Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Screw God and the UniverseFrom Goodreads: A comedic, violent, and surreal interpretation of the afterlife. The story is an epic battle between the Devil, God, and a Dentist. The Devil wants to destroy the universe and himself because he is bored with living. Nothing in this story makes any sense but in a good way.

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I can’t help but think the title of this novel needs another comma. I feel it should read: Screw, God, and the Universe. And I feel this way because Screw is a person, Satan, in fact, so the title shouldn’t be taken as a mantra to “screw God and the Universe,” which is what I feel like it’s sort of trying to say, except for that pesky comma hanging out there… but grammar aside, I have to say that I really didn’t care for this one at all.

It starts off with God creating the universe, and mainly, earth, due to a drunken bet. And while I know this is just a story, it’s a bit offensive, but sort of slapstick at the same time, so I continued on. The novel then focuses on a man who is about to commit suicide, and shows him traversing the halls of a unknown place, only to end up in a room with a whole bunch of naked writhing, degenerate people doing horrible, disgusting things. At this point, I had no idea what was really happening, but continued on; I try to give novels the benefit of the doubt.

As it turns out, this entire novel is somewhat thrown together, jumping between heaven, hell, and earth, focusing on Screw and his mantra of hurt. It’s grotesque and fairly hard to follow, in my opinion, and I had a really hard time gaining a sense of purpose for the story as a whole. In retrospect, I think it’s supposed to be a kind of comical look at the world and people’s beliefs, but it’s so strange and out there that it fell flat for me. One star. 1-star1

I received this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Kindle | Nook



37781From Goodreads: Things Fall Apart tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society.

The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo’s world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. Things Fall Apart is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within.

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I really didn’t like this novel when I was in high school.  But as an adult, I have found that my understanding of the “classics” and my enjoyment of many of them has indeed changed drastically.  Books I hated as a teen are now interesting and hold meaning for me, because I finally get them.  But, this is not the case with Things Fall Apart.  I disliked it as a teen, and I still dislike it now, mainly because it’s written in a way that just doesn’t appeal to me.

While I understand the purpose of this novel—why it’s important and why it’s taught in high school—the execution of the story itself grates my nerves. It’s extremely choppy and to the point, telling the reader in clipped sentences instead of showing the reader through imagery and interesting details.   And though it’s a fairly short novel, the narrative style of the text makes it seem extremely long, and it just didn’t hold my attention.

As events unfold, readers are told what’s happening as if we’re a bird looking in–we aren’t a part of the story, and events jump from one to another so quickly that little import is given to each scene.  And, there is little description to pull me into the story or to make me connect with the characters; instead we’re just told how Okonkwo feels, what he does, and the retaliating actions of the tribe. It is unfortunate, but I have no sympathy for Okonkwo because he is an awful man, beating everyone and refusing, even under the guidance of his tribe, to let things go.  While trying to be the epitome of what he deems a “man” is supposed to be, Okonkwo misses the mark tenfold through his lack of compassion, and even his people see him as wanting in this aspect because he cannot, and will not, change.  It leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, and though I understand the message, I personally don’t like this book in the least. One star.

1-star1

I borrowed this book from the school library.



17407237From Goodreads: The secret of having an adventure is getting lost. Who ever visited an enchanted kingdom or fell into a fairy tale without wandering into the woods first?

Well, Mary is lost. Mary is lost in the story of Little Red Riding Hood, and that is a cruel and murderous story. She’s put on the red hood and met the Wolf. When she gives in to her Wolf’s temptations, she will die. That’s how the story goes, after all.

Unfortunately for the story and unfortunately for the Wolf, this Little Red Riding Hood is Mary Stuart, and she is the most stubborn and contrary twelve year old the world has ever known.

Forget the Wolf’s temptations, forget the advice of the talking rat trying to save her – she will kick her way through every myth and fairy tale ever told until she finds a way to get out of this alive. Her own way, and no one else’s.

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I’m sorry to say that this novel just isn’t for me. I originally wanted to read it because I usually enjoy revamped fairy tales, but Mary completely turned me off from this story. I was expecting a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with a contrary heroine, which in my mind meant more assertive a deviating from the meek path of Red in the traditional stories. But in this story, contrary actually stands for vile, obnoxious, cussing, kicking, punching, and vulgar interactions that don’t really sit well with me, especially as our “heroine” is just 12 years old. From the very beginning, with her blatant disrespect of her mother, I had an inkling I wasn’t going to enjoy the story on a personal level, and when Mary began cussing at everyone and everything, it was basically over for me. Now, Mary does have a few redeeming qualities in that she really does care about people, but she’s hard pressed to show it, and she’d rather kick someone in their private areas first and ask questions later. Honestly, I think this was more of a “shock the reader” type of story where crazy situations evolve and Mary responds vulgarly to them. Which, truthfully, isn’t my type of story.  One star.

1-star1

I originally requested this novel from Netgalley, but as a Kindle version was not available, I purchased it from Amazon, instead.



