Book Review – Kingston Raine and the Grim Reaper

Book: Kingston Raine and the Grim Reaper – Author: Jackson Lear

Genre: Fiction, Adventure, Supernatural-ish

Description from Goodreads:

The Grim Reaper finds himself confronted with his most challenging death ever: that of Kingston Raine, an industrial thief and all-round smartass. Soon he comes to realize that Kingston may be the only one capable of thwarting a coup that threatens the entire afterlife. Unfortunately, Kingston just did the impossible and found a way to escape back to his own universe.

My Review:

::opens mouth to speak::
::closes mouth::
::opens mouth again::
“….uh…well?…”
::closes mouth::

Ok, first things first: I liked this book, I really did. But how to describe it without spoilers? Hm….

General description time: Limbo is run by a corporation called Death Inc, whose CEO is, of course, Death himself. During the latest coup, Death accidentally manages to kill a fictional character named Kingston Raine. Kingston turns out to be clever and crazy enough to steal Death’s scythe and zap himself back into the fictional universe…just not HIS fictional universe. Mayhem ensues.

Bibliophiles will get a kick out of this one, as Kingston manages to stumble into some of the greatest literary characters of all time during his journey to get back home. I had fun trying to guess along with Kingston which book he was in, so I won’t divulge WHICH characters, but there’s some good ones in there. And I want to applaud the author for sticking to the original version of the tales (you’ll know which one I’m talking about when you get to it).

This book was hilarious. Who knew Death and Satan could be so humorous? 😉 Their banter and the quips coming from Kingston & crew kept everything fairly upbeat. You can tell that the author has a good sense of humor.

He also writes people very well. All of the characters, both “real” and “fictional”, came across very realistically. These were people you could see yourself hanging out with; my favorite type of characters. And, come on, the author actually got a cheer out of me when Satan turned up towards the end, that’s just good writing. 😉

All in all I highly recommend this book for people looking for a fun read. One of the other reviews I read called it “madcap” and I heartily agree. If you can suspend your disbelief enough to just go with it, this book will take you on quite the ride.

Special note: The Kindle version of this book is currently free on Amazon (3/8/2017). Also, subscribe to the author’s mailing list, you can download this book and the sequel for free (http://www.jacksonlear.com/).

Similar Book(s):

I honestly really just want to write “Dogma” here, because the movie has a similar feel (although a LOT more vulgarity and drama). That’s probably not super helpful, though, so I’m going to go with:

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

 

 

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Book (aka Life) Burnout

Alas, the wall has been hit. I have finally caved into my first big book burnout of the year. I’ve started 6 books in the last week and can’t bring myself to really care about any of them. 😦

In this case, though, it may actually be a case of Life Burnout, since I can’t bring myself to crochet or enjoy my favorite shows either. Playing on Facebook is boring. Going to work is an even bigger chore than normal. All I want seem to want to do is cuddle with my dog and sulk. Sigh. I hate it when I get like this.

Suggestions? What do you do to motivate yourself when you have hit the dreaded ennui?

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While you ponder your reply, here is a short list of the books I am trying to entice myself into reading. Let me know if you have read any yourself and think they are worth pushing through the fog for. 🙂

  1. Mistborn (Brandon Sanderson)
  2. An Uninvited Guest (EJ Copperman)
  3. Kington Raine and the Grim Reaper (Jackson Lear)
  4. Devil in the White City (Erik Larson)
  5. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Alan Bradley)
  6. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo) – This one is my year-long goal. 😉

I’ve actually gotten decently far into both Mistborn and Kingston Raine, so I’m hopeful about finishing them. Kingston is much more playful than Mistborn, though, so I’ll probably try to stick with that one for now, especially since my copy of Mistborn in over 600 pages long!

Any book suggestions to help my with my burnout? I’m trying to find something fun that will grab my attention quickly. My burnout brain tends to drop books if they haven’t grabbed me within 30 pages or so. :/ Any genre will do, though I’m really not fond of romances. Please help!

