Dracula by Bram Stoker

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This took me forever to read. Maybe I would have had a higher opinion of the book had I read it in fewer sittings. I just couldn’t do it. I don’t know if it was the stilted manner in which Van Helsing spoke or the slow pacing throughout the middle of the book. There were sections of the book that I thought were great, but there were just not enough of them to keep my interest.

The beginning starts out with Jonathan Harker held captive by Count Dracula in his mansion in Transylvania. I thought this was a fantastic beginning and I was totally on board. The epistolary format allowed me to see exactly what was going through Harker’s mind as he fully realizes the situation he’s in. His earliest journal entries are full of superstitions and doubts and those niggling feelings. By the time he finally leaves, he is so out of his mind with fear and crazy thoughts that he’s admitted to a sanitarium. It was awesome. I really enjoy being inside of a crazy person’s head (other than my own).

Afterwards, more characters are introduced and the very slow ramping up to the next bit of scary stuff. I found myself irritated with Van Helsing more than once, as he tends to come off as a pompous, secretive, misogynistic ass. And it seems that he really likes to talk. A lot. About not much of anything that can be understood by anyone in the room.

Overall, I’m glad I read it but I don’t see myself picking it up again.

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When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

When She WokeWhen She Woke by Hillary Jordan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I started this book with pretty high hopes. I absolutely loved Mudbound by Jordan and I really liked this premise. A dystopian future where law-breakers are color-coded by the type of crime they commit? Sounds bizarre – sign me up!

Ultimately, I ended up with mixed feelings about this book.

The first half was great and a fantastic start for a The Scarlet Letter retelling. The main character wakes up to find that she has been “chromed” red. All of her skin is as red as a fire truck to symbolize that she is a murderer. She had an affair with a married man and was caught having an illegal abortion, so now she is doomed to be red for 16 years.

The second half is where I feel that the book loses steam. It stops being about racism and the extreme religious-right type government and tries being an action packed adventure with a lot of preachy dialogue. The whole story just seemed rushed and the main character seemed to evolve too fast to be believable.

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Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah

I received this arc from the publisher through First Reads. I was super excited when this came in the mail, as I love mystery/crime fiction! I had not read anything by Sophie Hannah and did not really know anything about this series.

The story begins as Amber Hewerdine decides to see a hypnotherapist for her ongoing insomnia. During her first session she says the words “Kind, Cruel, Kind of Cruel” without knowing the meaning behind them or where she saw them written. Next thing you know, she is picked up by the police for questioning regarding the murder of a local school teacher, Kat Allen.

The point of view shifts back and forth between Amber, the therapist, and each of the detectives involved with the case. This shifting narrative becomes very complex and sometimes difficult to follow. I did, however, discover that I didn’t care much for any of these characters. Which is unfortunate because a large chunk of this book is spent on character development. The plot on the other hand was interesting, but not particularly compelling. 

Overall it was an okay read. I probably would have enjoyed it more had I read the previous books. If you are a fan of Sophie Hannah and enjoy the series then you will probably like this book.

Crewel, A Book Review

I really wanted to love Crewel. The premise was unique, the dystopian genre is fantastic, and … it has a beautiful cover!  So it should have been awesome, right??  
This book is about a sixteen year old girl, Adelice Lewys, that has a special ability to weave the fabric of reality.  It is set in a futuristic dystopian society where Spinsters who control everything by weaving food, communities, people, etc.
Sadly, I was only left frustrated by the usual insta-love triangle scenario and confusing descriptions. I didn’t feel attached or connected to either of the love interests so the romance certainly didn’t reel me in. The weaving descriptions were strange and almost ridiculous. During the climactic ending I found myself visualizing the main character shooting spidey-webs from her wrists to save herself and her two boy toys.
This high suspense cliff-hanger ending only left me laughing at the overall bizarre-ness.  I gave this two out of five stars.