“The Red Market” by Scott Carney

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Publish date: 2011       Number of pages: 254

 

Red Markets : (noun) any economic system or economy that trades primarily in human flesh or human beings.

Buying and selling human bodies is fundamentally different than any other sort of commerce. Unlike black, white or gray markets, red markets exist in a different category because the product being traded cannot be valued in monetary terms alone. The value of human tissue is the value of life itself, and its costs are paid in blood.

 

There are the usual things you would expect this book to discuss (i.e.-kidney thieves, black market babies, etc.), but as I got into it I was more shocked than I thought possible at the depravity of mankind as well as the lengths people will go to make money. One particular story was about blood farms. I did not know such a thing existed. My disbelief was such that I had to put the book away for the evening.  I have worked in the medical field my entire life & most of that time was spent in labs with body fluids & parts. You always hear about these things, but it is nothing we see here in America. I respect the author for doing such a great job of investigative journalism & mainstreaming these issues.

 

I rarely read non-fiction, but this novel was far too intriguing to pass up. I had previously read “Stiff” by Mary Roach & it was very fascinating. Upon stumbling across this book I knew it was similar and had to read it. I am very glad I did! I highly recommend it & it is a short read, so

 

 

 

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“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs

 

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Publish Date: 2011            Number of Pages: 382

 

 

So let’s just get right into it. The plot is about a boy (Jacob), who grew up listening to his grandfather’s tales of peculiar children with strange talents. He grew up with these peculiar children in an orphanage in Wales before WWII. He left said orphanage to fight in the war & never returned. Suddenly one night, his grandfather is attacked & killed by a tentacled monster. While dying he tells Jacob to “… find the bird in the loop on the other side of the old man’s grave on September 1940, and tell them what happened.” Of course when he tells his parents this & said he saw the monster they send him to a psychiatrist, Dr. Golan. This doctor encourages him to go to Wales & see what has become of this orphanage for closure. I fear for saying more as not to give away the entire story.

 

As much hype as this novel got I was not dazzled as most were, it seems. I think the writing was good enough. I feel where it lacked was in the storyline itself. When you put a bunch of magical people together & have them fend off dark creatures (of course) I expect something big to happen. Perhaps even just a good old fashioned magical showdown. But no, the biggest threat was a wight with a  gun.

 

This may be blasphemous to say, but I’m thinking the movie may indeed be better than the book in this case. Of course it helps that it is directed by Tim Burton (& all of his bleak & melancholy éclat). I still suggest it as a read for no other reason than it’s easy  & enjoyable enough. Hey, if you end up loving it there are two sequels! I still intend to go see the movie soon because…..it’s Tim freaking Burton!

 

 

 

“Tales of the Peculiar” by Ransom Riggs

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Publish Date: September 3, 2016    Pages: 160

 

Hello lovelies! I have brought you a particularly fun & quick read! These are the fairy tales that precede the book “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”. I have embarked on  that book today and cannot wait for Tim Burton’s adaptation that comes out September 30, 2016. I like to read in order, so that is why I started with this book even though it is the most recently published. To get a better knowledge of the future you must look to the past of course.

This book is composed of 10 peculiar fairy tales. All teach a life lesson in a entertaining albeit dark manner. My favorite would have to be “The Splendid Cannibals”. I would say these tales are more for young adults rather than children though due to some of the context. The art is also something to appreciate. The illustrations are by Andrew Davidson & are stunning. Another enjoyable piece of this book was this page in the front matter:

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So, if you are in need of a quick fix that will leave you daydreaming I prescribe this book! If you have read it, let me know what you think!

 

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“The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins

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Publish Date: 2015        Pages: 323

I must say, I absolutely LOVED this book! I started it Sunday mid-morning & finished that afternoon (with some housework sprinkled in between). It is a very fast-paced novel, so I would be surprised if many prolong reading it.

 

The main character’s name is Rachel, but I feel like so many of the characters are “main”. I also fear to say too much because of spoilers, but if you don’t know already I will say it is a murder mystery. It is very raw, full of emotion, and the writer doesn’t gloss over anything. You get real life, as painful as it may be. There was only one disappoint to me & it is writing related. I think the author used some descriptive phrases over & over again to describe certain weather. I’m unsure if she had no other expressions, or did not realize she was doing it, but it was moderately monotonous. On the other hand, she did write this gem: “Hollowness: I understand that. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t anything you can do to fix it. That’s what I’ve taken from the therapy sessions: the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mould yourself through the gaps.”

 

If you read “Gone Girl” & thought it was a worthy novel this is even better, trust me. Sorry I can’t say more, but I would hate to ruin any part of it for anyone! Would also be a great book club pick!

 

 

“Year of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks

Publish Date: 2001        Pages: 400

This has to be one of my most treasured historical fiction novels, hands down. I have always been fascinated by the 17th century plague and its effect on the populace, so I was very happy to have come across this piece. I have not read any of other Geraldine Brooks’ books, but have always heard good things about them (especially March).

The novel takes place in the very real village of Eyam in Derbyshire from 1665-1666. It follows the fictional villagers for 1 year while they isolate themselves from the outside world after the discovery of plague in their village. The plague arrives in clothes a traveler brought, so the villagers believe. Once it arrives it spreads like wildfire. The main character is Anna Firth, a widow, whose house the traveler stays at. She is a very kind woman, but did not seem like a strong character in the beginning. Of course that changes, but it takes some time. She along with a few other women are more rational than almost all of the male characters & hold the village together as best they can. The more I think about it, the more I realize this is a very feminist piece of literature. This novel definitely strips humanity to its core. Much like caged animals being poked with sticks, I was always amazed by the deranged things the villagers would do in their lunacy. Some of it was kind of hard to digest.

This novel is also very fast-paced. All of the things that happen in the span of 1 year will definitely stick with you after you are finished. The characters may be fictional, but the isolation they committed themselves to was real & genuine. If you love historical fiction, this novel is not to be missed!

“The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss

Pages: 662  Publish Date: 2007

About the novel~This is a sci-fi/fantasy novel which happens to be my favorite genre. It is the first in a 3 part series called The Kingkiller Chronicles. There are a couple of very interesting things this series has going for it apart from being exquisitely composed. First, it is a story within a story. Second, this novel is Day 1.

In an attempt to explain these things better, Day 1 is the day Kvothe began telling his history to a man named Chronicler. As you can probably tell by his name, Chronicler is just that. His job is to “collect” stories, and Kvothe’s is one of myth & legend. So the story within the story is the one he tells us about his extraordinary life, yet there are sporadic real-time events in play as well.

In my own words~This is the tale of a man named Kvothe. A man who came from a great, albeit very unique troupe of gypsies, became an orphan without a face in unforgiving world after tragedy (of course), then became the most gifted young magician. His story is fascinating & very noteworthy.

Patrick Rothfuss has made me love several characters apart from the protagonist. There is Denna, Wil, Simon, all of the damn professors, and the girl beneath the school, Auri. Patrick has also written a novella about Auri’s life, so I can’t wait to read that. She is a very curious character. There are also the mysterious Chandrian. These are the demons who have murdered Kvothe’s troupe & they are his primary focus. He spends his time in college trying to learn as much about them as possible. As I read this novel I began to feel how mystical they were & like Kvothe, wanted to know more.

I will say the reason I read this is because a friend that worked at Barnes & Noble at the time told me, based on my taste, I can’t go through life without reading this. He was more than right. Patrick Rothfuss is a surprisingly underrated writer. The plot, protagonist, and character development is comparable to G.Maguire, L.Grossman, & S.Clarke.

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