Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Book Review: The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard

I swear I'm not reading another book by someone who taught autistic people.

Good covers don't mean good books
Funny, heart-warming and ultimately triumphant, The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr is the perfect story for anyone who doesn’t quite fit in – and for everyone who chooses not to. LOL, No. F off.

Elvira Carr is twenty-seven and neuro-atypical. Her father – who she suspects was in the secret service – has passed away and, after several Unfortunate Incidents growing up, she now spends most of her time at home with her overbearing mother. But when her mother has a stroke and is taken into care, Elvira is suddenly forced to look after herself or risk ending up in Sheltered Accommodation. Armed with her Seven Rules, which she puts together after online research, Elvira hopes to learn how to navigate a world that’s full of people she doesn’t understand. Not even the Seven Rules can help her, however, when she discovers that everything she thought she knew about her father was a lie, and is faced with solving a mystery she didn’t even know existed . . 
All the other reviewers on Goodreads are glowing about this book, being feel good and inspiration bullshit. I have yet to come across another own voices review, so here's mine: I'm autistic (Aspergers side) and therefore this book is not meant for me. It very reminiscent of the "The curious incident in the Nightmare" (I mean to write night-time, I'm keeping that in), a book I despised for its ablelist bullshit. Even if he not autistic, its still horrible book of presenting my disabled peers.  I've rated this book super low for two specific things.

Ellie never disclosed to the reader what her diagnosis is. It's refer to only as 'her condition' and that is gutless. If you're going to write a book about Autism, do it. Don't be spineless about it. I am sick of coded Autistic characters without the label. There is not enough representation of Autistic Adults to go without it. The term neurodivergent or neurotypical is hinted with the wrong term of "NeuroNormal". This is the wrong term. Normal is subjective and is not found in science. The correct term is Neurotypical. People on the Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) like correct terms when comes to sciencey things like the brain typically, and the way Ellie is presented I don't buy use the term "NeuroNormal". Normal is a dirty word when it comes to talking about neurodivergent people. Maybe once upon of time, but as of 2016 when this book is based, No one uses this term. Also another thing to know that neurodivergent/neuroatypical is also used to describes people with mental health disorders and other learning disabilities. For example, someone with mild dyslexic would be consider neuroatypical technically. Therefore, not neurotypical.  Another random point, my autism makings me disabled, that is not a bad thing, it's just a thing about me.

Another big factor is there is random (trigger WARNING) sexual assault in this book. It happens twice, getting worst. Most women will experience sexual assault in some form in their life, from being slapped on the butt to worst thing possible, so realistic. But you can't bush past sexual assault of women considered mentally disabled. Sexual Assault and manipulation is a bigger problem for people considered disabled because they are vulnerable or seen to be. She doesn't tell anyone. The most that happens is someone guesses.This book is about learning life lessons, but she doesn't learn one from this. One of the next things that happens is she tells a strange man where her house is over the internet. Sorry, spoilers which I don't do in reviews, but I have to address this. I am going to do a video about this is Spoiler discussion about why in extreme detail about how this is done wrong because I can't without spoiling a big chunk of the book. I hate sexual assault being used as life lesson tool. It can be augured that there is victim blaming in this book also. She could have had that lesson another way, it could have stopped at one. She could have told someone. Sometimes books shouldn't be realistic, but the ideal and with the stigma about sexual assault, the representation is extremely important. How it's handled. Silence is might be realistic, but it shouldn't be.

Without the above, this book probably a three star book. But I rated it one stars after the first assault and so far I don't feel like changing that.

Now for my fun, less problematic and more just issues. Ellie reads Mills & Boon as 27 year in 2016, whose mother hates that sort of thing. Mills & Boons are an old lady thing and it is never explained why she would read them as 20 something. Romance books sure, I'm borderline Asexual and read romances. Lots of Aces do. (she repeatedly says she doesn't want a boyfriend). Yeah, ASDA still sell them, but why would she ever pick them up? Like I don't know anyone that reads Mills & Boons religiously in the that age group or even a few above it. I've read them but only cause an elderly neighbour gave me them. 'Chick-Fiction' seems more realistic, they are always on deal.

