Thursday, November 12, 2015

Psychiatric Tales by Darryl Cunningham

Psychiatric Tales is a graphic novel about the experiences that a mental health nurse had while he worked in a psychiatric ward. The book is divided into eleven sections, each with its own topic regarding mental illness. I am very interested in the topic of mental illness and have previously taken two courses on abnormal psychology in college and have done other reading on the topic. That being said, this book didn't tell me any new information, except for the few unique cases that the author personally experienced. 

This book is intended to be "stories about mental illness," but in reading it, it seems much more like textbook information on each mental illness with a few short mentions of personal cases. The information is all relevant and could be useful to people just starting to learn about mental illness, or ones who need to learn to be more sympathetic towards people who have these illnesses, but to those who are seeking this book out because they want to hear more about the topic and have been interested beforehand, it is probably just previously-learned information. 

I didn't think this book needed to be in graphic novel form, as many of the images didn't add anything to the text, and the text was basically just at the top of each box with the illustration underneath. It does make the book a very quick read, very easily done in one sitting. The drawing style is one seen in other graphic novels, such as Persepolis (which is even mentioned by the author as an inspiration for this book), but I felt that it wasn't executed as well as Persepolis and others like it were. 

Overall, it wasn't a bad graphic novel, but it didn't capture me in any way. If you are looking to find out basic information on mental illnesses, this would be a good resource to start with, but if you already have a good grasp on the subject, there won't be much (if any) new information here. 

Rating: 3/5 stars

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Synopsis: Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. 
Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. 
But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves. 
From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.


Review: I enjoyed this book, for the most part. At first, it was somewhat difficult to get into it, but once the story picked up, I sped through the rest of it. This is an interesting story on time travel, especially because of the fact that the group of people travels once, and cannot go back to the time they were from originally. The story obviously brings up many questions about time travel and how time works in general. It definitely is a book that makes you think.

The characters were likable and relatable, yet they do seem a bit underdeveloped for most of the book. There is a lot of potential for their own backstories to be expanded upon even further, especially the main character, Prenna, and her family. 

The plot was very interesting, especially once I got further into the novel. It is not a simple plot, which is expected with most time travel books. I enjoyed where the plot went, yet some parts of it almost felt too convenient to happen the way they did. 

Overall, I did like the book, but not as much as I have liked other books by Ann Brashares. If you want to read an interesting time travel novel, I would recommend adding this one to your list. 

This ebook was provided to me through Netgalley. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Synopsis: Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.


Review: Bethany Griffin has impressed me once again. I loved her books Masque of the Red Death and Dance of the Red Death (inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe story "The Masque of the Red Death") and I looked forward to reading another Poe-inspired book of hers. Going into this book, I had high expectations, and it exceeded them.

The chapters in this book are very short, and are one-scene snapshots of the main character's life. This makes the book a very quick read, and kept me saying to myself, "Just one more chapter and then I'll go to bed." I really enjoyed how the story was laid out through skipping around in time. I felt that the format really worked for this book, and it helped build the story and the suspense. 

The plot itself is very close to "The Fall of the House of Usher," while also building upon that story, so as to not be a copy of the original work. I was really glad that it stayed true to Poe's story, and it was more like an expansion of the story (in an extended universe way). I was definitely impressed by this execution. It kept me hooked the whole way through, even though I already knew what ultimately happens in "The Fall of the House of Usher." 

Overall, I loved this book. I can honestly say that I have no complaints and cannot think of one thing I would change about it. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Synopsis: This story of a woman's struggle with oppressive social structures received much public contempt at its first release; put aside because of initial controversy, the novel gained popularity in the 1960s, some six decades after its first publication, and has since remained a favorite of many readers. Chopin's depiction of a married woman, bound to her family and with no way to assert a fulfilling life of her own, has become a foundation for feminism and a classic account of gender crises in the late Victorian era.


Review: I read this book for my American Realism and Naturalism class, and this book alone makes me glad I took the class. The text gave the class many great discussions, and I feel that this is a book that you will get the most out of if you have someone to discuss it with. 

The plot, at first glance, may not seem entirely engaging, but the beautiful prose and underlying message add a great amount of enjoyment. As a Victorian woman stuck in a marriage and life she is not happy with, Edna begins to make her own choices regardless of how others may feel about them. The reasoning behind this leads to a great amount of discussion about feminism. Throughout the book, I made numerous notes on specific quotes and entire sections that help prove the point that women are human, and are neither possessions nor something to be controlled. 

I felt that I could relate to Edna, even though I am not a Victorian woman stuck in a loveless marriage. Her feelings are genuine, and they are worded in such a way that gets the reader to think about what these feelings mean, for Edna and women in general. If you have a simple grasp on feminism and what it stands for, you will easily be able to pick out the parts in the book that are a beautiful addition to feminist literature. 

Overall, I greatly enjoyed all of this book. It was never dull or unpleasant to read. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially those interested in feminist literature. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

I'm Back!

Hello everyone!

I have spent some time away from this blog because of various reasons, and I recently have decided to get back into book reviewing and blogging. I am going to try to review as many books as I can and keep this blog updated.

If you would like to contact me, please email me at