Book Review: Ten Sheep To Sleep by Nidhi Kamra

Time for another book review!! I had the pleasure of reading this picture book directed towards children as a bedtime story. The book is about a young child that is counting sheep to fall asleep but she has too many sheep. She tries to find someone else to take some of her extra sheep so she can fall asleep after 10 instead of more.

Overall, it is a very short book but the illustrations are entertaining and the plot is very simple and easy for children to understand. There is even a reference to superheroes in the book so it won me over right there.

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Book rating: 3.5/5

You can check out the author’s website for more information or you can buy the book on Amazon.

Disclaimer: The author sent me a pdf version of the book for my honest review and I am not being compensated in any way.

Stay on the lookout for more book reviews coming soon, I have some new reviewers on the team that has all been given their first assignments! Talk to you soon bookworms.

 

Book Review: The Dark Gray Blanket by Howard Burns

I recently finished a book called The Dark Gray Blanket by Howard Burns. This book is a fictional account of a real-life investigation of a serial killer in the Detroit area. It was a pretty fascinating read in the fact the author actually lived through this and turned it into something that can be shared with the world but also bring awareness to the incident.

Backstory: In the harsh Detroit winters of 1976 and 1977, four children were kidnapped and brutally murdered. This infamous serial killer has been dubbed the “Babysitter Killer” from the way they carefully cleaned, dressed and cared for the victims’ bodies before placing them in plain sight to be found. The murders still remain unsolved to this day.

Author H. Burns was living and working in the peaceful Detroit suburbs during the time of the murders with his wife and two daughters, who were the exact same age as the victims. With the last victim found less than three miles from their little suburban home, the story of the Babysitter Killer and Burns time right in the middle of all the action has haunted him to this day and would become the basis behind his novel, The Dark Gray Blanket.

Synopsis: The Dark Gray Blanket is a fictional account of an over the hill detective, Frank Pellegrini, and his strange obsession in the pursuit of the Babysitter Killer. During the snow-swept dark Michigan months, Frank, a brash and washed up yet lovable cop, makes plundering attempts at solving these mystifying crimes. The unique blend of fact and fiction weaves a captivating mystery set in a Detroit of days gone by and culminates in a killer that will surprise just about everyone.

Overall, I rather enjoyed this book. I liked Frank as a character with his constant pursuit of justice and that he always went with his gut feeling and trusted his instincts. I felt that the story was a little weak in the second chapter because it was basically just a history lesson about Detroit and not much storyline (if you like history, then you would really enjoy this chapter). But as soon as I got past the second chapter, I was in it till the end, adventuring along with Frank in his pursuit of the serial killer and solving the crimes! And the constant thought in the back of your head on why Frank chooses to take on the cases of children being murdered….what happened to him that makes him want/need to solve these cases and how does he do it while keeping his emotions in check?

I will not spoil anything because I think if you are interested, you should pick up this book! Howard Burns is a very generous person so, in remembrance of the victims, a donation in their name from the proceeds of The Dark Gray Blanket will be made to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Book Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: I was sent this book for free by Smith Publishing to read and review. The copy for the backstory and synopsis was provided by Smith Publishing, everything else is my own writing.

You can find the book on Amazon:

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What inspired you to write The Dark Gray Blanket?

Burns: I and my family lived in Northville Michigan during these horrific events. Our daughters were the exact age of the victims, 10 and 12. The last victim was found less than 3 miles from our home (skateboard sticking out of the snow). Due to me and my wife working, our daughters had to walk one mile to school by themselves.  1/4 mile through a wooded area. We had to drill into their minds “if someone approaches you, even if it is your grandmother, your teacher, a neighbor, a policeman, a fireman, someone looking for a lost puppy, just run to the closest home, bang on the door and scream for help.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Burns: Never aspired to be a writer – just wanted to tell the story and if possible assist the foundation that searches for missing children.

What do you hope readers will take away from your novel?

Burns: The treasure of a child and the importance of protecting them.

When you are not writing, what do you do for fun?

Burns: Movies, concerts, fishing, hunting (for food, venison, elk, pheasant), dining out, and travel vacations on bus or train enjoying all the beauty and intrigue our wonderful country has to offer. But most of all, spending my life with the woman of my dreams! Just sitting on our deck, looking out over the lake and sipping a cup of tea is one of God’s greatest gifts.

 


And there you have it. Another great book to peek your interest. Talk to you soon bookworms.

Book Review – I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

I recently finished I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid and man oh man was it ever intense! I was sent this book by Simon and Schuster Canada for winning their Book Club Pick of the Month contest. Now this happened in the summer and I had a huge list of books to go through but I am finally getting to it.

