Book Review–Alice


I love retellings so much, especially when the author manages to keep the integrity of the original story but also really add a spin to the story and that’s exactly what Christina Henry does with this reimagining of Alice in Wonderland.

This book starts off introducing us to Alice, a young woman who’s in a mental hospital but can’t remember what led her to being there.  In fact, all she can really remember is a tea party, abnormally long ears, and a man named the Rabbit.  We’re also introduced to Hatcher, a man who can’t remember who he is but who also committed many murders, and who claims there’s a creature named the Jabberwock, a horrible, evil creature capable of mass destruction.  Alice and Hatcher’s rooms are next to one another and although a wall separates the two, there’s a small mouse hole that the two have talked through to become friends and they’ve begun to rely on one another.  Which comes in handy when the building somehow catches on fire and is burning down quickly.  Hatcher manages to escape his room and saves Alice from hers and the two run off into the Old City.  A city full of twists and turns, evil, pain, and many dangers for the two.  Although Hatcher can’t remember his past, his memory somehow leads them to his grandmother’s house, who tells them that they need to face the Jabberwock and destroy it and so the two set off on a journey to do just that.  A journey that leads them to a man named Cheshire, a man named the Caterpillar, a man named the Walrus, a man named the Rabbit, and finally the Jabberwock.

This is such a cool retelling.  So first of all we’ll start with the setting.  The story is told from the Old City, but the world, as far as we see at least, is divided between the Old City and the New City.  The New City is where Alice grew up.  It’s an area of luxury, especially in comparison to the Old City, which is full of gangs, blood, death, and devastation.  The Old City is poor and run down and largely run by gangs, the biggest of which are led by Cheshire, Caterpillar, Walrus, and the Rabbit.  The Cheshire deals in secrets, he earns his power by knowing everything about everyone.  The other three deal in women.  The Caterpillar is particularly cruel, not only does he deal in women, owning a sex club, but he also keeps special “exotic women”, who fetch a much higher price to use.  One of these women is a mermaid, the other is a woman who Caterpillar had cosmetically changed to have butterfly wings.  The Walrus is also particularly evil, in that he eats his women as he is using their bodies.  While the Rabbit just takes what he wants.  This particular aspect of the story is truly deranged.  There are a lot of adult themes in this book, but the sexual assault and rape in this story is certainly the most severe and hard to read.  In this story all of these characters are men, however, instead of creatures, but they are truly evil monsters, with the exception of maybe Cheshire, who is not all that innocent, but certainly better then the others.

But the magic isn’t fully gone from the story as there are still characters who are known as Magicians, which just basically means that they have some sort of magic residing in them that they can use to do as they please.  The system of magic is actually pretty neat throughout this story.  I don’t want to say too much regarding it because I don’t want to spoil things, but it’s actually really interesting.

Alice is actually a surprisingly weak character for  much of the story.  But as the story continues on and on, she grows stronger and comes into her own and she begins to remember and reveal her past, which is actually quite sad.  You find out how she actually was found by the Rabbit, what his intentions were with her, what he did to her, and what almost became of her.  This is not the happy yet crazy tale that we’ve come to think of Alice in Wonderland as but a completely different and unique take on the story that is full of very adult level themes, of which include murder, rape, kidnapping, sex trafficking, and more.

Posted in Book Review, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Subscription Box Unboxing–ComicBlock