We going to just pretend that the term Autism is used in this book and talk about that. Ellie comes across as actually being high-functioning (I hate that term too, but there's not a better one to my knowledge) but she has been gaslit her whole life by her mother, whose an old lady at the age of 72 (I did the maths). I don't know how old Frances Maynard is but she comes as across as someone much older than someone in their late 20s, like at least a few decades. The relationship with her parents is interesting and probably best part of this novel.

So Autism, there are two autistic coded characters, our protagonist and someone she meets. There are the same, which equals bad representation. So...like I really can't separate their traits to argue they're not. Maybe this book is a little too much about her 'Condition'.

The writing is well done for a Début. I mean, if I hadn't blacklisted her in my mind, I would probably pick Maynard up again.

Overall, I give this book 1/5 stars for handsy "NeuroNormals". This may be a book about the Neuroatypical, but its not one for them. Therefore, I could never recommend it, but I'm don't absolutely hate it. This book will be compared to the "Curious Incident" and for me that's a real bad thing. That is not the book to based on what a book about Autistic person should be like. This probably does a better job of personifying them than that horrid book. My big tip is if you want to write about Autism, write about Autism, don't just thank the National Autistic Society in your Acknowledgements. Remember Autistic people will be reading and we will be taking notes.

My last few books I've reviewed, I have been tearing them apart for seemly small things, but small things can be important. Maynard also credits a few Maynard by Autistic people, which is weird that she missed a few things normal to Autistic/Aspergers life. Like neither coded characters have sensory issues. I have mild issues compared to others, but there still comes up in my life. It also like she never came across why Autistic people don't like to be touch or that it effects all senses: e.g. sound, light, and I've heard of people having taste issues. I'm going to go over this stuff in the video discussion.

I got this book for review (let no one say I'm biased in my reviews of free books) from Netgalley and it being Published by Mantle on

P.S. Can you tell I've censored the swearing?

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Book Review: S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett

Geer's attitude to fish is why we have an overfishing problem.


This idea was cool, but...disappointing? I was expecting more full-blown horror over having nightly dinners with drunk antagonists. Apparently, this was a thriller, a thriller that everyone liked. It literally didn't occur to me to ever label this book as such. I guess it is technically, there's a mystery in deadly situation. But...it pretty obvious from the start.

This book is told from a reflective Geer in first person, this mean once in a while we get a reminder than bad stuff is gonna go down. It hypes up to nothing in my opinion. Yeah, something happens, but its kinda small (in terms of books). 

The bad guys are bad, the main characters do stupid stuff for no reason. The ending doesn't work well for me. I have specific reasons, but we don't do spoilers here. They feels like this book had another ending at one point, because something that happens would have made more sense if the characters had done the more obvious thing. I really hope that things weren't changed to force a sequel because this book doesn't need one and the ending would have been stronger. Like I feel like its been set up for one, but I don't think there's enough interesting stuff going on for another book. There's nothing wrong with being self-contained.

We have another pointless romance. Why ROMANCE? This is weakly use to give character motivation, that's not needed, nor is it done well. It's stated. The motivation could have been about finding courage instead pairing up characters for no function.This is more a general YA complaint, I'm just going to complain until someone gives me friendship and and developed characters. I actually would have liked the relationships, the thing is this book just has a lot small scenes that overbalance it into the negative for me and with only 300 pages they have a big impact in my memory when trying to review this book.

Geer is all about the film references, since she named after film star. I usually enjoy this sort of thing; but it soon becomes apparent that this a crutch to cling to, using other people's imagery and emotions than your own ability. Also the youngest film she references is Twilight. 

