Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

411321Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
Publisher/Year: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999
Format: Paperback
Pages: 297
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟



She’s a fashion model who has everything: a boyfriend, a career, a loyal best friend. But when a sudden freeway “accident” leaves her disfigured and incapable of speech, she goes from being the beautiful center of attention to being an invisible monster, so hideous that no one will acknowledge she exists. Enter Brandy Alexander, Queen Supreme, one operation away from becoming a real woman, who will teach her that reinventing yourself means erasing your past and making up something better. And that salvation hides in the last places you’ll ever want to look.


What I thought

This was, without a doubt, the wildest book I have ever read. I’m still not sure how to put my feelings about this book into words. All I can say is that I enjoyed this trip/train wreck immensely.

If you need to have a linear plot when you read a book, you will not enjoy this. The plot was all over the place, back and forth, and it takes a while to get some idea of what’s happening. And I know that doesn’t make this book sound good, but it really was awesome. I loved that it was all over the place. As soon as you think you know what’s going on, you don’t…I promise.

Then, there’s the shock factor. Some people like it, others don’t. Especially in the second half, I felt like at least once a chapter, I would loudly gasp and exclaim some variation of “WTF.” At times, it was shocking, surprising, vulgar, gory, and hilarious. It was weird, and it was different from anything I’ve read. I loved this book!

I will say, I think I could only read a book like this once in a while. I’m really glad I finally gave Chuck Palahniuk a try. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one, and now I know that, given I’m in the right mood, he is an author I’d like to read more of.

The Pagan Lord (The Saxon Stories #7) by Bernard Cornwell

21547833The Pagan Lord (The Saxon Stories #7) by Bernard Cornwell
Publisher/Year: Harper, 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 299
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟



At the onset of the tenth century, England is in turmoil. Alfred the Great is dead and Edward, his son, reigns as king. Wessex survives, but peace cannot hold: the Danes in the north, led by Viking Cnut Longsword, stand ready to invade and will not rest until the emerald crown is theirs.

Uhtred, once Alfred’s great warrior but now out of favor with the new king, must lead a band of outcasts north to recapture his old family home, that great Northumbrian fortress, Bebbanburg.

In The Pagan Lord, loyalties will be divided and men will fall, as every Saxon kingdom is drawn into the bloodiest battle yet with the Danes: a war that will decide the fate of every king, and the entire British nation.


What I thought

I can’t help it–I just love these books. I will never tire of Uhtred’s story. Yes, they might be formulaic, and The Pagan Lord is no different, but to me, it’s comforting. I might go into these books with a general idea of what to expect, but Bernard Cornwell always includes enough twists & surprises to keep the story moving and to keep me coming back for more.

I have loved each book of the series so far, but some of them have been my favorites, and The Pagan Lord is one. I can’t really say why, other than the fact that every time I picked up this book, I just sunk into the story and couldn’t put it down. I loved reading Uhtred’s perspective in this installment particularly. He has become quite the cantankerous “old” man, but he is still the clever and wily we’ve been reading about all along.

All in all, this was another outstanding addition to The Saxon Stories. I will say that I am very glad that I have the next book waiting for me because that ending? That was the biggest, most shocking, and most heartwrenching cliffhanger of the series thus far! On to book #9!

The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer

TheSeaWasaFairMaster_CoverThe Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer
Publisher/Year: Unnerving, 2018
Format: E-book
Pages: 83
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟


Summary (from author)

The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.

The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, riding the currents of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. There are tales of murder, death, loss, revenge, greed, and hate. There are also tales of hope, survival, and love.

For the sea was a fair master.

CalvinDemmer_PhotoAbout the Author

Calvin Demmer is a dark fiction author. His debut collection, The Sea Was a Fair Master, was released in June 2018. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe. You can find him online at or follow him on Twitter @CalvinDemmer.



What I thought

This was my first time reading flash fiction, and I’ll be totally honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m all about development, so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about stories that were all less than 5 pages long, especially stories from several of my favorite genres. But I have to say, these were pretty darn good stories! As with any collection, I prefer some over others, but I really did enjoy a majority of them. Since they were so short, I wanted to take my time with them, so I only read one or two per day so that they would linger with me. And I’ll tell you what, Demmer really knows how to pack a punch in just a handful of words! Overall, I was truly impressed. I’m definitely curious to see what this author could do within the realm of short stories or even with a novel!

Thank you very much to Calvin Demmer for providing me with a digital copy of this collection in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my review.

Miss E. by Brian Herberger

30520466Miss E. by Brian Herberger
Publisher/Year: Birch Cove Books, 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 250
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟



Being the new kid in town is a way of life for Bets, but moving to California in 1967 is different. Her father leaves for the war in Vietnam, her history teacher gives an assignment that has the whole school searching for clues, and the town’s most mysterious resident shares a secret with Bets that has been hidden away for decades. When a peaceful protest spins out of control, Bets is forced to reconsider how she feels about the war her father is fighting and her own role in events taking place much closer to home.


What I thought

This book is, hands down, without a doubt, one of the best books I have read thus far in 2018. Set in the late ’60s in California and being a coming-of-age tale of sorts, this book seriously has my name all over it. I’ll be honest, I went into reading this with high expectations. I mean, with that stunning cover, how could I not? I’m happy to say that Miss E. went above & beyond my every expectation. It truly baffles me that this novel is not more well-known.

I loved so much about this book that I’m not quite sure where to begin. I guess I’ll just dive right in. Bets is one of the most authentic and endearing characters I have ever read. It was an absolute joy to read along with her journey. Good character development is one of my favorite features of a good book, and Bets’ growth throughout the story just hit the spot for me. She felt genuine and her development felt natural without feeling preachy. I just found out that we are going to see her in a sequel, and that makes me so unbelievably happy.

Miss E. wouldn’t be Miss E. without Miss E. I won’t give anything away, but she is one of my personal heroines. While reading about the various adventures that Miss E. and Bets had, particularly a few involving the sky, I just couldn’t help but imagine how thrilling that would be. On another note, I feel like Herberger absolutely hit the nail on the head with her characterization. She is just how I imagined she would be, and even just thinking about it now makes me feel all kinds of warm & fuzzy. And her scene in the last chapter? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have tears on my eyes and a big old smile on my face.

In addition to the major players, the minor characters were a delight, as well, with my favorites being Mr. Flynn, Emmie, and of course, Bets’ parents.

As for the plot itself, there wasn’t a moment I didn’t enjoy. This time period is one I’ve often wished that I could have lived during, so even just reading about Bets and her friend eating pizza at Sonny’s was wonderful to me. The story moved along in a easygoing way, and it really felt like a good summertime read. Not to mention, this was one of the most unique stories I’ve read in quite some time.

Overall, I could go on and on and on about Miss E. It moved me so much that I now consider it one of my all-time favorite books, and I know it’s going to stay with me for quite some time. Just take it from me, if this book sounds at all interesting to you, please please please read it. This is a special book that needs to be read. As for me, I’m going to need my own copy of this for my shelves, and I will be anxiously awaiting the sequel!