[Freebie Friday] Solstice- Damian Stevenson

 

 

I thought I would do a series called ‘Freebie Friday’- every 2 weeks, I’ll review a book that’s available for a free kindle edition download on Amazon. After all – there has to be some good books waiting to be discovered.

First up. Solstice by Damian Stevenson. The story begins with the main character Dana checking into a psychiatric facility for depression. She’s there for a few days, and is picked up by her boyfriend – though it’s left ambiguous if it really was a boyfriend or not. The plan is to visit her sister in Oklahoma.

They stop at a hotel for the night, have an argument, and go to bed. When she wakes up, her boyfriend has left. There’s nothing that can be done as it’s too soon to file a missing persons report, so she continues on to Oklahoma by herself.

It turns out her sister lives on a commune called the Rainbow Collective- basically environmentalists, anti-technology, and they try to live like the ancients as much as possible. They’re all a bit strange. She tries to tell them and the local law enforcement about her boyfriend, but there is no proof he exists and they all think she is crazy. And she just might be -everything is left unclear to us readers as well. Dana must play detective to get to the bottom of the disappearance and prove her sanity.

I hate to give such a harsh review of this book simply because I know how difficult writing is, but it is just…not good. The characters are underdeveloped and bland. Perhaps with some more back story and better dialogue, I would have found the book more engaging.

In addition to that, the writing is full of typos, mistakes, and generally unclear passages. The descriptions in this story rival Twilight. Mundane things are described in such detail, yet there’s not enough detail used to flush out the characters and story. For example,’ Moonlight spilled in through the kitchen windows of Rainbow as Dana waited at the sink for water to gush into her glass. The faucet coughed, spewing mud and rust’ is used, but hardly more than a line is mentioned about what led her to check herself in to the psychiatric facility in the first place. There was also less than a page of back story about her relationship with her sister, which I felt was an important one due to the whole ‘Dana is just crazy and should we believe her’ premise of the book.

That said, there -is- a pretty good twist in it. I think the author did a good job with the plot idea, just failed in the actual execution. Overall, I’d give it a 2/5.

What did you guys think if you’ve read it?

 

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Throwback Thursday: The Babysitter’s Club

 

I thought it would be fun to take a look back once a month and share those books I devoured as a child – the ones that inspired a love of reading. Hopefully these posts bring back those wonderful feelings for you all.

What girl did not read the Baby Sitter’s Club? I was always an early riser as a kid and my parents liked to sleep in on the weekends, so I would always read quietly in my room with my cat Callie snuggled in my lap until around 10 AM. My go-tos were the Baby Sitter’s Club.

Something about these girl’s friendships despite their unique personalities just kept me wanting more of these books – even though looking back it was a bit cliché (‘ The Stylish One’ ‘The Artist’ ‘The Bookworm’). Silly as it sounds, it reaffirmed what I knew – diversity is a beautiful thing.

I couldn’t wait to be thirteen so I could have a small business, go shopping with friends, have a boyfriend, and my very own phone line…and then was promptly disappointed when I turned thirteen and was deemed too young for most of the things these girls were allowed to do. Ah, memories.

Dawn was my favorite, since she was from (sorta) my neck of the woods, but I also loved Mallory (I wanted siblings) and Stacey. 

For your viewing pleasure, I give you the trailer from the 1995 movie, which I totally owned on VHS. 

 

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Quote time!

Reading is my favorite way to escape and unwind in the middle of a busy day when having lunch. When do you all like to read?

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The Long Walk- Stephen King

 

  Apparently all it takes to make me purchase a book are the words ‘Stephen King’ and ‘Dystopia’- I found out about the existence of this book from a youtuber and opened a new tab to buy the kindle edition before the video was even over.

  The Long Walk was originally published in 1979 under King’s former pen name, Richard Bachman. Finding a physical copy in my area was tricky – no library copies and nothing at my local Barnes and Noble, so if you’re interested I would just purchase it online. At less than $5 for the kindle edition, it’s available for a good price.

  100 boys join the yearly ‘Long Walk’ for the prize of anything they want for the rest of their lives. Not a bad prize indeed. Basicially, the rules of the walk are as follows: You must maintain a speed of 4 MPH. If you go slower than that for less than 30 seconds, you get a warning. You can make up your warning if you walk an hour without getting another warning (so if you get 2 within an hour, you have to walk two hours warning-free before you’re square again). 3 warnings is a ticket. It’s kept unclear what that means at first, but it soon is revealed that a ticker means you’re shot dead by soldiers. The walk begins in the Maine/Canada border, doesn’t stop for any rests, and doesn’t have a finish line-though most are done by the time the walkers reach Massachusetts. I’d hate to spoil anything by telling you all what happens during the walk, so I’ll stop with my description here.