(Cover photo: Hyperbole and a Half)

Top 5 Wednesday – Fictional Dream Jobs

Time for another Top 5 Wednesday!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic:
Fictional Jobs You’d Want to Have

Muggle Studies Teacher (Harry Potter)

hogwartsI’ve always though this would be a fun job, but only if done properly. Instead of just teaching the wizard-born kids about muggles, you need to also teach the muggle-born about the wizarding world! Get the kids involved! Have them all give presentations on things they think the other kids should learn about. Pair them up and have them write essays about how wizards and muggles would accomplish the same tasks. Have them swap their favorite novels and candies. Get them together for mock gobstones and soccer tournaments. And, of course, “Movie Fridays”. 😉

Owner of Small Bookstore (The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend)

Ok, so this one is a real job, but I LOVE the idea of it, booksstoreeven if for me it would probably never pan out. See, I don’t want to just own a small bookstore. I want to own a small bookstore in a small town. Something cozy, where people can escape the real world for a while and hunker down with a good book. Comfy chairs, warm atmosphere. Sounds like heaven. 🙂

Magizoologist (Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them)

Harry Potter Take 2, but this time with animals. I would LOVE to explore the world and find new exotic animals…but only if I can do magic to help me study them and keep the bugs away. 😉newt

Owner of Small Teashop (Death by Darjeeling)

teashopAlso a real job, but still a little out of reach for me. A quaint little teashop (yes, in a small town) where people could pop in for a warm cuppa and a cookie. We could host little events, like book clubs or small luncheons. Mix up our own concoctions and have “Fun Tea Friday” at half price for anyone adventurous enough to give it a go. There’d be a book nook, of course, where you could snuggle down with your drink and a happy novel. Also heaven. 🙂

Gardening Detective (Rosemary & Thyme)

Ok, this one is kind of just for fun. But can you roseimagine, playing detective while being surrounded by so much beauty? A smidgen of danger, just enough to make things interesting, but not so much that you are constantly anxious. An interesting mystery, but not too difficult to figure out. And gorgeous scenery, even if you have to make it yourself. Sounds like a blast!

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So you’ve seen mine, now tell me…what would YOUR fictional dream job be?

Top 5 Wednesday – Out of the Slump

Hey guys, this week I’m actually going to follow the listed topic! Yea for me! 😉

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic:
Books to Get You Out of a Reading Slump

Here are five books that reminded me why I love reading. 🙂

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry (Fredrick Backman)

23604559This was a wonderful book that pulled me out of my most recent reading slump. I plan to do a full review at some point, because I absolutely loved it.

Do you remember that movie “Big Fish” starring Ewan McGregor? This story is kind of similar to that, except the main character is still the little girl who believes in her Grandmother’s stories. Over the course of the book, she learns the truth behind the fiction and comes to understand her family and neighbors on a much deeper level. I HIGHLY recommend this one.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds (Cat Winters)

Wow, this book caught me by surprise. I had been interested enough13112915 to buy the book, so I knew that I’d probably like it, but I wasn’t expecting to become enthralled enough to read it in one sitting!

This story follows a 16yo girl in 1918, who is struggling to deal with the Spanish Influenza epidemic and the loss of her sweetheart to WWI. Mary never believed in ghosts, not until her beau returned to her, desperate to tell her his tale.

This one had a nice romance, a good dose of the supernatural, and wonderful world building. Great book!

Weird West Tales (Mike Resnick)

8253037Well, technically this is a series, but it’s my current go-to for when I need something fun to read that I know I’ll enjoy.

Now, normally, I’m not a fan of westerns, but a steampunk western featuring one of my favorite outlaw/lawman Doc Holliday? That also has cameos from Thomas Edison, Ned Buntline, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, and Theodore Roosevelt? Johnny Ringo is a zombie? Bat Masterson gets turned into a real bat?! Geronimo is an actual magic wielding shaman?!? And the next book has a frickin’ DINOSAUR on the cover?!?!? …Count me in!

Cuckoo Song (Francis Hardinge)

This is the book that introduced me to the amazing Francis Hardinge.23344750 I’ve only gotten to read two of her books so far, but both were wonderful.

Yes, the book is as creepy as the cover. 😉 But it’s a fascinating look into what I consider one of the most interesting tales from folklore (no spoilers, I promise; I could see people who are unfamiliar with the lore not figuring it out until pretty far into the book). The author’s world/character building is practically flawless in this one and I could NOT put it down.

Hyperbole & a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened (Allie Brosh)

2D9725260-coverIn all honesty, this is more of a “life slump” book for me than a reading slump. This is one of a handful of books that I turn to when I’m having an awful day, especially if I don’t have a real reason to feel awful.

I’ve done a full review on this book already, but this is honestly one of the most funny, touching, and relatable books I have ever come across. If you are going through a tough time, especially if you are dealing with depression, I highly recommend this book and the website it was based on. The author has hit a rough patch herself at the moment and hasn’t updated in a while, but what IS there is fantastic and I hope it helps you as much as it’s helped me.

Mini-Reviews!

