The Alienist

      Prior to the twentieth century, persons suffering from mental illness were thought to be “alienated”, not only from the rest of society but from their own true natures. Those experts who studied mental pathologies were therefore known as alienists.

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FIRST OFF
Content/Trigger Warning: There are very graphic descriptions of the mutilations/violence/gore that happens to the victims in this book. There are multiple mentions of assault and rape and though it’s not too descriptive it does come up quite a bit. There are drugs and alcohol as well. Death. Lots of death and not just victims, you’ve been warned.

Still with me?

Let’s go

This is set in New York when Theodore Roosevelt was Police Commissioner, so it’s crime/thriller/mystery/historical fiction. And oh yes Teddy’s a character, it’s great.

Dr. Laszlo Kriezler is what they call ‘an Alienist’ in 1896, a psychologist. And though much of the story revolves around him and the investigation of the murders certainly revolves around him, the story is told from the point of view of his friend and Times reporter John S. Moore.

Blurb: The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

….It’s actually great being told from John’s point of view because John sometimes isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, so you’ll get what the Doctor’s theorized, so will others in the posse and you watch John slowly click things into place. Don’t underestimate John though because he has a certain quality of vulnerable humanity that we don’t get to experience intimately with Laszlo.

Laszlo has cooked up an idea with Theodore to have his own investigation as the police are not able to figure this out on their own, remember it’s 1896, their standards were so much lower, haha, and also Alienists, especially progressive men of science like Laszlo were not accepted by the general public, so, it’s even better; a secret investigation. He’s given two Detective Sergeants from Theodore’s division, Marcus and Lucius, Theodore’s secretary and longtime friend of John Moore, Sara Howard (also a gun-totin’ badass who intends to prove that there should be women on the force). There’s also the cast of Laszlo’s servants which give you the insight into the good Doctor himself which he so often keeps hidden.

The book is gritty it deals with plights that people forget were happening in New York, poor immigrant boys were having to do whatever they could for money, boy whores, and this one focus on those that either simply dressed in drag or in truth were only boys in anatomical terms only. I also love that we have characters that have sympathy and without judging too, there is one point where this horrible dirty cop keeps referring to one of the victims as ‘it’ and it’s so horrifying and degrading and suddenly John Moore’s just like ‘I’ll take none of that shit, this child wasn’t an it.’

I think it’s really important to realize that children were seen as little adults legally back then, they were just allowed to do these things because people didn’t realize there was a difference in the way an adult’s mind worked and a child’s. Mental health was something akin to like mystical voodoo (I mean to be fair we could use a bit more progress in this area still today).

John is amazing in the way that he goes to investigate these seedy establishments and he doesn’t bother to hide his face or be ashamed, he’s there to help, and he doesn’t care what other people might think of his personal habits.

Sara Howard is refreshingly aromantic. She has goals, they don’t include men (or women) but you do get the feeling that there may have been the possibility of her and John it’s not the focal point of the story. The most we get is John’s internal conflict of feelings and even then it’s not consuming the story and taking away from the plot.

I’ll leave you to discover the other characters.

The great part of this is that Laszlo is able to see just how detrimental childhood is, that it is often the root of how a ‘monster’ comes to be and stops at nothing to get his answers. He wants a ‘why,’ he wants to understand so that he can help others and that he can solve the puzzles of the mind.

Anyway, I’m just freakin’ gushing like a fangirl.

They are chasing down a man who by all reason should be insane, and they are going up against the prejudices of society who don’t at first care much for these victims due to their backgrounds. They’re doing it all by having to put together what they can and make a picture of their own. There’s corruption to deal with as well, dirty cops, organized crime and the suspicious mindset of the average New Yorker as they see psychology as an evil and unholy thing.

It is a long read, pagewise, for a thriller like this, I really didn’t’ think it felt like it.

Overall I give The Alienist 4/5 coffee cups as you can see by the rating under the book. I look forward to reading book 2 and for those who are interested, it’s also a show. It’s on UK Netflix and I think it aired on TNT in the states.