  So is The Long Walk worth reading? Most definitely. This has to be one of my favorite books written by Stephen King so far and I think it’s because he’s a little less long-winded than usual. He does a wonderful job with the pacing – he builds up, shows us a little at a time, and the story progressively gets a little darker as it goes until it ends. All the while, you manage to feel like you’re walking right alongside these boys.

 

 

 

 

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My Favorite Summer Reads

I thought I’d kick off my blog with a bit of fun. These are the books that make me laugh, warm my heart, and are my go-to I-just-want-to-be-entertained books. If you are looking for something to read poolside or while traveling, I would recommend any of these books.

 

Bridget Jone’s Diary- Helen Fielding

What woman doesn’t relate to Bridget? She struggles with her weight, strives to best food forward (and awkward hilarity ensues, Story of my life), and wants to find love. Most ladies have probably seen the movies, and the books are just as wonderful. Note to self: Obtain copy of third book.

 

Confessions of a Shopaholic- Sophie Kinsella

I won’t go too much into how much I love Sophie Kinsella, since I plan to do a post sometime in the future about authors I can’t stop reading, but you really can’t go wrong with any of her books. I chose Confessions of a Shopaholic because it’s quintessential Sophie.

Confessions of a Shopaholic follows Becky Bloomwood- a girl with a serious love for shopping and an ironic job as a journalist for Successful Saving. Realizing she’s in over her head with debt, she decides to try to get it in order.

Between the hilarious letters Becky Bloomwood receives throughout the book, the scarily relatable purchase justifications, and the romance with Luke the books you’ll be laughing and shaking your head from cover to cover.

 

A Mile in My Flip-Flops -Melody Carlson

I read this book in one day over two sittings, so this is probably the easiest read of my choices.

Jilted by her fiancee, our main character Gretchen is in a rut fueled by Ben and Jerry’s and house-flipping shows. Realizing she needs to move on and that she has outgrown her apartment, Gretchen decides to give house-flipping a try for herself. When the house she purchases turns out to be a dud, the journey she takes turns out to be one of self discovery.

My only complaint about the book is that the ending is a bit much. Other than that, I definitely would check this book out.

 

How Far Would You Have Gotten If I Hadn’t Called You Back? – Valerie Hobbes

I read this first in High School and think it’s a great read for summer. Bron,a 16 year old, moves to a small town in California called Ojala. You’re transported into the world of the 50’s – drag races, cool kids, and (of course) cute boys.

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The Magicians – Lev Grossman

 

Am I the only one obsessed with Buzzfeed lists? I found this gem of a book on Buzzfeed’s 22 Books You Should Read Now, Based on Your Childhood Favorites. Harry Potter is life, so of course I chose to read the one recommended for Potterheads.The author article had this one spot on- if you liked Harry Potter, I think you’ll like this one.

 

It’s about a 17 year old named Quentin, who is accepted into a prestigious college for Magicians called Brakebills. The book is divided into 3 parts : Part one is his time at Brakebills, Part 2 is his time after Graduation, and Part 3 is the aftermath of a revelation that I don’t want to spoil for anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

 

What I loved the most about this book is that it does not read like the typical fantasy novel. It has some grit to it. Quentin makes huge mistakes, doubts himself, and be a huge jerk. I went back and forth on whether I liked Quentin because he does some pretty assholian things, but in the end I think he’s alright (albeit deeply flawed).

 

Recent college grads would empathize with what Quentin goes through after finishing Brakebills. He’s been studying at this incredible place, graduates, and then has no clue what to do with himself in an increasingly disappointing world. Quentin’s depression was a bit hard to read. This could just be that I was in the mood for something more uplifting at the time I was reading it, but I am glad I pushed through.

 

I strongly suggest getting a copy of The Magicians ASAP. The writing is great, characters well-developed, and it’s surprisingly realistic. There has been a sequel called The Magician King and a third book The Magican’s Land will be coming out on August 5, 2014.

 

 

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What’s on My Hold List?

Right now I just have a few books on my Hold List at the library.

 

Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight –  M.E. Thomas

* The Fault in Our Stars – John Green (This one’s going to take a while.)

* Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

 

What are you guys looking forward to reading this summer?

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