Book Review: The War Blog by Glen Sobey

Title: The War Blog
Author: Glen Sobey
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Release Date: December 27, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆

Crystal Rose, a 17-year-old high school junior, and her younger brother were abandoned by their drug-addicted mother fifteen years ago in an Alaskan Native village, an event which Crystal resented for years. However, when she learns that her mother was raped in high school, Crystal declares war against a society which reduces girls to their looks, forcing them to feel worthless without the approval of guys.

While living in a small Alaskan town, she starts The War Blog website, along with her best friend and crush Kato—a brilliant Native boy—attacking everything promoting female objectification and offering ways to fight back, all supplemented by her original songs. Crystal rises from nothing in the wilds of Alaska to become a champion for change, risking her life against men who would force her to keep silent. She faces her parents’ abusive past and fights for a better world.

If there is one thing I can’t stand, it is a social justice warrior. Most of the ones I’ve run across never go farther than retweeting, reblogging, sharing and arguing with people who don’t share their world view, all while using hashtags like #staywoke or #justicefor(insert name here). I can’t stand them because they don’t get away from the keyboard and screen to do anything to affect change. But the social justice warriors in The War Blog by Glen Sobey aren’t like that.

Kato doesn’t just blog about Native problems in Alaska, he speaks to classes about them. He tries to make his people see that they need to make changes.

Crystal also makes it a point to affect change. Yes she has her blog and her songs. But she also comes up with ways to help make changes. She tells the stories that need to be told and tries to find ways to make the changes necessary. She suggests actual changes, in person, to the people instead of just blogging, reblogging, tweeting, etc..

The War Blog is an anti-rape culture and feminist blog. To be honest, rape culture is directly related to how men view women as less than equals. Crystal’s blog speaks out against rape culture. She speaks out against keeping silent, against letting the men who commit rape and abuse toward women get away with it.

The book is full of surprising twists that almost overshadow the social justice issues that Kato and Crystal’s blogs are meant to talk about. Even more surprising is that the book was written by a man. You just wouldn’t think that a male author would think of these things, being that the blame for rape culture is almost exclusively placed on men. Perhaps this was the author’s way of saying “Hey we aren’t all like that.”

You will grow to love most of the characters. You will want to hug Crystal, JD, Kato, etc.. You will want to punch Eugene/Steve, Dylan, etc..

This book gets 4 out of 5 stars. I loved the book, but a couple of “bit part” characters had story lines that were left hanging. I’d also love to see a sequel to this book, just to see how things are going in the future.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Book Review: Cutter Boy by Cristy Watson

Title: Cutter Boy
Series: Sidestreets
Author: Cristy Watson
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Lorimer
Release Date: February 12, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆

Bullied at school and ignored at home, Travis has a secret: cutting himself with a razor blade is the only thing that lets him control the pain in his life and find some peace. When he becomes friends with Chyvonne, a new girl at school, he doesn’t know how to get close to her without revealing his secret and making himself even more vulnerable. Spending time with Chyvonne spurs Travis to try to discover why his mother can’t seem to face his very existence. It’s only when he learns about the art form of paper cutting that he realizes there might be other ways to make himself feel adrenalin-fueled and in control.

Although self-harm through cutting is a problem usually associated with teenage girls, many young men are involved in different sorts of self-injury. This story explores a teenager’s motivations for cutting and the options for overcoming the need to self-injure.

Cutter Boy by Cristy Watson should probably come with a trigger warning. The book deals with bullying, feelings of being ignored or unloved, and with cutting. The story is not necessarily a good read for someone who is triggered by any of these things.

A teen boy cuts himself to feel better – to release angst or pain related to being bullied, being ignored by his parents, or anything else that makes him feel bad. Then a new girl moves into town who seems to like him. Between this new girl and a substitute teacher who shows him incredible art made from cut paper, he starts to wonder if there’s a better way.

This book, as I said, should come with a trigger warning. While none of the subject matter of this book is triggering for me, I know plenty of teens who would be triggered by this book. Some might be triggered to relapse into cutting again. Others might take courage that perhaps there might actually be a better way to deal with their daily struggles. Teens who have issues with bullying or cutting should probably be supervised by a parent or trusted friend while reading the book to ensure the subject matter doesn’t cause issues for them.

This book is well written and honestly, seems to be rather realistic in some aspects. It is possible that the depictions of bullying, cutting, etc., may not be accurate. I do not have personal knowledge in these areas, so I cannot be certain that it is accurate but it at least seems realistic to me. The characters are wonderful and everything that Travis feels makes so much sense when certain facts are finally revealed.

I gave this one 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend this book to those struggling with cutting for the simple fact that this book can show them there is a better way and that they might find that if they look hard enough or hold on long enough that there is a better way to handle their problems.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Book Review: The Bomb Maker’s Daughter by Thomas Ryan

Title: The Bomb Maker’s Daughter Series: Jeff Bradley
Author: Thomas Ryan
Genre: Suspense
Publisher: Far and Wide Publishing Release Date: July 7, 2018
Format: Kindle
Pages: 399
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆

Saddam Hussein’s missing weapons of mass destruction have been found.

