June 30, 2021

The Cuts That Cure by Arthur Herbert

 


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Alex Brantley is a surgeon who hasn’t been happy as a doctor since medical school. After a breakdown, he opts for a fresh start as a high school science teacher. This is where his path crosses with Henry Wallis, a seemingly normal high school boy on the cross country team. But Henry has been containing his sadistic tendencies. Henry finally decides to act on those tendencies, starting a chain of events that could alter not only his life, but also Alex’s, depending on the choice each character makes.




This was a suspenseful story, keeping you wondering what’s going to happen next, however, it wasn’t what I was expecting. The cover has a quote from another author stating, “A tale of intrigue and suspense, with a villain that will keep you awake. A page-turner you don’t want to miss.” Some readers may feel this way, but unfortunately I did not.


At first, when Henry’s sadistic compulsions are brought up, and you see what’s going through his head, this story seems like it’s going to be something from a Criminal Minds episode. I just expected more than one murder and expected Henry to be more ruthless than he was.


That said, I feel like if the story was solely focused on Alex, and he was the single main character, with the synopsis reflecting that, I wouldn’t have been as disappointed. I’ve read other mystery/thrillers, with a villain that actually keeps you up at night because you’re scared they’re going to get away with it and come after you. Now it is scary to think that there are people like Henry who appear completely normal on the outside but have the capacity to commit cold-blooded murder, Henry just wasn’t a terrifying killer. 


What became more intriguing and suspenseful was how Alex gets wrapped up into Henry’s crime, and must make a decision to commit a crime of his own in order to save himself and get his fresh start.


I did like the ending, and felt like it gave good closure.


Thank you to the author and Blackthorn Book Tours for a copy of this book!



*Trigger Warnings: murder, mutilation, abuse, animal cruelty, suicide





SPOILER SECTION


Probably my biggest issue was how easily Henry was caught for his murder. He only committed one murder, and had so much against him, and it wasn’t even that he made mistakes. There just so happens to be a virus on his phone that makes it look like it shuts off but it actually doesn’t, and then a kid flys a drone that just happens to fly over the murder site at the exact second that Henry’s hood falls down? Of course the author wanted Henry to get caught in order to further the story, mainly Alex’s story, but it just didn’t feel all that realistic to have that many strange coincidences. Also as I mentioned, I was surprised that Henry only committed one murder. I was expecting at least a few. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if Henry had gotten away with his first murder and committed a couple more (even though I obviously don’t want to see people die) before getting caught.


I enjoyed how things ended for Alex, though. He truly got the new life that he wanted. Marco definitely deserved something, but I don’t know about having his arms and legs amputated. I at least like that Alex starts visiting Marco, it slightly makes up for what he did. 

June 21, 2021

Keepers Of The Gate: Twilight Ends Book 1 by E. Denise Billups

 


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In 1779, a Seneca village is destroyed by Sullivan’s Expedition. Two hundred years later, the land houses Twilight Ends Bed and Breakfast, an inn that has been in the family for generations, generations who descended from those in the Seneca village. After the death of Tessa, her daughter Skylar and granddaughter Twyla take over the inn. But there’s more to Twilight Ends than meets the eye. The ghosts of people who lived on the land previously are just the beginning of the secret that Twyla discovers.




There is a slow start to this book, not really picking up until about halfway through. It’s not action packed or a thriller. Instead it more keeps you on the edge of your seat with suspense as the mysteries of Twilight Ends unfold. The author plans on making this a trilogy, so the purpose of this first book seems to be to set the stage with world-building and unraveling the mysteries that will contribute to the next adventures. It ends on a cliffhanger, with the suspense building, so I can’t wait for the next book to see what happens!


I absolutely loved the historical aspects. This book sheds some light on the past for Native Americans when America was colonized, as well as what Native Americans can still face today. This story is as much a historical fiction one as it is contemporary, as the events of the past converge with events of the present.


I love that the beginning of the book includes maps of the land that the story takes place, as well as a list of characters and their relations. There aren’t a too many characters in this story, but it does get a little confusing trying to remember everyone, especially the characters from past events.


E. Denise Billups really did her research in finding the history that serves as the backbone to her story. I also enjoyed her writing style. There’s so much detail in each sentence that I can completely picture what’s happening. The story is told in third person, with the perspective changing between main characters, letting you know what each one is experiencing.


Ultimately, I can’t wait to learn more about the past events, and see what they bring for the future.


Thank you to Blackthorn Book Tours for a copy of this book!





SPOILER SECTION


The main thing with this story is time travel! At first I thought that the characters just saw ghosts from the past and had visions of past events. But I love the concept of time travel. I would love to know more about Tessa’s adventures when she travelled back to be Jawanda. However, I’m excited to hear about the adventure that Twyla and Cristal have started on. I wonder if they’ll continue going back in time to different events, and I wonder if they’ll end up changing the course of history. 