Hey all! Since I’m still not feeling up to a full review, here are a few mini-reviews for books I felt worth recommendation. 🙂

Hotel Andromeda (Edited by Jack Chalker) – Sci-Fi, Anthology

Description from Goodreads: At the grandest hotel in the universe, star-crossed lovers cross paths with the woman who rules the earth, a shape-shifting madame fulfills the needs of extraterrestrials, and a thin-skinned human fights cosmic assassins.

Short Review: This was a fun little book. It contains several short stories that all take place in a hotel in outer space. All the stories are written by different authors and have different characters/plots, but they all have a nice similarity to them; the writing styles flow well together and the similar location of the stories gives them a nice connection. I enjoyed every story in this collection, which is quite a feat!

The King’s Hounds (Martin Jensen) – Mystery, Historical Fiction

Description from Goodreads (condensed): The newly crowned King Cnut of Denmark has conquered England and rules his new empire from Oxford. The year is 1018 and the war is finally over, but the unified kingdom is far from peaceful. Halfdan’s mixed lineage—half Danish, half Saxon—has made him a pauper in the new kingdom. When he finds an unlikely ally in Winston, a former monk, he sees no reason not to accept his strange invitation to travel together to Oxford. But when the pair’s arrival in court coincides with news of a murder, the king has a brilliant idea: Why not enlist the newly arrived womanizing half-Dane and the Saxon intellectual to defuse a politically explosive situation? 

Short Review: I enjoyed this book overall. The plot was interesting, though a bit slow and kind of absurd. The verbiage seemed a bit too modern as well. I did enjoy the characters though: Halfdan was quite humorous and affable, Winston a bit more introspective but enjoyable. I think they were supposed to be slightly like Sherlock and Dr. Watson, though they didn’t quite meet the mark. All around a fun little mystery, but stick to the cheapest version you can find. 😉

Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks (Andrea Lankford) – Non-Fiction, Memoir

Description from Goodreads: For twelve years, Andrea Lankford lived in the biggest, most impressive national parks in the world, working a job she loved. She chaperoned baby sea turtles on their journey to sea. She pursued bad guys on her galloping patrol horse. She jumped into rescue helicopters bound for the heart of the Grand Canyon. She won arguments with bears. She slept with a few too many rattlesnakes. Hell yeah, it was the best job in the world! Fortunately, Andrea survived it.

Short Review: I really enjoyed this book. It’s a slightly fictionalized, non-fiction  about Andrea and some of her co-workers while they were working for the National Park Service (USA). All the stories are true, she just rounded out some of the dialogue and thought processes. The stories range from humorous to nerve-wracking to sorrowful. You come to really care about every person in this book and really feel for what they go through. The stories do a wonderful job of humanizing the authority figure of a Ranger and I came out of it feeling a lot more thoughtful of what it means to be in their position.

The Little Paris Bookshop (Nina George) – General Fiction, Romance (kinda)

Description from Goodreads: Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened. After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Short Review: This was not my usual read. I’m not generally fond of romances, though this wasn’t quite like a regular romance novel. This book is more of a journey novel. Each character in it is trying to find something: a lost love, a muse, a friend. The pace is slow and introspective, but not boring. I found myself getting quite attached to Monsieur Perdu and his motley crew. This is a sweet book that will leave you with a sense of cozy-happiness.

Top 5 Wednesday – Non-Book Faves

So I’m going to cheat a bit with this Top 5 Wednesday. Since I just found this group LAST week and I can’t really think of anything for THIS week’s topic, I’m going to do the PREVIOUS week’s topic…did that even slightly make sense? 😉  I’m in a bit of a reading slump at the moment, so this topic will be a bit easier for me today.

February 1st’s Topic: Current Favorites That Aren’t Books!

Sophie’s Universe – 

In 2015, I decided that I wanted to learn how to crochet. I figured I’d probably play around with it for a bit and then give up, like I normally do with impulse projects. Strangely, I discovered that I really enjoyed crochet and was actually pretty decent at it. So now I have a gigantic yarn stash and tons of patterns saved for future endeavors.

jg-part-1
Sophie’s Universe – Part 1

My CURRENT endeavor is Sophie’s Universe, a huge mandala type blanket. I got super-obsessed with this pattern a couple of weeks ago, to the point of making an excel sheet with each row/color so I could predict what it might look like when finished. 😉 I’m only a few rows into it at the moment, but it’s looking pretty neat so far. It’s going to be the most difficult and colorful thing I’ve made to date!

