremely hard to read I don’t feel like it was painted in a positive light. I liked how it showed that there are lasting effects from abuse and it can spurn generations of the same abuse if not recognized so one can break the cycle.

I really enjoyed reading this book. And I think it would appeal to anyone who is a fan of VC Andrews books. She also delved into generations of familial abuse. But I think one would have to be in a place where they have come to terms with their own abuse in order to be able to get through this with the Amore family. I give this book a solid 5 out of 5.

 

A Review of The Physics of the Dead by Luke Smitherd

Frank Bowler finds himself dead and in a place called The Foyer. He meets a man called Hart that has been there awhile and who essentially teaches him how to be a ghost. Throughout this book are excerpts from Hart’s fictional book on how to be dead. Bowler and Frank are both extremely bored with their lives as ghosts. The Foyer consists of the town of Coventry where they are both born and raised. They can go to different places but they can’t interact with the people or objects around them. They can’t read. They are subjected to only watching the programs that the living are watching around them. Their goal becomes finding a way out of The Foyer while avoiding The Beast, a creature who stalks them and tries to break them.

This is not what I expected. I thought a book about the dead would have more horror or science fiction elements but it really doesn’t. This is just a drama about 2 dead men and it jumps back and forth in time hitting on their previous lives while also jumping back and forth between when Bowler first got to The Foyer and what is considered present time. It became confusing at times even though font type was used to try and distinguish time periods.

There were parts that were sad and the sentimental ending actually added a star rating for me I still felt it fell flat. This is like the 5th of 6th book I’ve read by Luke Smitherd and he’s previous works have been better. This lacked the science fiction and horror elements that I’ve come to associate with him.

I wasn’t completely bored with it but it never had enough of a hook to want me to keep reading non stop. After picking this up and down for nearly a month, I finally just forced myself through it in two days. With that being said, if the book was awful I never would’ve been able to do that.

It is more of a slow burn, dialogue driven book. It is a lot of talk between Bowler and Hart about what they can and can’t do and I’ve never read two characters that over analyze things as much as these characters do. The concept and idea behind the story is actually pretty good, especially once you get to the real meat of the story. But it was much too wordy. Had Mr. Smitherd cut out half the dialogue I think it would’ve hit the mark a lot better. I gave this book a 4 out of 5. I initially thought three but after finishing the book and the sort of moral to the story ending I added a star because I thought the story deserved it despite the few flaws it had.