The time has come.  Another subscription box.  YAY!!  I know I have said it before but I seriously love subscription boxes.  This one is Comic Block which is a box run by the company Nerd Block.  If you’re not familiar with Nerd Block, they actually have several different subscription options that you can get.  They have the Nerd Block Classic (which tends to be an assortment of nerdy things), Arcade Block (a box dedicated to video games, especially of the classic variety), Horror Block (where you get all things horror, a personal favorite of mine), Sci-Fi Block (a sci-fi themed box), Comic Block (a comic themed block), and Nerd Block Jr. for boys and Nerd Block Jr. for Girls (girl and boy themed boxes with nerdy toys).  I have received many of these boxes before and have liked them quite a lot, but I will say the themes can be hit or miss.  I have definitely seen box themes before where I’m like oh my god I need to have this, and other months where I’m like yeah no thanks.  But that’s what’s nice about the company is they give you teasers each month of what’s to come in the boxes, and you can choose to pause the service for the month if there’s nothing that you want.  Or another nice option that they offer is say you’re subscribed to Arcade Block normally but there’s nothing in the coming month that you are excited for, but the Nerd Block Classic has a bunch of stuff you’re really into, you can actually switch to the Nerd Block Classic for that month so you’ll get that box instead.  The boxes are all $19.99 a month (except for the junior boxes which are $13.99 a month), plus shipping and handling, plus if you need a larger shirt, they do offer 2x, 3x, and 4x but charge extra for those.  The company is located in Canada so the shipping is a little high and the boxes normally come out to around $31-$33, I believe.  There are other subscription options, you can do a three month, six month, or twelve month subscription, so the price per box ends up being a little less.  This is pretty comparable to a lot of geeky subscription services out there, however, one of their bigger competitors, Loot Crate, is actually quite a bit cheaper.  It’s actually $19.99, which includes the shipping and handling, for one month of Loot Crate, so just food for thought there.  I have never actually purchased Loot Crate before but am definitely planning to next.

Anyway onto my May 2016 Comic Block 🙂

So when the box first comes to you in the mail this is what it looks like:


So it does have it’s logo all over it.  It also says that it begins to mutate, because Comic Block, a few months ago, was actually revamped.  It used to be $13.99 and it came with 3-4 comics, a shirt, and I believe one small item; now it is $19.99, comes with a couple items, a shirt, and comics.


Again they kind of elude to this when you pull open the flat.

So once you open up the box, this is what you see:


All of these subscriptions do come with a T-shirt and then again a couple fun items and a couple comic books.  The first item that we get here is:


Avengers: Age of Ultron mini Wacky Wobblers set of Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Thor.  So this is a really neat set.  I am a Funko collector so I do appreciate Funko items, but I do think that they could have done something from Captain America: Civil War instead.  The movie just recently came out and I think it would have been more neat to have a newer set then something from Age of Ultron which is now over a year old.  I still really like this set, but I definitely would have like to have seen something a little newer.

Here are what the figures look like out of the box:

So these figures are actually pretty detailed and very cute, they are also extra bobble head like.  Again I do really like these, just would have been cooler to have a Civil War set or something.

The next item is another Funko item:


It is a Batman Series One Penguin Dorbz.  I’m honestly not a huge lover of Dorbz or DC for that matter, but I do like Batman’s villains, so I do think this figure is really cute.  My complaint with this is that I wish it would have been an exclusive.  Dorbz are so easy to come by and they are so frequently on sale that it definitely would have been more cool to get an exclusive harder to find one.

Now onto the comics:


The first comic that we have here is of The Punisher and it is a Comic Block exclusive Variant Cover, which is pretty awesome.  I do really like this cover, it is very dark which fits the Punisher pretty perfectly.  I really like getting variant covers, it makes them a little more special to me.  I do really like the Punisher, but haven’t really read much of him so it’s pretty awesome that now I get the chance to.  I am super excited for the Netflix series that they are working on currently, if it’s anything like Daredevil and Jessica Jones, it’s going to be awesome!

The next comic that we received was kind of the whole reason I got the box:


Tank Girl Volume One, another variant exclusive cover.  I am a huge fan of Tank Girl, so when I saw the spoiler that said that Tank Girl was going to have an exclusive item in Comic Block, I knew I had to have it.  I was really hoping the item would be an actual item/collectible or a shirt, but I knew it was going to be a comic.  I’m still happy either way, it just would have been cool to have this be an item.

And the final thing that we got was the T-shirt:


This is such an epic shirt.  So the t-shirt features Apocalypse from the X-men, and it is done in a very Apocalypse Now (a pretty awesome movie from the 70’s if you’re not familiar) style.  I really, really like this shirt.  Honestly, I’ve only ever received one shirt from a Nerd Block box that I didn’t really care for, and I still liked the shirt, it just wasn’t my favorite; but they normally really hit the mark with the t-shirts.

