Archive for February, 2015

This was one of the better Stephen King books. Not my absolute favourite, but getting there. Here’s the blurb:

Sometimes dead is better….When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son — and now an idyllic home. As a family, they’ve got it all…right down to the friendly cat.But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth — more terrifying than death itself…and hideously more powerful.

There’s less meandering in this book than there can be in a Stephen King book. The characters were agreeable enough. The female characters were less developed than the male, but they had enough flesh on them to get some idea what they were like.

Things were slow to start, but held my interest enough. I don’t read Stephen King for the action, I read it for the creeping horror that he writes so well. As with a few of his book I’ve come across, this was essentially one man’s slow decent into madness. You can understand why, and I can’t say for sure I wouldn’t do anything different were I in his place.

I can’t say too much without giving it away, but I think the scariest thing about this book is that every decision the main character makes is understandable. He’s protecting his kids, emotionally and physically. You can’t fault a guy for doing that. You could argue that he could’ve talked to his wife, and gotten her help with things. He definitely could’ve used it.

Other than that, this is just a series of decisions that most parents would make given the same circumstances. That makes the conclusion so much more terrible, because there was little way around it. There are moments right at the end that broke my heart. I usually enjoy a good Stephen King, but most of his work doesn’t have the same emotional clobber for me as this one did.

For more reviews on this book go to: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10583.Pet_Sematary

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This one surprised me. I wasn’t expecting much. Maybe some advice on how to study better, reminders to knuckle down and put the work in.

Instead I found the best organisational system I’ve come across in all the self help books I’ve read – and I’ve read a lot. I won’t detail what it is. That would be cheating, you have to read the book. I will say that my productivity has been falling since May of last year due to depression. I’m still struggling with feeling depressed and tired all the time, but my productivity has taken an upward turn due to this system.

It. Is. Awesome.

I’m still not at pre-May levels, but this system helps me better use the couple hours productive time I have left. I’m excited to see what I’ll be capable of using this system when I get my energy back.

In a nutshell, this book gives you hacks from real A star students of how to get the best results while expending the least possible energy. Studying is covered, as is essay writing, note taking, and all those typical college things. These were interesting to me, but not invaluable since I’m not a college student. I do read non fiction though, and I’m always enrolled in some kind of writing course, so I’m sure I’ll get some use out of those bits.

The invaluable part for me, which I think everyone will get use out of is the organisational system. It’s so simple, but it works so well. I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now, and it’s been great to help keep up with the hefty goals I set for 2015. I don’t think it’d be possible to do all I have planned for this year without it.

If you’re a productivity system junkie like me you will love this book. Or even if you’d just like to get some more stuff done in your day. Some of the later chapters are more college focused, so unless you are in education (in which case you’ll also love this book) you might not get as much use out of them.

That doesn’t matter because the foundation of the book – the organisational chapters – are brilliant. One hundred percent five stars. This is one of those books I’m never going to stop gushing about, so I’ll stop there.

For more reviews on this book check out: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/253203.How_to_Become_a_Straight_A_Student

For my reviews on the previous books in the series go to:

Book 1: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/book-review-wednesday-virals-4-stars/

Book 2: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/book-review-we…rals-2-4-stars/

Book 2.5: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/book-review-we…ok-2-5-5-stars/

 

I feel like the series has grown up in this book. It’s a little more serious. As serious as a series can be when the main characters get infected with a virus that gives them superpowers, find pirate treasure, and stumble into a crazy murderer’s elaborate game all in less than a year!

So, Hi takes up geocaching, which is where people bury things for others to find. The cache contains a puzzle that they solve to get to the next cache. This is where things stop being a game. It contains a fake bomb, and a warning from the gamemaster that if they stop playing his game then he’ll explode a real one.

People die in this book. In the previous books there’ve been a lot of close calls, and we’ve had some mentioned murders, and a couple dead bodies that died long ago. In this one we see a recent death that the kids might’ve been able to stop, and that hits them hard.

This book is a lot darker than the previous two. The boys aren’t following around a head-strong Tory who’s determined to solve a mystery for whatever reason. They’re being dragged around by a madman who for once might be cleverer than them. It’s a nice change that adds some variety into the series.

It may just be me, but the characters seem to have more even roles in this book. Instead of Tory doing most of the work, everyone chips in to save the day. Tory’s dad even shows up to provide a heroic moment. I think that was one of my very favorite parts.

And for once there isn’t a picture perfect happy ending. Most things are wrapped up, but there’s a twist that I didn’t expect that really tugged at my heart strings and showed me how fond I’ve become of these characters.

I won’t lie to you. This isn’t the best written series, but they are addicting. The characters aren’t as fleshed out as they could be, but they’re funny and kindhearted. The puzzles are fun (though as with the previous book some are so simple I was wondering how they couldn’t get them.) The plots, while not deep, are enjoyable and filled with action. I’m definitely hanging around for the next book.

For more reviews on this book check out: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7744611-code

 

For my reviews on the previous Virals books go to:

Book 1: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/book-review-wednesday-virals-4-stars/

Book 2: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/book-review-we…rals-2-4-stars/

This one is a short story. Only 80 pages. It took a while to get into for me, because the other books have only had Tory’s POV, and this one gets into all the Virals heads. This doesn’t mean it was bad. On the contrary, it was neat to see what they were thinking, especially Ben. It did take a few chapters to get used to it though.

We also get to see Temperance. She is one smart lady. All the adults in the previous books have been pretty clueless about what’s going on with the kids, but if anyone’s likely to work it out, it’ll be her. Good thing she’s not around often.

So, there’s been a break in at Loggerhead. Of course that means headstrong Tory HAS to sneak in and try to crack the case. She didn’t need to. Her Aunt Tempe is there for a visit and plans to do her own investigation. And it’s not like they can tell everyone they solved the case. Maybe it’s the thrill of solving the puzzle, or maybe she just wanted to be sure the thief wouldn’t get away with it. Either way, I wouldn’t want to be her friend and get dragged along on all these dangerous missions. They were in a crime scene that was just about to be searched! What if the wrong person noticed some evidence they left behind and accused them of the break in?

I enjoy these books, but sometimes they annoy me. It’s like part of me goes ‘cool, another law broken. Excitement!’ And another part of me wants to yell at them to ‘stop. Think about what they’re doing. Make a smart choice.’

Overall this book won me over. Five stars. It’s a fun little tale. The plot is simple, but with only 80 pages it had to be. I prefer sticking to Tory’s POV for the novels, but for this shorter story it was interesting to see how everyone’s thought processes worked. Tempe was a cool addition.

If you’ve enjoyed the other Viral books then check this one out. It’s worth a read. Word of warning though: if you haven’t read the previous books you’ll be hopelessly lost, so check out them first.

For more reviews on this book go to: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17472970-shift