If you enjoy mysteries/thrillers then you’ll probably want to give this one a look, also I’m always open for recs!!

 

WWW Wednesday

I’ve decided to do another meme today, I JUST finished The Alienist and wrote down some thoughts on it so I’ll have that review up tomorrow, give you all a few hours, this is mainly more for me to do right now to keep up with my own goal of blogging. Today’s meme is brought to you by Taking on a World of Words!

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The 3 Ws this week?
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

  1. Current Read: The Parisians by Marius Gabriel40607584
    I got The Parisians as a free reader copy off NetGalley and I am thoroughly enjoying it, I really think it’ll be one of my better reads this month! We have a very different and diverse set of women in this book, young and naive, self-confident actress (who has a very emotional lover in a Countess), and even Coco Chanel herself, all set during WWII in Paris with a lot of the Ritz for a setting. It’s been really interesting but only about 30% through [26% to be precise!].
  2. Recently Finished: The Alienist By Caleb Carr



    I finished this about oh say….40 min ago? It only took me as long as it did because I had recently just seen this show on Netflix and had been thoroughly distracted by eARCs. I’ll have a review of this one up tomorrow, I freakin’ loved it. It was a great read for me personally! (Extremely graphic though so I will be putting a trigger warning, which I haven’t thought anything I’d reviewed so far needed one but I will double check and make updates/changes where needed!)
  3. What I’ll Read Next: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

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    I was supposed to start this two weeks ago, then I checked out The Alienist and got all those eARCs and I went nuts, like, kid in a candy store nuts. I’m actually about to start this right now…because who needs sleep? Amiright?

    So! Thursday expect The Alienist review (probably in less than 12 hours it’ll be up actually) Friday? HELL IF I KNOW, possibly another review [if not then, than maybe Saturday night, I got the Opera and Strictly Come Dancing Live to go to this weekend]

    Did you do the WWW Wednesday Meme? Share it in the comments! If not, feel free to tell me what your answers would be anyhow!

Top Ten Tuesday

Hi there everyone! Look at me, joining a meme, it’s like watching a foal standing for the first time lol.

Anyway this meme, Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you from ThatArtsyReaderGirl

I’m excited, I feel like I’m learning so many new things and meeting so many neat people, who I will call my friend against their wills probably, #creepy but #sorrynotsorry.

This has really been a crash course for me this week and there are so many things to try out and explore in this book blogging community. I’m so grateful to not be doing this all on my own! I’m getting mushy. Please make it stop. I’m ginger, I have no soul, this is painful.

ANYWAY. AGAIN.

Top Ten Tuesday, here are my top 10 on my TBR, in no particular order and with no guarantee that I will get to then in the next six months lol.

1. Dead Man’s Blues
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This is the sequel to The Axeman’s Jazz
It’s in Chicago this time, and Louis Armstrong makes an appearance again, I’m excited. End story.

2.Stalking Jack the Ripper
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I may have maybe should have already….read this. I will! I swear it! I have till February 21!

3.Le Belle Sauvage
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-Uhhhh His Dark Materials. ‘Nough said. But really, I loved that series so I’m SUPER looking forward to this one

4. Metro 2034
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-If you’ve read my review on Metro 2033, you know how much I loved it and this one has my fave character as the main focus, yaaaaas.

5. The Hobbit

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-It’s time to get my Tolkien on.

6. An Autobiography, Agatha Christie

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-The last nonfiction I read about her sucked marbles, so, I need this, this year lol.

7. The List

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-Seems interesting, but the reviews are super varied, someone help me out, I was excited but is it worth it? (This is why I try not to read reviews on Goodreads beforehand lol)

8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Original Screenplay

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-It’s on my shelf staring at me every day. Besides, at least I know what to expect lol

9. Good Omens

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-My husband gets to pick a book for me to read every so often and he thought I would like this one (actually he picked it 2 years ago, I’m that bad at procrastinating)

10. The Book of M

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-It had a pretty cover and the blurb about it really caught my attention. Another one though with some tepid ratings.

And that’s it for me, time to actually go read now, bahaha jk food first.