You then get a couple little cards in the box, one of the cards tells you everything that was in the box, the other card tells you what to look for in next month’s box, and then they also give you a coupon card for Hello Fresh.

A lot of people tend to complain about the Hello Fresh coupon for some reason, but I like when boxes collab and offer discounts to members of other boxes.  This one is for $35 off your first box, which would make the box $34 if you do the two people, three meals option, which is normally $69.

Now to look at value.  So I did a little bit of research to determine these prices, but the first item that we are going to look at is the mini wacky wobblers.  Online these go for anywhere from $15 (when sold from individual sellers) to $25 (when sold by major companies; because of this variation I decided to give them a value of $20.  The Dorbz is another one that can vary, I saw it from anywhere from $6 to $10, so I decided to value it at $7.50.  The comics I give face value, even though they are variant covers, they aren’t signed, and they aren’t done by some hugely high valued artists, so they each get $3.99.  Now the shirt was a little more difficult.  Shirt Punch is the company who is responsible for the shirts for Nerd Block and they run specials every day on select shirts so that they cost $10 but their shirts normally cost anywhere from $19.99 to $24.99.  Since this shirt is an exclusive, I decided to value the shirt at $20.  So you have $20+7.50+3.99+3.99+20=$55.48, so I would say this box is valued at anywhere from $55-$60, which is pretty decent value, it’s about double what you pay after shipping and handling.  Now you do also get the $35 gift card to Hello Fresh so if you wanted to add that to the value, the box would be valued around $90, but I don’t really factor that in considering you can get discount codes for Hello Fresh all over the internet.

So overall, I did like this box quite a lot, I would probably give it about a 7/10 and the t-shirt would definitely get a 10/10, I really love that print.  The items were really cool, I liked the comics a lot and of course loved the shirt.

Posted in Subscription Box Unboxing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Subscription Box Unboxing–Pop In a Box

So I have a new addiction.  Funko Pops.  I don’t know why all of the sudden I’m so interested in them, but I am and I need ALL. OF. THEM.  Well not all of them.  I’ve decided that I only want to collect the Pops from things that I like, unlike some collectors who seem to try to collect everything and anything.  Not that there’s something wrong with that, it’s just not for me.  That being said there are still so many out there that I want.  I’m a huge book/tv show/movie nerd, so there are a great many pops out there that I really, really want.  I’ve been watching a lot of unboxing videos and through those I ended up finding a company called Pop In a Box.  So Pop In a Box is a subscription service where monthly you can get Funko Pops in the mail (they also have the Dorbz and other Funko products as well).  Basically you pick which subscription that you want, they have a 1 pop for $9.99, a 2 pop for $18.99, a 3 pop for $27.99, a 6 pop for $53.99, a 8 pop for $71.00, and a 12 pop for $104; plus shipping and handling.  With this you do have the ability to save money per pop compared to what they normally sell for in stores, plus they do randomly send out exclusives as well as the oversized pops and some of the vehicle pops.  Once you create your profile and pick which subscription you want, you then have the option to go through all of the different categories and put in which Pops you already have and you can thumbs up (meaning you want the pop) or thumbs down (meaning you don’t want the pop) the entire selection.  This way they don’t send you pops you already have or don’t want so it is completely customized to the things that you like.  They also allow you to say you don’t want certain products, for instance if you don’t want any Dorbz you can click that you don’t want any of the Dorbz products.  I personally clicked this because the only ones I’m really interested in getting is the actual Pops, there are some Dorbz that I do want out there but I’d rather buy them myself.  So now onto my box:

Normally I would post a picture of the box itself but it actually just comes in a plain brown box.  I have even seen other unboxings where the box was from some other company so they don’t have their own exclusive boxes for this subscription.  What I did find weird though is where it says your name on the label it said my name and then underneath it said “Or Current Resident”, which was a little odd.  Now I picked the 3 pop subscription, and I have seen some unboxings where they put some paper or bubblewrap in the box to keep the pops safe, mine did not have anything, but my boxes still came in really great condition.  I am not an in the box collector however, so that doesn’t matter to me I just care that my pops look good.

