The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotic

strange fascinations

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotic

By David Arnold

Genre: Contemporary

Publication Date: May 22, 2018

Bang Bang Review

OMG, where to begin.

I consider myself to be an intelligent person who can usually understand books but I DO NOT KNOW WHAT THE FUCK THIS BOOK WAS TRYING TO DO.

First of all the MC Noah is not the most likable character and I think he is supposed to be.  He’s written as this insightful deep thinker but he comes across pretentious asshole who doesn’t have time to be bothered with petty high school problems because his brain is full of Thoreau.  And then there were chapters all about him and how he thinks-OH GOODY, THERE’S MORE TO READ ABOUT THIS ANNOYING BOY. His best friends are trying too hard to be cheeky and cool but they fall flat.  Among the three serious conversations they have, they rest of it is just stupid observances and dumb pop culture debates.

This book is in the category of teens-don’t-talk-like-that.  I mean all of them “talk like that” including his twelve year old sister.  It says she’s in the eighth grade but her behavior is that of a fifth grader but then they say she’s twelve.  I work with teens everyday and an eighth grader is thirteen/fourteen.  This girl did not behave like the was about to go to high school.

The only good bit was the story Philip told about his brother.  I would have rather read that book.

I know this sounds bad but I feel like Arnold is trying to write like John Green.  He seemed to be trying too hard with this book.  Arnold is a talented writer and he has a lot to say; I just wish he would pick one topic and tell that story.  I just found this book meandering and boring and all about a MC that I didn’t like.  I honestly don’t know any teens who could stick with it.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbomb

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April Wrap up

Sadly, there were no bangs in April.

Please click on the book covers for full reviews.

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Interesting setting but the story was too familiar

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb


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Elementary writing; poor character development; awful pacing

Bang Bang Rating: bombbomb


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High school problems-No bueno

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb 1/4


grim lovelies

Plot moves too quickly and there’s not enough world building to connect to any of the characters.

Bang Bang Rating: DNF


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My co-worker and I have a challenge to recommend one book to each other.  Her recommendation was the first three volumes of Saga. I’ve read the first two and I like it so far.  Simple yet complex plot, great characters, and humorous.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb


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The plot was a bit obscure and meandering but I really liked it a lot and I plan to finish but these books are so LONG and I really want to finish Game of Thrones this year.  I might do this first because I don’t want to forget what happens.  I watch GOT so there’s no threat of forgetting.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb 1/2

Did you read any of these books? What were your thoughts?



May TBR

Leah on the Offbeat

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Leah on the Offbeat (Simon Book 2)

By Becky Albertalli

Genre: Contemporary/Coming of Age

Publication Date: April 24, 2018

Bang Bang Review

Firstly, I didn’t know this was a book 2 to Simon until I saw it on the cover. I figured the characters would be the same but I just thought it was a standalone.

Secondly, I’ll skip the plot synopsis because you don’t need that.

Thirdly, this will be the last book I read by Alberalli and here’s why:

I’m WAY over 18 years old and Albertalli’s books are not written for me.  Most YA contemporary are written for teens, you say.  Yes, but there are a lot of YA contemporary books that contain themes that transcend age and I think Simon did just that.  It discussed love and acceptance and friendship where as Offbeat discussed high school problems-prom and where will I go to college? I could give two shits about those things as I’m no longer in high school and therefore cannot relate.

I had an issue with the love interest because it seemed to come out of left field.  I didn’t see any hints in Simon but if I’m wrong, please correct me.

The whole Morgan is a racist thing was forced tension and took me out of the story.  I don’t think Morgan was racist; I think she said something racially insensitive and took too long to apologize.  In The Hate U Give, Star’s friend repeatedly said racially insensitive comments over time and she tried to justify her behavior.  Morgan said one thing and now all of a sudden she’s racist.  Many of us have said insensitive things; that doesn’t make us the worst name you can call a person. Anyway, it was forced and pointless to the plot.

Leah was a far better character in Simon.  She was insightful and witty and relatable. In her own book, we are stuck in her head all day and it’s full of tropey teen angst and bitchiness-what did she mean when she said that? Why did he look at me like that? UGH- TEEN PROBLEMS! Leah didn’t like her mother’s new boyfriend-how many times have we read this trope.  Leah’s attitude about this situation seemed out of character. Leah is supposed to be a cool chick but her attitude about the new boyfriend was that of a basic chick and once again-TEEN PROBLEMS! Albertalli offered no new insight on a teen dealing with her mom moving on.

Just like The Upside of the Unrequited, this book was not written for me and I couldn’t pull any relatable themes for a person my age.  There were too many characters to connect with any of them and the more round characters displayed no nuance-this includes Leah. Albertalli isn’t adding anything new to the coming of age narrative.  I do think teens will like it and I will recommend it to teens but not to adults.

Bang Bang Rating bombbombbomb 1/4

Devils Unto Dust

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Devils Unto Dust

By: Emma Berquist

Genre: Paranormal/Zombies

Publication Date: April 10, 2018

Bang Bang Review

After a virus killed her mother, Will is left to take care of her three younger siblings. Will’s father, a gambler and drunk, stole money from a zombie hunter and the hunter threatens to hurt her siblings if Will doesn’t return the money. Will hires two hunters to help her travel to find her father. Simple plot? Yes but there are a whole bunch of ways to screw it up.

Let’s begin by saying that this book is 500 freakin’ pages with a whole bunch of short chapters.

Devils began well enough with a teen girl who is left to care for her family in a zombie/virus infested world. There’s some initial tension build up but that fades pretty quickly as there’s little to no world building or nuanced characters.  We don’t learn what year it is until midway through and that’s not neccessarily a problem but it would have helped to picture the world since the author didn’t.  I hate when new worlds are told in first person! In some books such as Dread Nation, the world is info-dumped-no bueno.  In this book, we’re barely told anything.

