Unboxing “Mr. Booker’s Summer Vacation” Sci-fi Novel

This was the book I asked for as a subscriber to author Mark Lages’s newsletter. If you are interested in getting a free book of your choice by Mr. Lages, drop by his website and sign up. You can read my post >>here<< for more information. In the meantime, enjoy my unboxing video of the book.

A Free Book from Author Mark Lages

If you enjoy literary fiction with strong moral themes and a bit of satire and dark humor, Mark Lages is the guy for you. He also writes science fiction, so if you’re like me, you’ll probably be tempted to choose Mr. Booker’s Summer Vacation. I received this book for free as a subscriber to his newsletter. If you’d like to receive a free book from Lages, sign up for his newsletter and he’ll ship one out to you—of your choice. And he’s got quite a list! The images are only of those books that I have. He’s not paying me to share this information. I just think he’s a great writer with beautiful pros and thought provoking messages. You can drop by his website at https://marklages.com/ to subscribe. His offer ends October 15, 2021. Let me know how you like his stories. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

Book Review: Gold Spun

Title: Gold Spun
Author: Brandie June
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Published: June 8th, 2021

Date finished: September 17, 2021

Gold Spun by Brandie June is a Rumpelstiltskin retell about a 17-year-old girl named Nora who finds herself in a mess after rescuing a fae. The fae gifts her with a golden thread and promises to return to her every time she calls upon him. Excited about this golden thread, in her haste, Nora comes up with a plan to make money using it. This captures the attention of the prince who tells her if she could spin a room full of straw into gold, he’ll marry her. If not, she’ll pay a heavy price.

It’s been a long time since I read Rumpelstiltskin, so I had to search it up and brief through it. Gold Spun follows the storyline somewhat but with slightly different characters. I like the idea of the fae and the way he was portrayed. He felt likeable, yet you couldn’t really tell if he was trustworthy, so there was a mysterious edge to him. The prince at first seemed cocky and full of himself, but he turned out likeable. His affection for Nora made him protective and supportive and a real gentleman. As for Nora, I liked that she was always quick on her toes. She doesn’t give up and she has so much love in her for her family and the villagers. However, I also found her a bit childlike. I think she was meant to be intelligent and brave and was supposed to play it down, but I didn’t get that. I wanted her to be a little more mature for someone who was responsible for a lot of things.

The overall story was enjoyable. I love retells and Gold Spun did an excellent job with it. I found the love triangle just so cute. Also, Ms. June’s writing style is flowy and smooth and makes you want to keep reading.

Who should read this book: All lovers of retells, love triangles, and fairytales. This was a truly fun read with magic, faeries, royalty, and everything you could ever ask for in a fast-paced young adult fantasy romance story.

Note: I was given this book to read and review but the opinion is purely my own.

Unboxing: “Gold Spun” YA Fantasy Novel

I finished reading Gold Spun by Brandie June and am getting ready to post the review. In the meantime, I decided to do an unboxing of the book and created a new YouTube channel to share my book unboxing. I don’t get a lot of physical books to review so I’ll probably add reviews (?) or other things related to books on this channel. I hope you’ll subscribe!

Book Review: Scythe

Title: Scythe
Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: YA, dystopian
Year Published: 2017

Date finished: August 10, 2021

Scythe by Neal Shusterman is a young adult dystopian novel about two teenagers who were chosen to become scythes. The setting is far future in a world of chaos where rules were put in to control the people. One of the rules was the creation of Scythes whose jobs are to take lives, and thus putting fear into the people to maintain order.

The two main characters are Citra and Rowan. They were both chosen to learn the role of the scythe and thus were trained in the skills required for the job. Along the way, a mysterious death occurred leading to a bit of chaos. Lies and deception rang among the scythes in power creating disagreements between the leaders. The decisions Citra and Rowan made were difficult because they had grown to respect (and liked) each other.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and loved how it ended. I’m curious as to why it ended the way it did with one of the characters. My only gripe is that because it’s young adult, I found the killings a bit too morbid. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good grimdark with all the things (ASOIAF comes to mind), but this was definitely a young adult leaning more toward the younger end of the age group, so there were moments where I just couldn’t stomach it, because I couldn’t stop thinking about how a young person would deal with it. If this book was adult with a more mature writing style, I’d totally dig it a lot more.