They are in the hands of an international terrorist group.

But which group and where have they stored the gases and toxic waste? And what are their plans for the deadly cargo? An eleven-year-old Filipino girl, Arina Marcos knows the secret. She narrowly escapes assassins sent to kill her and family. And now she is on the run. Hit squads sent to track her down chase her across Asia.

Ex Special-Forces soldier Jeff Bradley and CIA agent Kennedy Patton must protect Arina as she leads them in search of Saddam’s weapons. The trail leads to underground laboratories and a mass grave in the Philippines. Tensions heighten when the US Air craft Carrier Independence II is brought into the conflict.

Then Bradley discovers the deadly truth and the race is on. He and Kennedy Patton must find the terrorists and the ship carrying the lethal cargo. If they fail the cities of Europe will burn and thousands will die.

I love a good thriller and let me tell you, The Bomb Maker’s Daughter by Thomas Ryan was an excellent one.

A pre-teen girl is being sought by men who want to use her for nefarious purposes. A man she doesn’t know becomes dedicated to saving her and her family. Add a possibly budding romance with a CIA agent and you have a damn good book.

The constant danger, wondering who is behind it all, and why they want Arina – an eleven-year-old girl – makes this an edge-of-your-seat thriller. You won’t want to put it down. I know I didn’t.

This book is well written and has interesting and likeable characters, excluding the villains of course. I might just worry about you, dear reader, if you happen to like the villains. Just saying. The action scenes keep you on your toes and it’s very hard to put down. You just have to know what happens next.

I gave this one 4 out of 5 stars. I definitely recommend this book for action and thriller fans, or anyone looking to check these genres out.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Book Review: Deadly News by Jody Holford

Title: Deadly News
Series: Britton Bay
Author: Jody Holford
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Release Date: October 30, 2018
Format: Kindle
Pages: 239
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★★

Former Army brat Molly Owens is ready to put down roots, and the picturesque seaside town of Britton Bay on the Oregon Coast seems like the perfect place for it. Especially when she lands a job as editor of the local paper. But she’s got one colleague who’s very bad news . . .

As an experienced journalist, Molly is eager to bring the struggling Britton Bay Bulletin up to speed. But when she pushes Vernon, one of her less welcoming reporters, to dig a little deeper into the story of a prominent local family, the man ends up dead. The fact that he wasn’t well-liked makes finding the killer extra complicated. The lists of suspects range from his ex-wife to his own son to Molly’s boss, who has a secret of his own. But when Molly’s attempts to sleuth out the truth result in her receiving frightening threats, the trouble is just beginning . . .

The one bright spot is Molly’s newfound flirtation with Sam Alderich. The sexy mechanic is used to taking things apart and piecing them back together, and between the two of them they just might be able to solve this deadly puzzle—if Molly can survive peaceful small-town life long enough . . .

Cozy mysteries are a relatively new found love of mine. Deadly News by Jody Holford fits the bill perfectly.

A murder in a sleepy Oregon town and a complete mystery, with twists that aren’t telegraphed six chapters before they happen, are what you’ll find with this book. Quaint touches, such as referring to a Coke or Pepsi as a cola, are found throughout the book.

The hint of danger that pervades the book and the sleepy little town, despite it being your typical small town, keep you on you toes and the edge of your seat. The budding romance between Molly and Sam – which was telegraphed immediately – is sweet but not overly sweet. The book is also not steamy, which is nice as well.

The book is quite well written and can be read in a single night if the reader is of a mind to do so. It’s a fast paced book and will have you wanting to keep reading more. I that my Kindle App said it was about 3.5 hours to read the whole book, although that’s at my reading speed. Your results may vary.

I gave this one 5 out of 5 stars. I definitely recommend this book for cozy mystery lovers or anyone looking to get started in the cozy mystery genre.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Book Review: Seven at Two Past Five by Tara Basi

Title: Seven at Two Past Five
Author: Tara Basi
Release Date: November 30, 2017 Format: Kindle
Pages: 197
Source: OnlineBookClub.Org
Rating: ★★★★☆

In the course of a single day, Abi is forced to battle through an absurdist, malevolent and Kafkaesque Justice system to fight her case and, ultimately, rediscover her true name and her lost faith.

Abi is being unjustly judged, at least in her opinion. Others are not so sure that her judgement isn’t well earned. Upon setting out to appeal her unjust judgements, Abi is drawn into a whirlwind of jumping through hoops to get her appeal approved. She receives ever more judgements and meets some interesting and, dare I say it, obnoxious, characters along the way. She has to finish her appeal all in one day and each new requirement is more bizarre and frustrating than the last.