Have you read these? Anything I should know about them if you have? What are some of your TBRs you’re hyped for? Have a TTT list? Post it in the comments so I can see it!

I don’t know if there’ll be a post from me tomorrow as it’s the Hub-bub’s birthday [Oh yea, I call him that, it’s his name for me in his phone unless he pisses me off, then I change it to Heathcliff]

Thanks to ThatArtsyReaderGirl for the meme!

My Top 5 Sci-Fi Picks!

It’s Monday! I hate life, I get to travel for 2.5 hours for a just under 2-hour choir rehearsal on Mondays in the very very cold night. Monday is not my friend it is an evil monster.

Anyway, I’m not quite done with my two current reads but you all will probably get two reviews from me this week, so, there’s that. I’ll also be doing a couple of other things that will hopefully pan out nicely! The Alienist has been so far the book I needed to lift my spirits after a roller coaster of anger from The Memory of Lost Dreams and I’m so thankful for that!

So, my top 5 favorite Sci-fi novels? Well, I’m going to do a countdown of them!

So starting from the bottom up…..

5. Speaker for the Dead

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Some sequels fall flat on their face and who knows you may think I’m crazy for loving this one. I have to say I believe Ender’s Game does best as a standalone novel in my opinion but I can’t help but love this book. Because on some level, I needed it. I needed to know about Ender later on, and I needed to know that he would be okay (or to at least find out if he wasn’t going to be). There are other books I do enjoy in the Ender-verse but none of them come close to this one or Ender’s Game. I did put it at number 5 because I do recognize its flaws and again though personally needed it for some more closure, it really wasn’t necessary (and the others even less so despite my enjoyment of them).
4. Dune

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Okay, okay, I know, this is one of the best sci-fi novels in existence, it is one of the most famous ones, and it is amazing, I do not argue that there’s a reason it is on my list. Why is it number 4? I didn’t always appreciate Paul, I actually think his Mom is so kickass and his sister too, one of the reasons I want to read other Dune novels, but, I am hesitant to do so. I’m sure I’ll get around to them eventually. Why do I love it? Well hello, sandworms! Cool desert people, prophecized heroes, awesome fight scenes, and mysterious powers and happenings! Again it’s on my top 5 for a reason, and though most call Frank Herbert the Father of Sci-Fi…I think it would be appropriate to remember he is indeed not, [COUGH COUGH, MARY SHELLEY=MOM, COUGH COUGH] but he does give us our modern Sci-Fi and we should remember that!

3. The Time Machine

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Come on. How could I not add it? TIME TRAVEL, GUYS. [I’m a huge Dr. Who fan as well, so…again, TIME TRAVEL] I really feel that this was the prime of its time and continues to be the prime of ours. I urge anyone who likes Sci-Fi to read this. It also gives us a future that gives us a taste of Utopia on the surface (totally dystopian though, I love it, so much). Wells was ahead of his time, he thought of things that of course didn’t really happen literally but hit close to home in a way that I don’t think most saw coming. I had to rate this higher than Dune for one simple and important fact, I enjoyed it more. He accomplished more things in fewer pages than Frank did as far as making the read better for me.

Alright, onward!
2. Ender’s Game

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Predictable? Probably. I know without the other works before it that Ender’s Game wouldn’t be possible but it still ranks above them and is one of my favorite novels ever, I’ve lent it out more than any other book and recommend it more than any other. Reading this in middle school [Sixth Grade to be specific, holy shit I’m old], it changed my world. Someone had lent it to me, one of my closest friends who I still love and adore so maybe part of the reason I love it so much is because I associate with her but it’s also the book I’ve reread the most. This has such an impact on kids at that preteen-young adult age (on adults too I’m sure) it gives you this sort of hope, if you feel like a ‘Third’ your whole life until that point, that being different can be amazing, it can be hard but it could lead you to do great things [and to not be afraid for thinking differently]. Admittedly I am no longer a big fan of Orson Scott Card himself but I still adore this book. It gives you everything you want in a sci-fi novel and that ending, ugh that ending.  We watch kids do things that adults forget they truly are capable of doing, and we see strategy and aliens and space military school…<3 I will never NOT love this book….so what could top it?….
1. The Alien Chronicles