Another problem with 1st person POV is that if the main character dies, the story abruptly ends.  At one point, Will gets sick and the author tries to create an intensity of her impeding death but we know she’s not going to die because SHE’S TELLING THE STORY!  Some authors have killed the 1st person POV but it’s at the end of the story not the middle.

The writing was elementary. There were several instances in the book where Will and her fourteen year old brother argue like children and not people who have had to grow up really quickly because their parents left.  “She started it.” Yes, this is a sentence uttered in this book a couple of times. There were pages of these pointless and juvenile arguing and it became comical and humor was not the intention of the author.  There was no substance to any of their conversations.  When characters are placed in a situation of dire circumstance, they often have strong opinions of life and love and death but none of that happens in this book.

If you are looking for a good book about the meaning of life and family and hopes and dreams with meaning and insightful dialogue and strong and special characters, this ain’t it. I don’t read a lot of zombie books but I’d recommend In the After by Demitria Lunetta or reread The 5th Wave.

Bang Bang Rating bombbomb

March Wrap Up-Any Bangs?

Hell NO!

March was a slow month for new pubs and my reading reflects it also. I didn’t feel like reading much so there’s that. As always, please click the cover or title for a full review (not all titles have reviews).

Because of my podcast with Roulette Reader, I try to only read books published in the month we are currently in.

Here’s our March best and worst podcast 

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The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Basic writing and weak character development.  This got picked up by Netflix-SERIOUSLY?

Bang Bang Rating bombbomb


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Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

A little sluggish in the middle but great character development and story.

Bang Bang Rating bombbombbombbomb


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The Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro

Cavallaro is a good writer I just wish she would focus.

Bang Bang Rating: DNF


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The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien

Unpopular Opinion Time-Lots of info-dumping. I’ll watch the movies but I won’t finish the books.

Bang Bang Rating: I’m not rating it-LOL


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Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Nothing new to see here folks but I liked the characters.

Bang Bang Rating bombbombbomb 3/4


April TBR

I’ve decided to start some adult fantasy and Robin Hobb came highly recommended. If I like it, I’ll read book two this month.  Roulette Reader and I have a challenge where I’m making her read a book and vice versa.  She recommended Saga, the first three volumes.

Sky in the Deep

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Sky in the Deep

By Adrienne Young

Genre: Fantasy/Vikings

Publication Date: April 24, 2018

Bang Bang Review

The Aska tribe and the Riki tribe are life long opposers and every five years they meet on the battlefield.  During the battle, Eelyn sees her brother she thought was dead fighting for the opposition.  Desperate for answers, Eelyn follows her brother only to find her self in captivity by the Riki.  In an effort to escape, Eelyn and her Riki captors discover a bigger clansman threat and must band together or die.

So this story is not new. We have a Katniss-like warrior who loves her people over all else and would never betray them.   They mourn their fallen while blaming the enemy never caring about killing the loved ones of their enemies that is until our MC is forced to live and get to know them.  There’s an enemy guy with a compassionate soul and a little boy who loves unconditionally.  Basically, it’s the last two episodes of Game of Thrones where the family squabbles are pointless when the white walkers will wipe everyone out if they don’t fight together.  What’s different is the setting-a Scandinavian type land.

We’re not getting anything new here but the writing is good enough to keep the reader interested.  The pacing however was a problem.  The first half took place over a matter of six weeks or so and the last half took place over six days.  I’ll use a GOT reference again.  It’s like when it took Arya seven seasons to get back to Winterfell but in the seventh season, it took Jon Snow an episode to get to Dragonstone.

There was a slow burn romance that was adequate and sweet. Have I shipped better couples? Yes but they weren’t the worst (Chaol & Nesryn-gross). Although I don’t understand going to war every five years because it’s just what you do, I didn’t hate it. Maybe that’s the Viking way and I don’t know my history.  It wasn’t nuanced enough to give it higher than…

Bang Bang Rating bombbombbomb 3/4

The Dance of Thieves

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The Dance of Thieves

By Mary E. Pearson

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Bang Bang Review

Disclaimer: If you are saying to yourself, “Self, I didn’t like Kiss of Deception even though lots of other people loved it. Maybe I’ll try Pearson’s new book.” You are probably not going to like Dance of Thieves because the tone is extremely similar to KOD.  It’s long, 460 pages, there’s a journey on foot early on, and there’s lots of story and character development. If you like plot driven story, you are going to think this is slow.

Now on to the review. It’s six years after the big battle and Lia is the Queen of Venda. She has an army called Rahtan and our main character Kazi is a member of that army.  Kazi was orphaned at six and grew up as a street rat in the Komizar’s Venda. She found herself in Lia’s army and a loyal servant of the new Queen.  There’s a traitor in a nearby settlement and Kazi and her five person crew must infiltrate, locate the traitor, and bring him back to Venda.

Jase is the new leader of his town and his family rules all.  When Kazi and the Rahtan come to his town, he wants answers but is soon publicly humiliated by Kazi and wants retribution.  Originally at odds, Jase and Kazi find themselves chained together by slavers and must rely on each other for survival.

I’m not going to give a long review but DOT has great character development in Kazi and Jase and Pearson is a beautiful storyteller.  The beginning is really strong and I loved Kazi and Jase. Kazi has a heartbreaking history and Jase transforms from a seemingly spoiled brat to a compassionate leader.  It did get a bit sappy between the two and I think it dragged a bit in the middle. This book could have been about 50 pages shorter.

If you are a fan of KOD, which I am, I definitely recommend Pearson’s new series.

Bang Bang Rating bombbombbombbomb