The first pop that I received was:


Fluttershy, from My Little Pony.  So I apologize for the really shitty pictures in this post, my camera on my phone just would not cooperate and I still haven’t charged my DSLR (it’s literally been like two months since I’ve charged it and it literally takes two seconds to do).  I love My Little Pony (yes, I’m 25 years old and like My Little Pony, I also love Ever After High and Monster High (oh my god, Funko make Ever After High and Monster High Pops, that would be amazing!)).  I think the show is just really cute and I love the main characters.  Fluttershy is one of the main ones and she’s just such a cute little Pop.


She’s very basic, there’s not much to her, but that’s how she looks in the show, the only special thing that is painted is her cutie mark (which I didn’t take a picture of for some reason).  I really like this Pop though, she’s very cute and they did a really good paint job on her, I didn’t really see anything bleeding through or anything like that.

The next Pop that I received was:


Rainbow Dash.  So one of the things that I have noticed on these unboxings that I have watched, is that Pop in a Box is really good about sending out multiple characters from the same series if they are on your list, which I think is really cool especially if you are trying to collect the whole series.


So here is what she looks like out of the box.  She’s a bit more detailed then Fluttershy because she has rainbow colored hair.  She’s very cute but she does have some paint problems.  It almost looks like the blue paint wasn’t fully dried when they started painted the hair and because of that the yellow portion has some blue paint in it, I don’t really care that much about it, it’s just something that I noticed.  Again a very cute pop and I’m happy to have received two from the same collection.

And the final pop that I received, and the most exciting pop is:


A Dalek from Doctor Who.  I am a recent lover of Doctor Who.  I only started watching it very recently and am only in Season three of the newer Doctors, but I love it so much and my favorite villains so far have been the Daleks.


This pop has a lot of little details on it and it is just really awesome!  This was the one I was definitely most excited to see.  He’s just so detailed and cool looking!

So again here are the three pops that I received:


Overall, I think this was a really great first box, I’m very happy with the Pops that I received and look forward to getting the next box, which I actually got the 12 pop box (I found a coupon that makes it a bit cheaper)!  I’m really hoping I get an exclusive in that box, but I don’t really care too much if I don’t because I’m still saving a lot of money by doing the subscription then just going out to a store and buying twelve pops.  I do have a link here if you would like to save 20% off your first box.  I don’t get anything from using the link except when you refer so many people they do send you a free pop, but I don’t earn money off the link or anything like that.

Posted in Subscription Box Unboxing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Subscription Box Unboxing–Darby Smart

So here’s a new type of subscription service for me, a craft subscription service.  I have not tried any craft subscription services before so I was excited to try this one.  Darby Smart is a monthly subscription service, where each month there is a themed craft and you are sent all of the items required to complete that craft.  They have two different subscription options, one is for adults and one is for children.  I purchased the adult box.  The box, itself, is $19 a month and has free shipping and handling.  They have pictures of previous boxes and it looks like previous boxes had things like metal stamped jewelry, wood burned cutting boards, ink blot coasters, and more.  This month it was a sugar scrub, which I actually just recently said that I really wanted to buy one, so I was excited to see that that is what the box was for.


Here is what the box looks like when it comes to you.  It is a pretty blue box that does have the name and logo of the company on it.


When you open it the description card is right on top.  The card lets you know what you are making and then tells you were to go to find the instructions on how to make the item.  You do actually have to go online to find the instructions, they do not send it in the box.


Then you get into the items that come with the box, so in this case you received a jar, a heart mold, soap base, pure sugar, citrus oil for scent, grapeseed oil, and pink mica for coloring.