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That’s right, I’m cheating. Whatcha gonna do about it? Huh?? My first pick? The Alien Chronicles, only one of the most beautiful and well-written trilogies that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I read these just soon after Ender’s Game, lent to me by the same friend. These again just completely rocked my reading world. I mean these and Ender’s Game were pre-Harry Potter, so imagine just how crazy I was for them as we all -most of us- went crazy for Harry Potter! These, though not at all Christian, do have a very Moses/biblical like plot. We have the love between two beings, not quite sibling but more like soulmates in friendship, and then having to face them being ripped apart when one realizes their true past and the true history of what has happened to their enslaved people. The life that Ampris, our ‘Moses’ and Heroine, faces afterwards is everything that is beautiful and tragic and happy, I mean this trilogy brought me to tears and continues do so. The trilogy follows closely Ampris, her once beloved friend Israi, and Elrabin. The characters have so many emotions,  would say more so Ampris and Elrabin, they are full well rounded and just I can’t say enough about them, I’m gushing like the fangirl I am. This is called by some as a ‘Space Opera’ if you’re wondering more on the subgenre. I couldn’t just pick one out of the three, so I didn’t.

There you have it! My top 5!

Do you have any Sci-Fi favorites or recs for me? I’d love to hear them!

[I didn’t include Frankenstein because I still consider it more of a horror and overall I did not include Dystopia novels (The Time Machine was the closest one).]

Charity Shop Finds!

Hey all! I had no intentions of buying more books but I saw a couple I just couldn’t pass up and it’s 2 for .99p so….can you blame me? What did I score? Check it out!

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Coraline and The Graveyard Book. Tbh, these books look brand new and I loved the movie Coraline, I knew it was a book and I finally get to read it! Eventually, these will be more appropriate for my daughter but for now they go on my shelf.

What am I doing about now? Well, I’m really enjoying trying to be active in the bookblogging and bookstagram communities, and I am still reading!

Current reads:

The Alienist (1/4 done, and will burn through it without the other book I reviewed yesterday bahaha)

The Parisians (Just started and already I’m really enjoying the lightness of it and the ease that it flows with)

I am thinking about doing a list post, what do you think should I do my top 5 favorite (Spellcheck keeps insisting to turn me British. I WILL NOT ADD THAT U!) series or my top 5 favorite Sci-fi books? Let me know! And I’d love to hear about your current reads and/or charity shop finds!

That’s it for me, I’m pooped, I’m going to go roll up like a burrito in my feather duvet.

Toodles!

The Book That Gave Me Indigestion

I am going to start off firstly, by saying how this is not typical of me to be so worked up over not liking a book. And I usually don’t not like books either. I’m super easy going in my reading.

And the worst part is….this didn’t frustrate me because it was just horrible all the way through. It frustrated me because the Author had such cool ideas and then literally decided to not care enough to do his own creativity justice.

The Memory of Lost Dreams (In case you were feeling curious and/or a masochist)

My rating: 2.5/5 (It only got that high because I truly thought the concept was interesting)

Blurb: A dystopian novel set in a post-apocalyptic future. A young man, Malik, flees his village, stumbles upon a ruined city from the past and discovers REQUIEM and he is transported to another world. I mean it’s cool, this world is actually the past (or is it? I’m not spoiling it for those who are curious and want to read it). A Chief Overlord has imposed a dystopian culture on society and most seem to just accept it, but there is a hero amongst them and will stop at nothing to help the world and Malik is caught in the middle.

Despite this not being a first edition and not truly an ARC (Published in 2015 first), it was in need of some HEAVY editing. There were so many grammatical errors and they were enough that you were like ‘did anyone read through this beforehand? Did a seal edit this and its flippers caused some of these errors?’

Most of his writing is standard, easy/simple as if one might be reading a middle school level book (and you know what, it could easily be one with a bit more editing and some rewrites) but things would be written so awkwardly that you just ended up wondering ‘WHYYYYYYYY.’