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I read this book on a flight to the great northern city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada over the Christmas break to visit my friend Jordan. I had my nose in this book from takeoff to landing on the flight home and was completely engrossed in the intricate web of a masterpiece Iain Reid created.

The story starts with a woman in a car with her boyfriend and they are travelling to his parents house so that she can meet them for the first time. Meanwhile, she is thinking of ending the relationship and a lot of the book is her constant struggle in her head about what to do in this situation since she no longer wants to be in the relationship. They get to the farm and she meets his parents but things seem to be out of place and she starts to notice a lot of things that are “off”. Thus ensues a crazy twisted nightmare of a story that I never expected in the least.

I will be spoiling the ending because holy crap it was crazy. But I will clearly define where the spoiler is so don’t worry. Before that though, I wanted to share the best quote from the book.

You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.

This line is so haunting once you know what the ending is. Alright without further ado, spoiler time…

*SPOILER INSERTED HERE, DON’T READ FURTHER IF YOU WANT TO READ THIS BOOK*

So it turned out that this woman was one of multiple personalities inside the boyfriend’s head and she was never real the entire time. When she is thinking of ending it, she is meaning ending his life. After you come to this realization, the entire book becomes so much creepier.

I also never caught it till after but the author just says “a woman” instead of giving the main character a name because she is the one telling the story. It made so much sense at the end but it was a very intense plot twist.

*SPOILER ENDED*

If you wish to read this book, you can find it here: http://www.simonandschuster.ca/books/Im-Thinking-of-Ending-Things/Iain-Reid/9781501103452

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review in any way. I chose to write it because I wanted to.

 

 

 

Book Review: You Should Come With We Now

I recently finished a book sent to me by STORGY for review called You Should Come With Me Now by John Harrison.

‘You Should Come With Me Now’ an anthology by M. John Harrison from the wonderful Independent publisher Comma Press boasted a collection of short stories that were quite different and a joy to read, this due in part to the range Harrison possesses; the storylines ranged from people with schizophrenia (are they schizophrenic or were there ghosts living among them), different worlds that only some could see and tales of stalking etc.

What I really enjoyed most about these short stories is that Harrison leaves each one open to the interpretation of the reader. In so much as to say I could think that it means one thing and someone else could have a completely different interpretation and reaction to the same story.

Some of the stories were slow burners at first; hard to get into the story, but by the time the ending drops it leaves you with one line that at first you wouldn’t think is a good ending but plays on the mind long after reading, giving you an understanding of why Harrison concluded the story in this way. These short stories really make you think out of the box in the way Harrison uses descriptions of characters and settings.

Reflecting about which was my favourite, the one that stands out in my mind was about a man and his close friend; whom you can tell he loves but she is married and her husband is a hermit that lives in their attic. He is always up there working on some project but no one knows what it is and the story trundles along to show how his absence from their lives is affecting everyone else. When it gets to the ending, the house gets almost torn apart! My interpretation of it is that he has been working on defending himself from another dimension, which is revealed masterfully at the end for
the rest of the characters to see. Someone else might interpret this story in a different way which is so cool because then it would spark a discussion about why and how they see it their way.

Overall, this collection of short stories was pretty interesting and they didn’t ramble on as many short stories do, being reminiscent of Novellas instead of the delicate craft of the short story. Each time I returned it felt like reading a new book each time, once again highlighting Harrison’s range of writing and the intricate craft of the short story form.

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M John Harrison – M. John Harrison is the author of eleven novels (including In Viriconium, The Course of the Heart and Light), as well as four previous short story collections, two graphic novels, and collaborations with Jane Johnson, writing as Gabriel King. He won the Boardman Tasker Award for Climbers (1989), the James Tiptree Jr Award for Light (2002) and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Nova Swing (2007). He reviews fiction for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement, and lives
in Shropshire.

Book Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: I was sent this book to review by STORGY. I am in no way being compensated for this review.

Here is the link to the STORGY article.

Book Review: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda was a breath of fresh air. I read this book in 2 days and found it very entertaining and a genuine reminder of how much you feel when you are so young and in love.

This book was about a young boy named Simon who is in love with another boy from his school. He has never met this guy, they have just exchanged emails back and forth and have been very secretive about their real identities. Until a boy at school see’s Simon’s email before he logs out on a computer. He then blackmails him to help him out with a girl at school.