There’s so much left open: will they stop Harrison Dox from trying to take Twilight Ends, will the past of what William Dox did repeat itself in Harrison Dox, will Twyla save Teka’s baby, and who is the baby that Garrentha gave birth to but let Mercy and Mingin raise?





QUOTES


“Your sleeping soul walks with ghosts.”


“Life’s Circular Path: Reincarnation.”


“When the right people, stars and time align, history reappears around Twilight.”


“There are two wolves inside us. One is evil, the other good. The wolf that wins is the one you feed. That’s an old Cherokee proverb. The struggle between good and evil, light and darkness, war and peace are eternal. Often, men feed the evil wolf – war.”

June 14, 2021

418: I Am A Teapot by Edgar Scott

 


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In this futuristic dystopian, menial jobs are completed by staff. Staff are people who either by choice, birth, or punishment have their brains integrated online, so their minds can participate in a virtual world with their alternate identities and lives while their bodies are controlled to perform these lowly tasks. But after a car accident, known as an exception, one staff becomes aware of what his body does while his mind is immersed in his virtual life.




I think this story really makes you stop and think about society’s use of technology and how we treat others, especially those in a lower-end job than you. The people who are “staff” can be born into it because their parents are staff, or they could be people who chose to live a life where they are fully immersed online while allowing the use of their bodies for whatever jobs are necessary, or they could be carrying out a punishment of either being a criminal or having to pay off their debt. Those that are staff do not have an identity, referred only to the identification number they are given. Their gender isn’t even recognized, they are referred to as “it”.


There are two main characters in this story: George, a staff known as 418, and Brian Agarwal, who owns a staffing company that 418 is a part of. The book is written in a mix of first person and third person. The first person is from George’s perspective, which gives insight into what he’s going through and feeling as he becomes aware of his situation as a staff and what he wants to do about it. The third person is mostly from the perspective of Brian, to show what he experiences, especially with regards to 418, while also giving others’ perspectives, like insurance agents handling 418’s case. 


I especially loved the first person of George’s perspective. Once he becomes aware, his mind isn’t online in the virtual world while his body is controlled for work. This really enhances how someone doing this type of job may feel, and how they are treated by customers, but how they can’t do anything about it. George has a lot of feelings about his situation and things he wishes he could say to customers, but his body and his speech is controlled by what he’s programmed to do so that the customer is happy.


It’s scary to think that some people would choose the life of the staff. Brian even fears that his son will choose that life with how much he enjoys his virtual games. But it’s really not that far fetched of an issue. Just to see how far technology has already come, and how so many people rely on it and can’t give it up.


I just wish there was a bit more detail and world-building for the world that this story takes place in. We get a taste of it with things that the characters experience, but I would have enjoyed more background. For instance, how do staff reproduce? Their interactions with other staff are solely online in the virtual world, and they can get married and have children in their virtual world, which then corresponds to a birth in the real world, a child born into the life of a staff. However, it’s never explained where these people born into the life come from.


I thoroughly enjoyed the relationship formed between George and Brian, and how they each helped the other come to a realization about their life. 



Thank you to the author and Bookstagrammers.com for a copy of this book!


You can purchase the book here:

418: I Am A Teapot on Amazon





SPOILER SECTION


One thing that bothered me was when Brian got in trouble for not paying off a loan that he supposedly took out, I don’t know if Brian wasn’t thinking, or what, but we know that there are bank accounts in this world, so there should be a record of deposits Brian has had. Therefore, he should have brought in his bank statements to show that he never received the loan money if he didn’t actually authorize it. However, I think the author was just trying to make a point of how unfair the system could be, so even if Brian brought in bank statements, that might not have changed anything. This also shows what some people may resort to in order to get money, to keep his family from becoming staff, Brian has to sell a kidney.


I’m also a little confused on how George was able to get free from retirement. But I’m guessing it was something like with Sirius Black in Harry Potter. Sirius was able to escape from Azkaban Prison by transforming into his dog form, then the dementors didn’t detect him, so he was able to slip right past him. I think similarly, since George’s implant was turned off, and he stopped using the feed bags, with whatever drugs were in it, he basically wasn’t staff anymore. He wasn’t reacting the way staff usually act when sent to retirement. He really stopped acting like a staff after his exception. Therefore, the staff who were guards didn’t recognize George as a staff, and didn’t try to stop him as he walked out.





QUOTES


“This isn’t life, this is existence.”


“Nothing disguises lies better than the truth.”


“No one can make you accept a fate that you didn’t choose.”

The Shadows by Alex North

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Two teenagers committed a murder, then went to sleep, believing they’d disappear. One of them did. Now, 25 years later...