Basically once you receive the box, you just go online, find the instructions and create the craft.  It was originally my intention to take pictures throughout the process of making the scrubs but you have to do the whole process rather quickly or the soap base begins to solidify and harden up and you have to continually microwave it, so I did not get pictures throughout the process, but it was very easy.  Basically I melted the soap base and then just added all of the other ingredients; once everything was mixed together, I poured it into the heart mold and put it in the fridge to set.  It was a really easy craft to make and here’s what it looks like when it is done:


I honestly have mixed opinions on this box.  The box only gives you enough ingredients to do the craft once, so you only get a few sugar scrub hearts out of it.  Also the hearts are really quite small.  I actually used one today in the shower, and although I can definitely get multiple uses out of each bar, they are still quite small and not as gritty as I would like them to be.  Some of my favorite scrubs out there are a little rough, but I have very dry skin so it’s something that I need.  One of my favorite scrubs is actually a salt scrub and it comes from Lush and is called Rub, Rub, Rub, not only does it smell amazing, but it is really exfoliating and gritty.  I also really like the sugar scrubs that come from Bath and Body Works, they have them in a bunch of their different scents and again they are more gritty and exfoliating.  These ones that I made just aren’t very gritty at all, the sugar wasn’t coarse enough for what I like it to be.  They do have a pleasant smell, the citrus oil is to add a scent to them, so they do have an orange type smell, that I really like.  Honestly though, I feel like I could have bought all of the ingredients myself, in full size, so that I could have made multiple batches of these for around the same price that the box cost for already measured ingredients good for only a few scrubs.  I also didn’t like the fact that you have to go online to get the instructions.  They are already sending you a card with the craft on it, so I really don’t understand why they couldn’t print the directions on the back of the card.  Overall I wasn’t really impressed with this box, I have seen some photos from previous boxes, however, and was much more impressed with some of those crafts, but if I base my decision on just this one craft, I honestly wouldn’t get the box again.

Posted in Subscription Box Unboxing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Subscription Box Unboxing–Book of the Month Club

Another subscription box, yay!  So I actually received this one several days ago, actually at some point last week and just never reviewed it for some reason.  This is a book subscription box, of course, and with this subscription, each month there are five judges and they get to each pick a novel for the month, and then you get to choose which novel you want and it is sent to you.  Normally the novels that they pick are new and they are always hardcover books, they also normally have a guest judge.  This month was Josh Radnor, an actor probably most well known for his role as Ted from How I Met Your Mother, but each month they normally have some sort of guest judge that picks a book.  I did not end up picking the book that Josh picked, but rather the book that one of their regular judges, Liberty Hardy, picked, which was I Let You Go.  Now with this subscription you pick your book from the five picks of the month but then you can choose to add on another book, which can be from that month’s selection or you can pick from a previous month, and add it to your box for only $9.99, which is a decent price for a new hardcover, I did not, however, add another book.

The subscription, itself, is $16.99 a month, and it is free shipping and handling.  They have other options as well so you can do a one month, three month, or twelve month subscription plan, which all have varying rates, but the one month plan is $16.99/month.  One of the nice features that they offer is you can choose to skip a month if you have no interest in any of the books that they are offering for the month.  I actually almost did because none of the books really caught my eye at first, but as I read more about I Let You Go, it grew on me and I decided to go with it.

So now onto the box:


So this is what the box looks like when it is opened.  Normally I would have done a shot of what it looks like itself, but there was a great big shipping label on the box so I decided against it, but it does have the Book of the Month Club written on it as well as the logo on the top and sides of the box.


The box came with a Ring Pop, for saying yes to Book of the Month, which I thought was a really cute touch to the box.


The box then comes with a little card that has a note written by the judge of the books, so in my case it was written by Liberty.


The box also comes with a bookmark, which I really like because I somehow have no bookmarks at all and am constantly using pieces of scrap paper and whatnot to use.  My current bookmark that I am using is actually a grocery list that I have decided to re-purpose!  I really like this, though, because it has a really nice quote on the one side.  It is from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which I don’t really care for but I really like the quote.