This book brought up a lot of thoughts of how people perceive each other. I for one have gay friends and wouldn’t ever think to treat them any differently then I would my straight friends. But the book was from the perspective of a gay teenager that hadn’t come out yet, and it’s not that he was afraid to but that he just didn’t want it to be a big deal because everything he ever did was a big deal. But for a lot of people, it is a big deal and a very scary thing to do. There are so many different reactions that could come from someone coming out and that is kind of sad. No one should be afraid to be who they are. 

I come from a religious background and that made me think a lot about how that could go if I was in Simon’s position. My parents are amazing and I love them with everything I have in me. They have prepared/taught me everything I know and I don’t know what I would do without them. I would hope to never lose them over anything like this but that is a possibility for a lot of people. I am not in this position, but this book made me think about if I was and what would happen.

It would be terrifying because you wouldn’t know how the people that are supposed to love you the most would react. Your parents are your rock. They are your foundation; they build you up and prepare you for life and help you become who you are. To lose this would be world shattering and it gave me an insight into how scary it would be.

Love is love and everyone should be accepted for who they are.

The book was really great. The way his parents and everyone react when they finally find out is so supportive and uplifting. Simon has an amazing family. I would 100% be the dad if I was part of this family because every line he had in the book is something I would probably say. And everything he said made me laugh:P

Book Rating: 4.5/5

Disclaimer: I read this book because I wanted to and purchased it myself. This review is for me because I wanted to write it and that is that.

Let me know what your thoughts are on this book if you have read it and if not, what are your thoughts on having to come out. If you are straight, then just try and put yourself in Simon’s shoes like I did to get an idea of what it would be like.

Talk to you later bookworms.

Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down

Another John Green book to add to the bookshelf! God I love his writing. Every time I pick up one of his books, he surprises me with how much he gets into his characters.

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I really enjoyed this book. This is my version of a synopsis:

Aza is struggling with mental illness and the loss of her father as her and her friend Daisy attempt to solve the mystery of the disappearance of a famous local billionaire. The way they find most of the clues to the case is through the billionaire’s son Davis. There is romance, confusion, chaos and humour all packed into this novel.

What is enjoyable to me is the fact that you get to see inside Aza’s mind and how she is in a constant struggle with herself dealing with the demon she believes is trapped inside. She doesn’t think that she belongs to her own body and is fighting to stay in control of herself rather than let her inner demons win. Her thought processes and how she goes back and forth as if she is two personalities fascinates me. She lets the smallest things ruin her day which is interesting because that is from my perspective but from hers, it is a huge deal because of her mental illness.

And Davis has his own problems that he deals with. His younger brother Noah is just looking for a father figure to look up to and he just wants someone to believe in. Davis puts all his emotions into his love of astrology and tries to grasp at something he deep down knows he can never have by trying to start a relationship with Aza.

Both of these characters have lost someone very close to them and you can see that it affects them greatly throughout the book. They are just two lost minds trying to stay connected on the constant tumble down the spiral.

If you are interested in Mental Illness at all, this would be a good book to read. I will admit that it is not really a “feel good” book but none the less, it is still a fascinating read in my eyes because I learned a lot about how someone living with mental illness perceives the world.

You can find this book on Goodreads and Amazon.

Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money and wrote this review because I wanted to. I am not being compensated in any way for this review.

 

Book Review: Critical Critters

I was recently sent a copy of Critical Critters by Ralph Steadman and Ceri Levy from @Storgy and Bloomsbury Books. The book is about the animals all over the world that are on the endangered species list and are in need of saving.

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Ralph brings the animals to life through his intricate watercolour artwork and Ceri brings all the facts to the table that are justified with thorough research and a genuine exploration of the species.  The way these two can tell a story about each specific species and makes it interesting to read is amazing. I will admit that when I first looked at this book proof, I thought “Oh no, not another textbook”. But after I started to read, I found myself wanting to know each and every thing about all the different species in danger and how I could get involved to help.

I also enjoyed how they had a little side narrative going throughout the entire book. Ralph and Ceri would banter back and forth while they were in the process of creating the book and it gave the reader insight into how some of their ideas took shape.

There are so many species in this world and every single one has a different way of life. One quote really stuck out to me because it shows that we do take the natural world for granted.

Perhaps we refuse to accept their intelligence because we would then feel guilt for everything we have done to them.

 

The book did take a little while to get through but that only goes to show how many species are in danger and that the ecosystem needs our help to maintain the peace so to speak. We are the main reason a lot of these species are in danger in the first place. All the resources and websites that can help with protecting the ecosystem and different habitats are posted in the back of the book.

Overall, it was a very informative book with a comedic twist on the scientific side. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about endangered species and why they are on the endangered list.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can also see the post on the STORGY website!