Who should read this book: If you enjoy stories about teenagers put into a challenge with each other in a world where the authoritarian comes from adults who seem a bit clueless and/or who’ve gained power for their own greed, and the teenagers sort of “fix” the problem, then you’ll enjoy this book.

Added to My TBR List

The other day, I downloaded eleven ebooks onto my Kindle. They were free, so why not? There were so many to choose from but I only picked these ones because anymore and I’d probably get too overwhelmed to read any. They are all sci-fi and fantasy genres and are all by independent authors. I’ve slowly shifted from reading mostly traditional to mostly indie because I find indie a little more refreshing and enjoyable these days. I still read traditional. I think I have about four traditional books on hold at the local library. It’s just so amazing to have access to all these books!

Book Review: Fate is a Hunter

Title: Fate is a Hunter
Author: Susan Wuthrich
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Year Published: 2020

Date finished: July 13, 2021

Fate is a Hunter is a suspense thriller by Susan Withrich. The story is about a woman named Lydia who goes on a search for her husband and children. She hires a private investigator to help her find them, but it wasn’t as easy as she’d thought.

The story is fast paced and has three point-of-views. Lydia’s story is in first point-of-view, the husband is in third limited, and then there’s third omniscient where we’re able to see the story from afar. I found these point-of-views a little confusing because at times I wasn’t sure who’s story it was about. I didn’t think it was necessary to do multiple povs in this way. I also couldn’t really understand the motivation behind what the husband did, but it sounded like he was suffering from depression. The whole story just appeared pretty sad and heartbreaking.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read. I was curious to find out what happened with Lydia and her husband and was pleasantly surprised by the ending.

Who should read this book: Anyone into fast-paced suspense thrillers such as The Widow by Fiona Barter, Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Book Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Title: The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Author: Heather Morris
Genre: Historical fiction, Based on a true story
Year Published: 2018

Date finished: June 29, 2021

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is a historical fiction story about a man named Lale Sokolov. He is a Slovakian Jew who was taken to a concentration camp to tattoo Jews being brought into the camp. His story is about survival and staying positive during this time of atrocious genocide.

Lale befriends some of the workers at the camp who were not Jews and begins to trade for food. He sees a girl that catches his eye and makes promises to himself and the girl that they would be together after the war ends, not realizing the extent of all that’s going on with Hitler’s motive.

I enjoyed this story. Even though it’s fiction, based on a Lale’s memory, I’m sure there was a lot of truth to it, even in scenes where it didn’t involve him. It makes sense that Lale didn’t see the big picture and I liked this point of view because it goes to show that when you’re inside the storm, you really can’t see how big the storm is. Lale had so much hope and positivity that you almost felt that if all fails, this story was going to be the saddest book out there. But on the other hand, I believe that his confidence helped him stay alive.

There is something special about the angle of this book. We follow Lale and get glimpses of other less fortunate Jews (and even some non-Jews) who ended up losing their lives, yet the glimpses are so powerful that without explaining all the details, you just know that the situation was beyond horrific.

Who should read this book: If you enjoy books about WWII and/or the holocaust such as The Nightingale, The Book Thief, All the Lights We Cannot See, The Whispers of War, etc., this one fits right in.

Book Review: Off the Furrow

Title: Off the Furrow
Author: Mark Lages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Year Published: 2021

Date finished: June 5, 2021

Off the Furrow by Mark Lages is a story about a man named Howard Mirth who suffers from a mental illness and was admitted to the hospital. Howard is, overall, a normal person with a normal family life and a good job. He goes through bouts of schizophrenia where it leaves you feeling both sad and sorry for him, but you also laugh with him and at his humor. He questions life and humanity, and it makes you wonder the same things.

Wow. I loved this book. There was a lot to take in, but every chapter had meaning. My favorite chapter was 34, when Howard called his uncle. I enjoyed the whole book, but that chapter was really deep. I found the humor and jokes throughout the book just simply hilarious. Some (maybe most) were dark humor but that’s what I like about this author’s style. This book is relatable to just about everyone. Every character has a flaw, and you can probably find yourself in one of them.

Who should read this book: If you like literary stories about man vs. self, mental illness, family dynamics, and life lessons, this is for you. Also, if you like the style of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five and Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove, you’ll definitely enjoy this.