I live in the country, I basically always have. Deer and pheasant are roadkill. If you're city folk, you might be horrified by shooting a deer, but pheasant are pigeons of the country in the same seagulls are the pigeons of the coast. Deer are counted as vermin due to how many they are. They like to jump in front of cars in pairs, like sheep. Pheasants choose to wander roads to be ran down and cause damage to cars. There a point where Geer (a name that never flows) picks up a dead pheasant, I thought it was alive, never questioned it until she started crying in her head. Pheasants are stupid, a pheasant would let you pick it up as it stares at its dead comrades. If I wanted I could catch a pheasant, I could with my bare hands. Literally, no reason to do so. Hunting Pheasants is the same as fishing in fish farm. I don't approve hunting without reason, eat what you catch and don't agree with some of the practices in this book but as a country girl I have kill pheasants and I will probably kill again (Stop jumping in front of my car).

Geer becomes dislikable when she doesn't care about fish...The one thing that there is not an over-abundance of (though, they probably farmed anyway).  Though, if your a city girl like Geer, you won't know this stuff so really this is just my pet problem. I often have those.

 The plot while interesting, makes very little sense. Modern society is bad, there clearly think its bad in several ways, but ends up being all about the internet. The arguments for and against the internet are hella weak. It involves the media's wrong definition of what an online troll is. Trolls don't specifically harass someone and bully. Troll is someone who intentionally annoying and idiotic, yes often offensive, but not towards individual people. The art of the troll is annoy large groups of people. If someone sends you a death threat or personalised insult they are not a troll. Sadly some people are just as dumb as trolls pretend to be. Though, it probably getting to the point that media is dumb enough that kept repeating that, the definition might have changed for younger people, but living with a 13 year old, I can tell you they don't call their antagonists trolls. It kinda felt like it was written by someone who doesn't use the internet (with research I can tell that this non-debut novelist has to be at least ten years older than me and therefore did not grow up with the sites that can be argued to have shaped the modern internet and might be like my sister who knows nothing about internet despite using it daily). The arguments are dumb because hate mail has existent since the start of anonymous mailing systems have and bullying has been a problem for like always. Geer nor any of the characters challenges this argument meaning it doesn't do much. Argument have to be challenged to stand at all. By the way, I would have took Vine out of this book, as vine has been dead for a year, there is no way it couldn't be took out. It just quickly dates this book. I wonder if Vine had a bigger part until it died or no one noticed it died (I got an arc but it doesn't have the Proof disclaimer at the front so...I'm going with its the finished novel).

There's an obsession with rich YouTubers...yeah some of them are trash, but YouTube is never defended as being more than a place for rich boys doing nothing and hosting viral cat videos. Its hosts several community involving intelligent discussion and artists as well. Also there are tons of daily vloggers that puts tons of work into their videos. I've been on YouTube for ten years and the target market will include people who remember YouTube always having been a thing for them. If this is gonna be such a thing in the novel, then at least give me a character that watches YouTube. Geer loves films, there are tons of films on YouTube and there is the more legal practice of reviewing and discussing films. There are groups of young filmmakers that make short films on YouTube. There are production value on YouTube. It would have better if anyone had challenge them.

Overall, I give this 3/5 stars for This is M.A. Bennett's first YA novel. This an okay, quick read that tries to place class snobby within the internet age. Secret murder societies in bordering schools are over done and the internet aspect just wasn't done well enough to be interesting. I think a big problem is this book is that it wasn't as cool as the summary made it sound and therefore I am disappointed. There were things I should have liked and enjoyed about this book, but sadly it was very whatever. It's an okay read, if certain things had been different it could have been brilliant.

BTW, I read this on my phone. I read books on my phone the majority of the time, phones are carry of media. Another argument that could have been used in their favour.

Update: I have access to the acknowledgements and pretty much confirms my suspicions.

I got this book off Netgalley for Review and it being

Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Reading Quest

Since I've decided to be in a constant readathon mode, I'm singing up for another one. Though this one is pretty cool. It based on video games and role playing.