And then the final item is the book itself.  I have not yet read the book, since I just recently received this, but from the synopsis, it looks like the book is a psychological thriller, which is one of my favorite genres.  And it looks like the novel might be about a woman who looses her child in an accident and her attempt to move on from that.  Now the cover that you receive does look like it is a Book of the Month Club exclusive because it does have their logo printed on the cover.  That being said it looks like it is the same cover that everywhere else sells for the hardcover version of the book, but when I looked it up on Amazon, there is a paperback version of the novel, that I like a lot more, the cover, to me, is a little more appealing, but really that’s not something that is super important, I just like pretty covers.

Overall, I think this is a nice subscription service to receive newer hardcover books and that the price is reasonable.  When I looked up this particular book on Barnes and Nobles website, it sells for $18.12, so you are getting it a little cheaper then you would on there, plus they do charge shipping and handling unless you spend up to a certain amount or if you have their membership.  Most newer hardcover books on Amazon or Barnes and Noble are anywhere between $16-$30, so you could potentially be saving money with this.  Plus if you buy additional books for only $9.99 each, that is also saving you a decent amount.  I like this subscription, but I’m a bit of a bigger fan of the ones that come with additional bookish related items, like Owlcrate or LitCube or Uppercase however, those ones because they come with additional items, do cost a bit more, and most of those subscription services appeal to YA books and readers.  Plus with this subscription if you do the three month or the twelve month service, you are paying less per book, so if you do the longer subscriptions you are saving even more money per book.




Posted in Subscription Box Unboxing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review–The Beast Within


Dear Serena Valentino, you have done it again.  Somehow in a mere 215ish pages, you made me fall even more in love with a story that I already enjoyed, and gave a new twist on a classic tale.  So if you aren’t familiar with Serena Valentino, she is a masterful writer who has taken recently to writing novels that feature villains from classic Disney tales, and allow you to see them in a new light.  Her first novel like this was Fairest of All, which I absolutely adored.  That novel followed the story of the evil Queen from Snow White.  You can find my review here, but I absolutely loved it.  The Beast Within follows the story of the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, and it is somehow even better then Fairest of All.

The Beast Within starts off with us meeting the Beast after he has forced Belle to stay with him to save her father.  The story then goes into a flashback, where we meet the Beast when he was just a regular Prince.  He and his best friend Gaston (yes, THAT Gaston) pride themselves on their hunting skills and their looks.  The Prince becomes engaged to a woman, Circe, who he loves merely for her beauty.  He is a pompous, arrogant man, who cares only about material things.  Gaston finds out that Circe is the daughter of a pig farmer and warns the Prince, who then goes, humiliates the girl, and breaks off their engagement.  But little did he know, it was all just a test, set up to see if the Prince was worthy of Circe, and it was set up by her and her Odd Sisters: Lucinda, Ruby, and Martha (who if you’ve read Fairest of All you may recognize).  Because of how the Prince reacted, the Sisters decide to place a curse on him and his castle and servants; if he doesn’t change his ways, he will become the beast outside that he is within.  But when nothing happens to the Prince, he thinks that it was all some sort of joke, but when he meets another woman, Tulip and becomes engaged to her, and treats her poorly, the curse begins to take effect and he slowly begins to transform as do the others in his castle.

This is such a good story!  I really love re-tellings and Serena has not disappointed me yet with these books.  Once again the novel is absolutely beautiful, the dust jacket is of the Beast, while the actual cover of the book is him as the Prince (she only ever refers to him as the Prince and never as Adam).  The cover on this and Fairest of All are just so stunning and beautiful and detailed, like you can see the individual hairs on the Beast and everything, just so pretty.

I like that this novel interconnected with Fairest of All as well.  In that novel the Odd Sisters were actually cousins to the King and so we first met them and their trickery there.  Now we see them years later with a younger sister Circe, and it seems more tricks and manipulation.  I also like that we see more to Gaston.  He actually played a large part throughout the entire story, as he was the Prince’s best friend who eventually turned into the man who would try to kill the Beast.  We don’t see much of Belle in this book, but we’re not meant to anyway.  The book is meant to be an explanation of what led the Prince to being cursed and that is certainly something that we can see throughout the story.  He is not a good character.  He’s crude, arrogant, materialistic, abusive, and just all-in-all not a good guy.  Honestly I was rooting for the Sisters as they were cursing him and I could understand why they wanted so badly for him to never break the curse.  He’s just not very likable at all and through his transformation he just becomes more and more violent.  But somehow in the end you end up rooting for him, and I think that largely has to do with Circe.  For her, it is never her goal to see him fail and become a beast forever, she wants to see him succeed and find the compassion and love that is hidden within him.  And I really think that that is why you end up feeling sorry for him, because up until that, he just continues to prove what a bastard he is over and over again.