Podcasts – 

In the last year or so, since my discovery of Welcome to Night Vale, I have fallen in love with podcasts. Some of my favorites include: Dear Hank and John, WTNV (obviously), Lore, The Thrilling Adventure Hour, and Myths & Legends. They are lots of fun to listen to, and especially great for while I am crocheting. 😉

Gobo – 

I can’t forget my pup! I am always pretty obsessed with the Gobester. Gobo is a 3 year old, enormous Yorkshire Terrier. Laugh all you want at that statement; really, he’s 16 pounds! He’s like the Godzilla of Yorkies! Goober is quite a handful, but also pretty adorable (most of the time) and I love him to pieces. 🙂

11164715_10103140581536479_3687558435217087255_n
Gobo says “Love me!”

Tea – 

Mmmm….the perfect drink for a chilly night, of which there have been quite a few in the last couple of months! I’m mainly a straight, black tea kind of gal. No fruity flavors or flowery scents for me! Just plain, strong, black tea. 🙂

Mystery Shows – 

I’ve been on a big mystery show kick for the last several months. I’ve binged and re-binged everything I can find on Netflix: Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Midsomer Murders, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Sherlock, Rosemary & Thyme, The Glades, The Finder, Death in Paradise, Murdoch Mysteries…the list goes on and on. It’s amazing how many different types of mysteries these writers can come up with! You get the odd similarity every once in a while, but there really is no end to the scenarios they can create. It’s wonderful! 🙂

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Well, that’s it for this week’s…or, well, two weeks ago’s week’s…topic. I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about me. If I can get myself off this reading slump, I’ll try to get a couple new reviews up soon!

 

Pokemon Go Book Tag

So, I’ll be honest. I wasn’t tagged to do this. I just stumbled upon it on Accio Reviews and thought it looked fun, so I stole it. 😉
The first book that actually impacted me was “Fatso Jean The Ice Cream Queen” by Maryann MacDonald. Being a chunky gal myself, it was nice to have someone to identify with and inspiring to see her pull herself up and out of victimhood. — But the books that really started my LOVE of reading were the “Hardy Boys” books by Franklin W. Dixon. My Mom’s friend gifted one to me when I was 12 and I haven’t looked back since.
Ah, Sherlock, how I love thee. I have loved the Sherlock Holmes character since I was young. In fact, I’ve never come across an incarnation I DIDN’T love; even the movie with the dinosaurs and the cartoon where Dr. Watson is a cyborg. I just love this character so much!
Well, I definitely put off reading “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins for a LONG time. I ended up only reading it because the movie was coming out and I knew I’d cave and go see it with my friends and I LOATHE spoilers!

I’m going to go with a genre here. I love cozy mysteries. I don’t know why. I can’t stand the fact that the main characters all fall in love with the first man they come across or the fact that they do such STUPID things to solve the mysteries…but I can’t stop reading them! They are my guilty pleasure. 😉

“The Wheel of Time” by Robert Jordan. There are so many of them! I will eventually start them, though, because they sound interesting and everyone I know who is into reading is astonished that I haven’t tried them yet (apparently they are ‘right up my alley’ ::shrugs::).

Well, I’ve had quite a few books keep me up all night because I couldn’t put them down, but because they were scary? Hmm…I’m going to go with “The Screaming Staircase” by Jonathan Stroud. For a ‘kids book’, it definitely got my adrenaline up. Ooo, that reminds me, I need to buy the next book in that series…

I don’t really have one of these. I’m not fond of romance, so I don’t really have favorite couples very often. I DID enjoy “Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell, though, and thought Simon and Baz made sense as a couple. 🙂

“The Martian” by Andy Weir was an amazingly fast read for me. I read it straight in 6 hours. REALLY GOOD. I also really liked the “Wayward Pines” trilogy by Blake Crouch. Quick-paced and scary, but fun. 🙂

Oh, Harry Potter, I can’t seem to get enough of you.

“The Rest of Us Just Live Here” by Patrick Ness was REALLY good. Like reading a John Green novel set in the Buffy Universe that focuses on the background characters. I highly recommend that one.

I seem to be inundated by “Caraval” by Stephanie Garber lately…but it looks like a VERY interesting book!

I’ll be honest, I’m in the middle of collecting the Illustrated Harry Potter books even though I don’t REALLY need them, because I already own the entire set in hardback and a few of them in paperback…but…SO PRETTY!

I’m lame; I don’t really follow debut authors. I just pick out stories that sound interesting, usually without any knowledge of author-dom at all.

Aaannnddd, going completely against what I literally just typed…Neil Gaiman is a pretty sure bet for me. 😉

I’m going to steal AccioReviews’ idea here….JK!!! PLEASE GIVE US A MARAUDERS SERIES!!! We PINE for it!!! 😦

Well, that WAS fun! Feel free to steal this idea or start tagging your friends. 🙂