#TheReadingQuest is a four week long challenge going from Sunday 13th August to Sunday 10th September, 2017 and its being ran by . There will eventually be a champion who will win a book and there also a specific Australian prize if you're located there. I'm not really in for wining (but I also love a free book). I just think this a fun idea. Here's the sign up page if you're interested.

EXP: 10
HP: 10
Level: 1










You pick a character and follow their Quest path. I have choose the Mage path, I'll probably do the Barb path if I complete the Mage despite them not touching. (This adorable art work was done by CW of Read, Think, Ponder).

TBR:
Main Quests
Mage
~A Book with a One Word Title: Girlhood by Cat Clarke, not sure if this a cheat or not but is girlhood is spelt with one word.
~A Book that Contains Magic: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Mass. This Quest is at the same time Toppe Tomes and I was planning to read this book for that.
~A Book Based on Mythology: Antigoddess by
~A Book Set in a Different World: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
~The First Book of a Series: Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Bard (in case I do get here & also likely to change).
~A Book that has a TV/film adaptation: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
~A Fairytale Retelling: Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
~A book cover with striking typography: Who Runs the World? by
~A book translated from another language: I'm Traveling Alone by Samuel Bjork
~A banned book: There's a few I own, but one doesn't call out to me yet.

Side-Quests
~Animal Companion: Zombie Vs Unicorns by Various. How could I not choose the National Animal of my homeland. It's also on the board
I'm going leave the other sides quests to chance for now.
~Potions, book by 2+ authors: 
~Time Warp:
~Expansion:
~Multiplayer: Probably a problem here. Does a toddler count?
~Grind:
~Respawn:
~Mini game:
~Open world:
Might do videos about this as well. 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Book Review: Spot the Difference by Juno Dawson

My own acne has got worst since I started reading this book. Am I cursed now?

Sometimes beauty is only skin-deep...

Avery has always suffered at the hands of bullies, so when she's given a seemingly-miraculous opportunity to join her school's 'A-list', she grabs at it with both hands. 

But appearances can be deceiving, and soon Avery's not so sure she likes this new verison of herself.

And it's only by overcoming her fears that she can learn the true meaning of being comfortable in your own skin.  

I hate Avery. She is literally the worst and I don't think she learns a damn thing. The thing she probably meant to learn is self-awareness. Avery has a major acne problem, the painfully kind that you should seek professional medical help about (she has), she thinks this means she would be in a "freakshow", while standing next to her best friend who has what would be classified as deformity "a funny little arm". Its ablelism like this that makes me think Avery is just jerk, from the very start.

The big problem is that I think Avery is a terrible person, she might be realistic, but even when I was her age (Also she seems more 15, than 17 years old) she would never I have been someone I was friends with or want anything to do with her. She obsessed with people she doesn't like. I will admit this is something I have related to and just find utterly baffling. Wanting to be popular and have friends I get, but why with the people who were horrible to you. Also Pizzaface is such a lame insult. She and the antagonist of Scarlett never seem that much better than the other. Even with the pain and annoyance acne can cause, I end up having no sympathy for her due her whole attitude and personality.

Miracle cure and she popular suddenly and still terrible person. Does the usual tropes, abandons friends, hook up with a hot boy, goes up against the evil popular girl for prom queen...I mean Head Girl. Avery abandons friends in favour of the people who bullied her, until its convenient to go back to the old ones.

This book also has some real dumb lines. During the discussion about whether Avery should take the new, experimental drug, this little exchange "No side effects; what have we got to lose?' She squeezes my hand tight. 'You, Avery! I have you to lose.' LOL. This is probably not funny to most people but I live in a house full of prescribed medication and with chronic ill people. There's like a billion steps before a drug goes to the public and no drug has no side effects.

I think the big problem is there is that the 85 pages doesn't give much room for a arch or character development.The ends comes off as having ran out of room, then wrap up for a happy ending with half arse lesson learned.