I really just fell in love with this book.  If you’re a fan of fairy tale re-tellings then this is a really great quick read that I highly recommend!

Posted in Book Review, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review–These Heroic, Happy Dead


I feel like it has been forever since I did a book review, and it’s mostly because this book took me forever to get through.  So I actually started this book on May 1st and only just now finished it today, on May 15th, and the book is only 184 pages.  Now I want to preface this by saying that I don’t hate the book by any means, it is interesting and sad and brutally honest, but I had trouble getting into it and it really just didn’t hold my attention.

So the book itself is a series of post 9/11/01 short stories that follow different characters who were all soldiers and deals with how war effected them and in turn effected their lives afterwards as well as their families.  Each short story follows a different character and some of them take place still during war in the Middle East, while others occur afterwards in the States.  Although each story does follow a different character, the characters all have something in common, other then the fact that they were soldiers of course, they’re all dealing with the mental and emotional repercussions of war.

My favorite short in the novel is “Visitors”.  “Visitors” follows a mother, Jeanne, who visits her son, Rob, each week in prison.  Her son was a soldier who shortly after coming back home, gets into a fight with another man and accidentally hits him so hard that he causes the man’s brain to bleed and in turn kills him.  Jeanne really has it tough in this short because she lost her son when he had to go away to war and then so shortly after he returns, she loses him again and throughout the story she tries so hard to reconnect with him through her visits, but it seems he is a shell of the man that he used to be.  But Jeanne suspects that it’s not just the death of the man Rob accidentally killed that haunts him, but also the things that he saw and did while overseas.  “Visitors” is really a heartbreaking tale from a mother’s perspective of what it is to have a child who is dealing with the after-effects of war.

My least favorite short was “Sea Bass”.  “Sea Bass” comes from the perspective of a son, Kyle, of a man, Jim, who has a hard time readjusting to life.  The story follows Kyle as he goes to spend some time with his father and he sees how is father is kind of broken in ways.  Jim has become somewhat of an alcoholic and is irresponsible which leads to a couple of tragedies.  This particular short was just really hard to get into for me.  Neither Jim nor Kyle were particularly likable characters for me, and although I think that was the point with Jim, it just really made it hard to sympathize for the man.  I just didn’t really care for things that happened, and how he dealt with them.  Though, I will say I kind of liked the ending, Jim ends up re-enlisting and you’re led to believe that that is exactly what he wants and where he should be.

I didn’t hate this book but I didn’t love it.  Some of the shorts were much better then others, but one thing that I think took away from the stories was that they all had very similar tones.  Although, each story is unique with its own set of characters and plots, the tone of all of the characters was very similar and one note.  I also felt like some of the stories ended very abruptly.  Of course, I know the book is a series of short stories, however, there were some shorts that didn’t really explain things enough in a way that left you feeling satisfied and I didn’t care for that.  I will say, however, that the book is very honest and I feel that it really shows how war can effect a person and the damage that that can have not only on them but also their families.  I think part of what makes this book so honest is the experience that Luke Mogelson has himself with war.  He was a medic for the National Guard and then he has also spent years in journalism writing on the topic so the stories and the characters do feel very real, and I think part of that is because he probably took some of his ideas from real life.  I also think the book deals with PTSD in a very honest manner, many of the characters very obviously suffer from this and each of them deal with it in different ways.  All-in-all, I think this book is very interesting and I would recommend it to anybody with an interest in war fiction.


Although the opinions up above are my own, this book was sent to me for review by Blogging For Books.  I would like to thank them, as well as Crown Publishing, the publisher of this book, for sending me this for review.

Posted in Book Review, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment