Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

18459932From Goodreads: Eighteen year old Myla Lewis is a girl who loves two things: kicking ass and kicking ass. She’s not your every day quasi-demon, half-demon and half-human, girl. For the past five years, Myla has lived for the days she gets to fight in Purgatory’s arena. When souls want a trial by combat for their right to enter heaven or hell, they go up against her, and she hasn’t lost a battle yet.

But as she starts her senior year at Purgatory High, the arena fights aren’t enough to keep her spirits up anymore. When the demons start to act weird, even for demons, and the King of the Demons, Armageddon, shows up at Myla’s school, she knows that things are changing and it’s not looking good for the quasi-demons. Myla starts to question everything, and doesn’t like the answers she finds. What happened seventeen years ago that turned the quasi-demons into slave labor? Why was her mom always so sad? And why won’t anyone tell her who her father is? Things heat up when Myla meets Lincoln, the High Prince of the Thrax, a super sexy half-human and half-angel demon hunter. But what’s a quasi-demon girl to do when she falls for a demon hunter? It’s a good thing that Myla’s not afraid of breaking a few rules. With a love worth fighting for, Myla’s going to shake up Purgatory.


I am so sorry to say that, while this novel started off interesting enough, it soon lost its luster, and at 535 pages, my lack of interest made this difficult to finish.  In my opinion, it was just too long, and not enough happened to hold my attention.  Instead, much of the text was repetitive, with Myla either fighting, lamenting about her life, or trying to find the truth.  Due to the repetitive nature of the text, in my opinion it could actually be paired down quite a bit, making the novel a much more manageable size at about 250-300 pages, and including only the most important, fast paced action.  I lost count the number of times Myla’s sickness during warp or the way the sand fell away to actual images during dreamscapes was referenced in the text, but I do know it was a lot, and this repetition of play-by-play, along with repetition of certain scenarios, took its toll after a while. As the novel stands now, there is just too much down time, in my opinion, and its choppy nature left me with many more questions than answers.  And at 535 page, I feel like I should have all the answers.

Myla is a great fighter with a huge chip on her shoulder, and to be honest, she didn’t impress me.  I got the feeling that the author really wanted to create a kick butt heroine who didn’t need anyone, someone who could take care of herself, but in truth, Myla just rubbed me the wrong way.  She’s rude to those around her, is obsessed with fighting, doesn’t listen to anyone, and was a bit comical in her relations to those around her, especially with her incessant fist pumps every time something made her happy.  Her best friend, one full of envy thanks to her demon half, was a complete jerk, and yet Myla repeatedly took the blame for their fights, which in my opinion, undermines her kick butt status because it’s plain to see her BFF is rude and using her, and I didn’t like either of the characters by the end.

Likewise, the insta-love relationship between Myla and Lincoln didn’t pan out in my mind.  To go from hating each other so passionately to being undoubtedly in love, well… that just didn’t work for me.  I think it had potential, but the execution of it all didn’t fit, which is unfortunate.

Myla’s mother’s story also had the potential to be enthralling, but it took so long to come out, chopped up in bits and pieces, that I lost interest before all was said and done. The dreamscape was a great idea, but as it was extremely repetitive in nature and went unexplained much of the time, I found it fell a bit flat.

Overall, I found that I wanted a faster pace, less repetition, a better scene flow with less plot holes, realistic characterization, and a shorter text.  So, while this novel had much potential and I really wanted to like it, it fell a bit flat for me.  Two and a half stars.

2.5 stars

INscribe Digital and Ink Monster LLC have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on December 17, 2013.

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16160797From Goodreads: A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide.

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, thelegendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.


As I was reading this novel, I couldn’t help but think of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  In my mind, Cormoran Strike is Eddie Valiant (i.e. Bob Hoskins), living in his office, drinking his life away, and not doing very much of anything.  But here’s the thing: I didn’t like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and I didn’t care for The Cuckoo’s Calling much, either.  For one thing, the novel is extremely long (500 pages long), and not much happened to keep my interest.

Strike has no money and no place to live, so he’s staying at his office. He hires a temp secretary who really likes the job and decides stays a while, even though she might not get paid much (this is a side story that, in my mind, really had nothing to do with anything). A model throws herself from her balcony, and her brother hires Strike to investigate. What ensues is an investigation that is long, long, long, without much of anything happening. Strike interviews many people—some who are suspects, and some who aren’t—but no one seems to know what really happened, and the police want to close the case. Yep. That’s about it.

I just wasn’t interested throughout much of the novel, which is a shame because I absolutely adored the Harry Potter Series.  However, this adult fiction novel just didn’t do anything for me.  I didn’t care about any of the characters, especially the model who died; her hang-ups and “whoa is me” attitude about being adopted actually put a very bad taste in my mouth, mainly because I’m adopted and I’m so tired of people making adoption out to be such a terrible thing.  It’s not, yet books and movies continue to depict it as a crushing “event” that will ruin the child’s psyche and make him/her dysfunctional in the world, and I have to disagree.  Adoption doesn’t do that.  Bad parenting does, as is evidenced by her crazy adoptive parents.  Where was the screening process here?

But, I will hold my rant.  All in all, this novel just wasn’t all that interesting.  But neither was Who Framed Roger Rabbit… so, different strokes for different folks.  I’m thinking that if you enjoyed that movie, you may like this novel; it’s just not for me. Two stars.

2 stars

I borrowed this novel from the library.

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