Overall, I give this 2/5 stars for jerkarses. I know Juno Dawson is capable writer and has wrote things with real depth. But I don't know what with this or the ablelist mess of "All of the Above".  Though, this is too an ableist mess. But hey at least I wasn't personally attacked for no reason. If I hadn't came across Dawson's short stories, I might be calling it quits on her. That being said, neither of the solo works that I have read by her are what she praised for. I will read another work by her. I probably won't buy any more of her books till then (which would be the responsible thing for the majority of authors on my shelves). Probably one of her horror effects.

On a random note, I saw the film 'Wish Upon' (2017) on Monday, and it reminds me a lot of this book. The way some characters are written and weird wants they have. 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Book Review: The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne

Ignoring clear signs of a haunting is bound to get you into trouble.

Eleanor, Richard and their two young daughters recently stretched themselves to the limit to buy their dream home, a four-bedroom Victorian townhouse in East London. But the cracks are already starting to show. Eleanor is unnerved by the eerie atmosphere in the house and becomes convinced it is making her ill. Whilst Richard remains preoccupied with Zoe, their mercurial twenty-seven-year-old lodger, Eleanor becomes determined to unravel the mystery of the house’s previous owners – including Emily, whose name is written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room.

This book is about a haunted house, but its not a horror book. It more about the characters and the effect that the house has on people.

The point of view changes amount the adults of the house. Its feel more like the women's story though.We have characters lives mirror each other, but made different choice. It was an interesting exploration.

The writing is third person, with focus point of view changing every chapter (I think). I enjoyed the writing style.

The ending is very anti-climatic. It was the natural conclusion of the book, but if you're ghost fan you might be a tad disappointed. This a character driven so the plot isn't really focus,

Overall, I give 4/5 stars for annoying neighbours. This is a odd match of a haunted house story with character study where choices lead you. I enjoyed it, if you into character stuff and more about the stain a haunting would have on the inhabits, this is the novel for you.

I got this book for Review from Netgalley and its being Picador

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Pain.

My mysterious illness has been replaced by joint pain. I got prescribled Paracepmal so that what I be taking for it.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Book Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Why talk to your family about any of your personal issues?

In the last days before her death, Nel called her sister. Jules didn’t pick up the phone, ignoring her plea for help.

Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules has been dragged back to the one place she hoped she had escaped for good, to care for the teenage girl her sister left behind.

But Jules is afraid. So afraid. Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of knowing that Nel would never have jumped.

And most of all she’s afraid of the water, and the place they call the Drowning Pool . . .


Paula Hawks has returned with about a pool, a drowning pool and the river that leads to the pool, the town next to the river, and I guess the people in the town. The follow-up to her popular debut, The Girl on the Train (reviewed). I am glad that this book wasn't titled The Girl in the Pool or do I immensely regret that it wasn't. It would probably be called The Girls of the Waters. Pool just sounds like holiday fun, rather than murder and death.

This novel is told in the point of view of a cast of  (over ten) characters. Jules, sister of dead Nel is probably the focus, but there is no clear protagonist. Most these characters are unlikable. All of them are, some of them are despicable. It was fine, but it was quite a detached affair. The pool was the focus, but also didn't feel like personification location. It was more just a lot of shit has gone down at this part of the river. It's conspiracy of a town, who cares about people's sad little lives and horrible personalities. There were attempts at redeeming, but I didn't care enough about these characters to care. Except for the few I wanted to die. This was more about the plots, which fine in a thriller especially when you are juggling so many characters to tell a story.

There are some similar plot motifs from Hawkins début, you argue repeating themes if you felt like it. There is several mysteries going on. The discovery of Nel's body in the river is the starting point, but its a track so we loop around a lot. Nel herself was interested in the drowning pool's history and mysteries, writing a book about them (which we do get excepts from), therefore pissing off the locals because everyone needs a motive. There is obvious red herring. There is some stuff in the plot that makes no sense, I mean people make no sense.