Have you ever read a book that you just had to know what was going to happen next, had to know how it ended, but at the same time wondered what the hell am I reading? Perhaps you’ve read a book all the way through and while you thought it was a great book, you also wondered what on earth you just read. That is what Seven at Two Past Five by Tara Basi is like. I literally couldn’t stop reading this book and when I had to, I kept wondering what I would find when I got back to it.

Abi is an interesting character. I felt so bad for her the entire time I was reading this book. She clearly didn’t deserve this treatment, yet she and Zero seemed to be the only ones who actually felt that way. Her insistence that she is Abi, an elderly button-maker, no more and no less became heartbreaking at times. I just had to know what was going to happen to her. Was she going to face punishment for her judgements? Was she going to be exonerated? I had to keep reading.

Seven at Two Past Five reminds me a lot of dystopian novels like The Handmaid’s Tale but with an even more bizarre twist. Where The Handmaid’s Tale is more of what religion has done to society, Seven at Two Past Five is more about what society can do to religion. When you come down to the end of the book, you start to understand more about Abi and why she would insist on being just Abi the button-maker.

This novel is wonderfully written. The editing was clean and if it wasn’t perfect, it was perfect enough that I never noticed any errors. That’s saying something because I almost always notice spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors when reading books. It’s one of my pet peeves. So when I read a book and I don’t notice any errors, that’s saying something. The character development is wonderful and while you might not see it at first, you definitely figure out what makes each character who they are later. There might be one or two characters who could have been a bit more developed but it isn’t enough to detract from the story.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars because of the weird factor. I will be honest, if you’re religious (especially Christian denominations) or if you take your religion very seriously, I don’t suggest you read this book as you may find that it is offensive to you. If you’re into bizarre, dystopian-type books and aren’t easily offended in religion, I definitely suggest reading this book.

I received a copy of this book free from in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Book Review: Perfect Prophet by Diane M. Johnson

Title: Perfect Prophet
Author: Diane M. Johnson
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: BookBaby
Release Date: September 03, 2018
Format: Kindle
Pages: 332
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆

When atheistic death-metal guitarist Alec is shot on stage by a Satanic fan, his miraculous recovery inspires a change in his beliefs about God. But when he returns to his hometown to make amends with his family, he discovers that his strictly religious and abusive father has dark secrets that involve Alec and his role in a local Satanic cult.

Perfect Prophet is a dark, supernatural thriller where normal people who question the existence of God must choose what roles they will play in a battle over an unlikely savior’s soul.

What do you do when you don’t believe in God but you find yourself possessed of an ability that can only be a gift from God? What happens when your father is also a religious zealot who literally wrote prophecies about you – prophecies that have a Satanic cult after you? That’s what Alec Lowell is about to find out.

This book was very well written. It had a lot of action, a lot of suspense, and included a plot twist that I never saw coming. Diane M. Johnson has crafted a tale of Satanic cult zeal and atheism that sparks an edge of your seat novel.

The characters are well developed and they “show their hand” when they need to. For instance, you don’t find out much about Mark until you really need to know about him, then you’re surprised because he’s more than you thought he was. Lucas definitely isn’t who you thought he was the entire time.

Those who like books with a slant on religion will enjoy this book, as well as those who are looking for a good suspenseful book. I think those of us who are metalheads will also enjoy the book because of the musical beginnings of the book.

There is just one thing I wish I had – a story of Lucas’s life after the end of this book.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Book Review: The Rain by E. C. Fisher

Title: The Rain
Author: E. C. Fisher
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller Publisher: BooksGoSocial
Release Date: August 11, 2018
Format: Kindle
Pages: 79
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆

A storm is raging. That’s merely one of Detective Daniel Nash’s troubles, Charlie Hamilton, the resident drunk and proprietor of Camp High Tide has mysteriously perished. After combing through old files, he learns that thirty years ago a young boy went missing. His body never discovered. He requests an interview with the five campers who were interrogated during that time.

The bodies of the suspects start piling up. Each death is similar and equally horrifying. Detective Nash must locate the suspects before the culprit has a chance to finish them off.

I’ll admit, this book seems awfully familiar. Probably because the beginning seems like a slightly revamped version of Friday the 13th. And honestly, that’s what this book is. It’s a revamped version of Friday the 13th, where the real culprits are the ones who get theirs instead of innocent kids who happened to be reopening the camp or near the lake.

Kids will be kids and bullies abound even at summer camp. Poor Timmy Waters suffers the same fate as Jason Voorhees, only Timmy dies as the result of a prank, not lifeguards and counselors not paying attention. But Timmy isn’t about to let his bullies get away with killing him. The tale is interesting and kept me on the edge of my seat. I wouldn’t be opposed to reading more of E. C. Fisher’s books if they’re all like The Rain.

Trust me, you won’t be disappointed with this book at all, if you like horror.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.