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BUT THEN
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BUT THEN, this man comes out of nowhere and literally gives you some wonderfully written sentences with prose that makes you raise your eyebrows and nod quietly as you read it..I mean I don’t know how you’d nod noisily but that’s not the point. The point? It was hard to be thrown around like two authors were playing some prank on you because that’s what it felt like when the style had such an abrupt change.

TBH I’ve also never read such awkward dialogue, guys, it was bad, like you winced, because it felt so unnatural. And in fact, it was those parts that usually had me sighing dramatically as I checked the page counter. [431 pages, divided into 2 parts if anyone is curious] The characters use speech that is either too relaxed or dramatic depending on the situation and lord, my knickers were in a twist whenever Malik and Rachel spoke, it was like watching a train crash and being forced to keep watching it, unable to turn away. [Also on a small personal annoyance, I’m really annoyed that Malik’s karate instructor was named Mr Saito. Don’t ask why but it caused me to roll my eyes whenever it was mentioned.]

A lot of people complained about character development and I could see why but I do have to say something in defense of the Author at this point; his story wasn’t about the characters. It was about society, it was about the power of government and what is plausible if people let others take power and never step in. Not every story we read is about the characters, but, the others were right to a point, Malik (our main character) did not seem to grow and at one point in the book when one would think he would have matured he doesn’t. Not to mention he and the others are so flat, that with the fact that the rest of the writing is subpar, means that unfortunately this novel was a huge NO for me at the end of the day despite me really wanting to like the story.

I hope he does more editing, frankly, it needs to be rewritten but if he does and really works at it, I could see it being a pretty damn good novel, for now? I’m gonna go detox.

Great ideas, definitely a creative mind to come up with them but poorly executed.

[I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. I think we can all say my review was definitely honest.]

Just a General Update of Crap and Books

I wish I could have woken up feeling at least like I didn’t hate the world, but, not only did I wake up in my usual mood but I woke up at 4:25AM. THERE IS NO GOD/ARE NO GODS/I HATE EVERYTHING.

On that note, I was able to get some early ass morning reading done.

The Alienist is progressing, it’s a digital library loan so I actually have to really just pick up my feet and get to it, I’m enjoying it but it is essentially right up my alley so, no surprise. *I also watched the show on Netflix and loved it, but it is kind of a bummer to know the outcome, but also fun to see what’s different of course*

I’m reading an ARC (that’s not really an arc just a free digital copy) that I need to finish by the 5th but right now all it’s doing is causing me indigestion. Oh trust me you’ll hear more on that from me later and to be fair I’m like such a horribly non-critical book reviewer usually so, it’s gotta be somethin’ special for this chick to be like *Smashes head on desk*. A shame too because it has so much potential.

And five other arc/free digital copies to get to varying from like…next week to the 19th of February….Let me explain myself here

Have you ever gone to a buffet, saw all the gleaming, delicious treats and thought ‘Yes, I’ll take that and that and that….’ and your eyes were too big for your stomach?

This is me

I have done this and I have almost no regrets! You know, aside from the fact that I bit off more than I can chew, but I’ll get it done and if I don’t and drown in my own bad choices, you’ll know by the lack of posts as I’ll be dead somewhere, buried in a pile of e-docs. I would be boldface lyin’ if I said otherwise and please excuse my absence of the Gs on words, I am a trashy Southern Belle, I cannot be contained, jk, when I blog I type how I speak, trust me, when I write like a proper little thing, my Gs are there.

I need to read Stalking Jack the Ripper by 21 of February also and Becoming Obama is on my February TBR list and this doesn’t include things I just pick up, like a crow that sees something shiny, and start reading.

Anyway there you have it, I’m alive, my mug of tea is cold, I have used my plant’s dead flowers to make a pretty bookstagram picture, and I am going to go read more and pretend I got this handled.

Also, I’m looking for more blogs/bookstagrams/twitters/goodreads to follow, so drop a comment with a link!

TOODLES