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Book Review: My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

This book was so damn charming. It's a fun but scary read about two friends (best friends) who grew up together. They met awkwardly at a birthday party for Abby, where Gretchen was the only attendee. Abby was more worldly, came from the wrong-side-of-the-tracks, etc. Gretchen grew up in a white collar family, sheltered from anything that could possibly harm her. 

The book jumps ahead to Gretchen and Abby in High School. One night, while out at a friend's lake house, they and a couple other girls, decide to try LSD. Gretchen strips off her clothes and disappears into the woods. When Abby finds her, she's disheveled and visibly shaken. 

The friends head back home and Gretchen changes, dramatically. 

The novel takes place in the 80's in a private, Christian school. There's a lot of nostalgia in this book which makes it fun, the whole demonic possession makes it scary, and the relationship between the Gretchen and Abby makes it touching. 


Book Review: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood pays homage to Shakespeare's The Tempest in her latest work, Hag-Seed. Atwood's main character, Felix, is a top theater director who was usurped by his assistant Tony. Tony teamed against Felix and orchestrated his dismissal in a very humiliating fashion.

At the time of Felix's embarrassing exit, he was just starting work on his production of The Tempest to honor his daughter, Miranda, who died at 3 years old. Felix doesn't leave in tears, he leaves in red-hot anger. He then sells his belongings and moves into an isolated country shack for the next nine years.

This is very different from what I've read in the past from Atwood. This is an entertaining clash between Atwood's amazing ability at character development and a well known Shakespearean classic. One of my favorite things about this book was that Felix's voice in my head while reading sounded like David Rakoff, and that delighted me.

If you are new to Atwood, I'm not sure that I would suggest this as your first experience. If you want to dip your toe into some fucking amazing books, check out The Handmaid's Tale or The Robber Bride.

Hag-Seed will be available for sale on October 11th!


Book Review Quickie: Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett

Feminist Fight Club has some great aspects. Its funny, its spot on in many points. I think it really is a good guide for women entering the workplace for the first time. There are some excellent scripts on requesting raises and equal pay. 

My qualm with this book was that it pushes the definition of feminism past the equal rights to supporting only women. My suggestion is that when you read this, take it lightly. Accept the good but don't be crazy with it. 

Book Review: The Dollhouse: A Novel by Fiona Davis

The Dollhouse revolves around the legendary Barbizon Hotel. For those unaware, the Barbizon was a women's only hotel/hostel where models, editors, secretaries, etc lived in "safety" away from the men of New York. The narrative switches between Rose, a journalist in 2016, and Darby, a secretarial student in 1952. 

Rose lives in the updated condos of the Barbizon with her boyfriend Griff. She runs into a woman in the elevator that rarely speaks and wears a veil over her face. Rose becomes fascinated with the woman, Darby, who has such an air of regal mystery about her. 

Rose asks around about Darby and finds that she was one of the original residents of the Barbizon, currently living in a rent controlled apartment on the 4th floor. She also finds that Darby's veil covers a large scar that happened Halloween night of 1952. Darby ended up with a disfigured scare, while Esme, a maid at the Barbizon, fell to her death from the Sky Terrace. 

Rose becomes obsessed with the story of Darby, and crossed journalistic ethics to find out more. While Rose's live unravels she becomes more and more obsessed with the story of Darby and Esme. 

This was a fantastic read. It was a quick book, I gobbled it down like candy. It reminded me of The Valley of the Dolls. I loved the developing relationship between Darby and Esme. The end was a bit too quick for my tastes but definitely worth the read. 


Book Review: The Sixth Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

Anton returns in another installment of the Watch Series. Anton, having spent the last decade teaching light magicians instead of fighting dark magicians, is pulled back into the field to hunt a vampire who has been sending a message to him. 

While Anton is hunting down information to find the vampire, the world's prophets all receive the same prophecy at the same time. The message is cryptic but foretells the end of all Others, and then end of people. 

Sixth Watch digs deeper into the Others that haven't received a lot of attention in the series. We get an inside look at the dark magicians, witches, shape shifters, etc. 

I actually, just now, while writing this review realized that this is the last book in the series, which is depressing, I've been reading these books for years and rejoice at the announcement of a new installment. There are some bits that are very Russian, and maybe I don't get all the references because of that, but this is a fantastic series. Its a great urban fantasy that isn't a YA urban fantasy. The vampires do not sparkle. 

I highly suggest this series and must say that I will miss it dearly. 

 

Book Review Quickie: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

Boy, Snow, Bird came out a couple years ago, and the book world went NUTS for it. I tend to like things to cool off a bit before I indulge. 

We start the novel meeting Boy Novak, who is running away from an abusive father. Boy randomly selects a small town in Massachusetts as her new home. She slowly makes friends, slowly falls in love, then quickly starts her family. 

Her husband's first wife died shortly after childbirth. Snow, the first born, was immediately loved by the family. She was adorned, almost worshipped. When Boy gave birth to her daughter, she immediately turns on Snow. 

The novel switches from Boy to the daughter to Boy again. I thought the book was incredibly engaging, it felt like the author gave up on the ending. There is a very abrupt stop, with a dozen open storylines. I was completely shocked when I finished the book.

So, if you can easily let go of open storylines and just enjoy the ride, then this book is for you. 