I now would like to randomly point out that a teacher having a relationship with a student is criminal offense under the The Sexual Offenses Act 2003 unless that student is 18 then it's a grey zone of probable firing (though can still be charged for). The teacher if caught would be put on the sex offender register. I can't imagine a way a teacher would not know that. (Once again if you're under 18 years old, don't trust people who are immediately interested in you sexually who are two years older than you. There is something wrong with them and I have not been proved wrong in this. Girls are not that maturer than boys, this is a myth that I won't get into a rant at the moment).

I listen to this on Audio book, with David Weyman, Imogen Church, Rachel Bavidge and Sophie Aldred. Like I said there is tons of character, so these actors just jump around a lot and characters have more than one voice actor, I guess the choice of having more than one came from them knowing it would make money and The Girl on the Train leading its self so well to having more than one voice actor and does gave the best distinction by actually having different voices to change to, especially as some characters are real minor and forgettable. They were all fine, we got a vast range of British Accents, though I did think Welsh which this book is definitely not set in Wales. It set in middle England or upper England. I don't know enough about English motorways or remembered the town's name to see if its a real place. Hours from New Castle or something. 

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars for missing jewellery. This novel kept me interested is what I want from Mystery Thrillers. While different from her debut (which is should be), it is of the same level as her last novel. Once again if you like thrillers and the idea of this plot, gave it a go.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Book Review: A Girl Called Owl by A.J. Wilson

When Monster High runs out of Monsters...

It's bad enough having a mum dippy enough to name you Owl, but when you've got a dad you've never met, a best friend who needs you more than ever, and a new boy at school giving you weird looks, there's not a lot of room for much else. 

 So when Owl starts seeing strange frost patterns on her skin, she's tempted to just burrow down under the duvet and forget all about it. Could her strange new powers be linked to her mysterious father?And what will happen when she enters the magical world of winter for the first time?

A glittering story of frost and friendship, with writing full of magic and heart, A Girl Called Owl is a stunning debut about family, responsibility and the beauty of the natural world.

This novel sounds like a cool concept and then you realise it about 13 years old. To be honest, I think making the protagonist thirteen years old was a mistake, it feels like she should be fifteen for some of the storyline. Her maturity is not of a fifteen year old (though she probably maturer side of some of the 15 yrs old found in YA) but is of a 13 yr old so she is written well in that sense. Parts of the storyline do match, but there was just a lot dancing around the birds and the bees.

The story seems to get lost a bit, then I started analysing the chosen villain and how the conflict makes little sense. I feel like it was added as a second layer because there wasn't a natural villain to push the plot and character development along. Might have worked better without the forced conflict. Some of the chosen mythology was just kinda odd to throw in without explanation. Like it took from Arthurian Mythology for some reason, whilst being based in fay with some own invention I believe (google shows nothing).  I now would randomly like to point out that May used to be the first month of summer, and any Queen associated with that month that is an old myth would be a Summer Queen, and therefore next to Autumn already. Basically, I would have liked more thought, or explanation of thought behind the mythology. There was suggestions to things that would have been interesting, but were just intriguing mentions.

There were important female characters in this book, but they're literally sat back and let the male ones rule the roost (for majority). Owl does have a girl best friend, but she was not there to add to plot/action as she is human.

The characterisation was consisted and decent for our main characters. But a certain important character's characterisation filp-floped so much that I for sure thought he had to be a different character. There is no explanation for this.

The romance is this book is very mild, but clearly hinted at. There's also weird vibe from it, because I have no idea how old this guy is next this thirteen year and I feel like there has to be two years at least with plot stuff, so that just humanly wrong (if you are 13 years old, please stay away from people two years or older than you. There is something wrong if they are interested in you romantically. This rings true till twenty basically) or he is immortally a thirteen year old and so is she so that might just be tragic. This could just me thinking way too much about the plot.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for accidental freezes. In writing a review of this book, I have probably thought too much about this stand alone book than it was ever meant to be thought about (if there is a sequel, it will lose points, if you say the end, then its the end). Its charming, middle-grade book, that I probably wouldn't recommend past that age, but for that age sure.

I got this book for review off NetGalley and Macmillan Children's Books.