{September 3, 2013}   {Review} The Seed by Fola

12204117From Goodreads: Throughout our lives, many things may lead us to forget who we truly are. Result? Slowly yet inevitably, cages and chains enslave our thoughts and slay our freedoms.

Down the ages, men have thus fallen for hosts of illusions, confusions and fears – except for the seven dreamers whose stories this book contains. These mad truth-seekers (who oddly share the same name) did not follow others’ flow to slavery; rather, they heeded a voice in their heads that led them to obsession with an idea long thought extinct, buried beneath the sands of time: The Seed.

In this book you will take a rollicking metaphysical ride that starts in ancient Egypt, moves to the Grand Greek Era, then to Rome, Arab Alexandria, on piratic High Seas, to Switzerland and circuses, into a Christian era interlude, then to modern Egypt (2007) and lastly, to a sort of Garden of Visionary Epiphany that leaves you on and past the brink of enlightenment…

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Unfortunately, this book is not for me. It is highly philosophical and scientific, and my brain just isn’t wired that way. All the characters are one person who lives across the centuries, morphing into different beings, be they male or female, young or old.  The tale begins in Ancient Egypt, and this is where I was lost almost immediately.  It begins with the main character, who is obsessed with numbers and inventions, launching into a diatribe about how his life changed when he began writing on walls due to his epiphany over the number two and was then thrown into the mad house for acting crazy (which he was). It’s told in a very choppy format with constant references to numbers and riddles, and it was all beyond me.   The main character’s narrative jumps from him being in the palace to being thrown into the Nile, living in the madhouse, being set free, drinking with the gods, and well… I just couldn’t keep up with he narrator’s cut and dry tone and constant changing of scenery.  I had no idea what point he was really trying to get across because of his constant changing of topic and referencing of numbers, truth be told.

When the main character becomes a young girl living in the middle east, the flow changed and the story became much easier to understand, but as her marriage barter comes and she finds out she’s being wedded to a gay man only because her teacher is blackmailing him and wants to sleep with her, well… that turned me off. And suddenly, she’s on a rock, or maybe a cliff, I’m not sure because this is where the text became full of more riddles and philosophy, and she becomes a pirate, shifting into another character all together.

The stories do become easier to read as the main character progresses further into the present, but some of the stories really turned me off, such as trial over sex and murder. That episode just wasn’t for me and I couldn’t stomach it. In my opinion, it was unneeded to further along the plot, more for shock value than philosophical engagement, but then again, as I’m not a philosophical thinker by any means (I nearly failed that class in college; seriously), it is possible that I just don’t understand what the author, Fola, is doing in this scene, or the many others.  Truthfully, I didn’t understand this novel, which made it impossible for me to enjoy, but I do think that those who like a philosophical debate and deciphering riddles, ones who like to chew over the materials in their novels, will really enjoy this novel.  I, personally, can only give it one star, though.

1-star1

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.



12483465From Goodreads: Once upon a time there was a US President who thought he was wise and could stomp out terrorism. Only the ‘terrorists’ did not quite agree with him. Soon paranoia ran rampant among every nation on this earth until all started annihilating one another.

Out of the ashes, mythology tells us the phoenix is supposed to rise. However, it was not the phoenix that arose, it was a new power amongst the people who survived. It was a Rising Power!

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I’m sorry to say that this novel just isn’t for me.  The premise is intriguing, especially with it’s look at what would happen to the world should the very real threat of terrorism and WWIII arise alongside the use of nuclear weapons, but the execution of this story was very difficult for me to follow as a reader.  It begins with very long, dense description of the world in its current state, after extreme war, but the writing is extremely formal and I found it read more like an essay than an actual story, which was a bit jarring.  However, the next two chapters were much more reader friendly, focusing on the lives of Amanda and Sarah Richardson, two young women living a simplistic life with their family in what’s left of devastated America.  It’s a much easier story to follow, and it piqued my interest, but all too soon, I was whisked away to another long, dense chapter filled with pages upon pages of description of the 99th Division Convoy, breaking down every single wagon and troop, with its trailers and container units, which, for someone like me, isn’t appealing at all.  The novel follows this format pretty much throughout the rest of its pages, jumping from story to story, character to character, and interspersing rather long descriptions of inanimate objects and such throughout.  This style made it a very difficult read for me because I wasn’t able to connect with any characters since there was so many and I felt not enough time was given to any one scene or chapter.  Likewise, I found the dialogue shifted quite often between formal, informal, and even archaic wording, following no one specific pattern, which further made it difficult for me to connect with characters as many of the interactions seemed unreal and forced.

Overall, the constant jump from new character to new descriptor really made this novel difficult for me to read, especially as there are so many different mini plots and characters to keep track of, such as Field Marshal Drey, Amanda and Sarah Richardson, their father, Mike Howard, King Jeffrey, Henry, General Humpries, Samuel O’Flynn, and the list goes on and on.  The novel itself is also extremely long and I personally think it wouldn’t hurt to be pared down a bit with a professional edit, removing some of the vast descriptions and stabilizing the dialogue to make it flow, focusing on less characters and moving the plot along.  One star.

1 starI received this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



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