 


How to Choose an E-Book Subscription Service - Guest Post by Cassie from Culture Coverage

Without a doubt, e-books are more convenient for the majority of readers, allowing them to read through several novels without any additional shelf space in their homes. Though you may not be able to find every book available in the e-book format, there’s no harm in searching for digital copies of some of the titles previously reviewed by iamjanesheart.com, as well as any of your favorites you already have in mind. Doing so on an e-book subscription service definitely beats paying for each title individually too!

 

For the avid reader, e-book subscription services are an excellent choice. Some allow you to access over 1 million titles for a low monthly fee, making it a cost-effective alternative to purchasing each e-book individually. Though you won’t get to enjoy that new book smell when you’re reading an e-book, you will be able to save some space and money when choosing e-books over physical copies.

With e-book subscription services, there are a variety of ways to enjoy the e-books and surprisingly, an e-reader isn’t necessary. Instead, you can use apps if you choose to and read on your smartphone or tablet. No matter which gadget you decide to use, here’s how to choose the best e-book subscription service for your needs.

Keep Your Interests in Mind

Though many of these services have a good variety of titles in different genres, certain ones are tailored to particular interests. There are a couple of subscription services that are more suitable for comic book lovers, for example, such as Marvel Unlimited. Thankfully, most e-book subscription services do offer free trials so you can browse through their selection before committing to the monthly fee.

It's generally a good idea to keep your interests in mind when choosing an e-book subscription service, so you don't find yourself missing out on a selection better suited to your taste. Browsing through each library of titles can help you decide on the best one, so you get your money's worth.

Check Compatibility

Most e-book subscription services can be accessed on your smartphone or tablet, but if you prefer to use an e-reader such as Amazon's Kindle, you might end up paying for a service you can't use. Unfortunately, not all e-book subscription services are compatible with the Kindle, but not to worry—Amazon has their subscription service that should suffice, offering over 1 million titles for unlimited reading (and for only $9.99 per month).

Scribd offers as much variety as Amazon does too, making it a great choice for avid readers, but unfortunately, it won’t support every Kindle device. It may be a good option for those using the Nook HD though, as not every e-book subscription service is compatible with Nook devices.

Be sure to check compatibility before signing up for any subscription service, as you may not be able to use the service on your preferred device.

Choose Wisely

Many e-book subscription services cost around the same per month (under $15) and offer a vast library of titles, so they really aren't too different from one another. Choosing one is likely to be dependent on your particular interests and what device you prefer to use. Some subscription services offer specific titles you may not be able to find elsewhere, but due to the low monthly cost, it may be worthwhile signing up for more than one, at least if they offer an unlimited plan.

Perhaps most importantly, when you're searching for a good e-book subscription service, watch out for fake websites and use common sense when downloading any e-books online. Sometimes downloads can contain malware, and using public networks to download anything can also be risky. Keep yourself protected with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to ensure that you don’t leave yourself open to cyberattacks while browsing the web for a good read.

Have you given any e-book subscription services a try yet or do you have any tips for choosing one? Let us know in the comments section below.

About the Author: Cassie is an entertainment blogger and internet security expert who enjoys a great book in her spare time. If you enjoy reading, check out some of her other posts on Culture Coverage.

Book Review: The Fireman by Joe Hill

This was an amazing read. At the beginning of the book we see an outbreak of an illness referred to as "Dragonscale". This is a disease which causes black and gold marks on the infected person and spontaneous combustion, which is clearly the most terrifying things ever. SERIOUSLY Google it.

Harper is a nurse with a heart of gold. She, of course, devotes her time to help the people infected by the Dragonscale, to the dismay of her husband. Its at the hospital that Harper first met the Fireman, he carried in a sick child who many refused to touch due to the infection. Harper jumped in saving the child's life.

One day a spontaneous combustion set off a domino effect and the hospital Harper worked at was shut down. As she walked away from the scene of the fire she spotted the Fireman again.

Of course Harper becomes infected, her husband freaks out and moves into a coworkers apartment. Harper sees the Fireman from time to time. He seems to be her guardian angel. Watching to ensure that she was safe.

The Fireman is an amazing book. You become completely absorbed in this apocalyptic novel with dashes of group hysteria and Joe Hill wit.

This is an absolute MUST READ. I refuse to give further detail. Get ready because this book will consume you.

Book Review: Fight Club 2 by Chuck Palahniuk

I have mixed feelings on Fight Club 2. What I loved was Palahniuk’s insertion of himself into the graphic novel… that’s great and it was funny. I loved that he had a bunch of fan’s show up to his graphic novel house and he asks if they’re looking for Neil Gaiman. What I hated … was everything else.

Palahniuk created this wonderful thing that my generation adopted and adored to the point of idol worship. I’ve read Fight Club multiple times, I’ve seen Fight Club more times than I can count. My website is named after Fight Club.

It’s not even that he fucked with Jack/Sebastian. It’s not that he fucked with the idea of Tyler. It’s that he put Marla Singer in a fucking pantsuit with a suburban life and a child. I’m sure dudes hold Jack in higher esteem, being upset that he became a cube-dweller, but I don’t find that shocking. It’s possible to me that Jack had this crazy experience and then went back to sleep. However, it’s out of my realm of understanding to accept that Marla Fucking Singer has a perfect house, with a son, and a babysitter, and a cell phone??

 

No, nope. I’m going to pretend this was a fever dream and that Fight Club 2 never happened.