IMG_57271070Treadmill

I recently read Treadmill by Warren Adler, and this book was unlike anything I’ve ever read before. That may be because I rarely read government/conspiracy/psychological thriller mysteries, but now that I’ve done so, I can tell you I’m never going back.

Some of you may know Warren Adler by his famous novel, War of the Roses, which was adapted into a film starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito in 1989. Although I have yet to read War of the Roses, I’m definitely going to now that I’ve read his latest page-turner, Treadmill. Similar to many of you, when I read book reviews online, I want to know first and foremost what the reviewer rated the book. So if you want to skip a detailed (yet non-spoiler) review for this novel, I’ll tell you right now I gave this book a 4/5 stars. It’s a good book. It really is.

I’m going to break up this review into chunks, and review each aspect of the book. First and foremost, let’s talk basic plot.

Treadmill follows Jack Cooper, a man in deep desolation. To say he’s an unhappy man is an understatement; he lost his job, his wife left him, and his mother recently passed away. To cope with the immense pain, Jack goes into isolation. The only things that keep him company are his books and his daily trips to the Bethesda Health Club. For months, Cooper doesn’t let anything get in his way of falling into complete oblivion, until he meets Mike Parrish. As a baby, Parrish was abducted and passed around. He has no real identification or records of being alive. According to the government, Parrish doesn’t exist. So when he suddenly goes missing, Jack gets sucked into a world-wind chase to find out what happened to Parrish. What he gets in return is a lot more than he bargained for, and he starts to realize nothing is as it seems.

Characters

Although from the synopsis of this novel it seems there are only a few characters, many more get introduced as the story unravels. The protagonist, Jack, is a man a related with even though we technically have very little in common. I’ve never been through divorce, I’ve never had a career, and thank God my mother is still alive and well. However distanced Jack and I are as people, the way Warren wrote about him, especially his struggles with depression, I could connect with on some level. Adler wrote him in a way in which I couldn’t help feeling immensely sorry for his routined existence, yet at the same time I also developed a lot of respect for Cooper. Overall, I’ve never read about an individual like him and he drove the plot in a unique way.

The other characters that popped up in the story were interesting, as well. I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t give names or their relations to Cooper, but I will say each character was multi-dimensional and added something to the story. Sometimes I got them all confused and jumbled, especially since for a majority of the book some of them were only discussed in Cooper’s mind and little interaction really occurred, but nonetheless they were entertaining and vital to the story.

Plot

At first I thought, who in the world is going to be able to write about a gym and its members in an interesting way? Well, Adler’s done it. I liked how a lot of the story was centered around the Bethesda Health Club. It was a unique twist on a psychological thriller that I’ve never experienced before. The plot itself was engaging and quick-paced. There was always something happening, and Cooper was always coming up with new ideas or conspiracies in his head. Reading this book was a breeze in the sense that it just flew by. The content wasn’t necessarily light and fluffy at all, but the pacing was high in energy and before I knew it, I was closing in on the last chapter. The one thing I can say about the plot of this book was that it really was unique. I don’t know how else to describe it really, but it was fresh and new to me, and definitely kept me on my toes. I also think I should mention that this book includes mature content. I usually don’t like to stamp an age on novels, but I would recommend not giving this to anyone below the age of 16 or 17. Even then, for some readers that may be a little too young.

Writing

I think it’s fair to say that Warren Adler has established himself as an accredited writer, but this book further proves it. I found a few grammar/punctuation mistakes in the novel that I was surprised by, but that seems to be an editing mishap over anything else. Warren has a really poignant writing style that really gets you into the minds of his protagonists. He uses great language and is incredibly good at setting a scene. This book is a lot more character driven than anything else, but he’s very good at getting into the minds of people, so it was successful. All in all, I think it’s fair to say Warren Adler is a very talented writer. His work with Treadmill was no exception.

So why not 5 stars then?

It may seem like I think this book is flawless, but that’s not the case. Although I think it’s a unique portrayal of the life of a seemingly invisible man in Washington DC, I did have a few problems with it. Sometimes I found the story a little too complicated to follow. Not everything always fit together and it left me wondering if some plot holes would be filled. In addition, whenever there’s 2 or more editing mistakes, that automatically sticks out in my head as a red flag. Lastly, I guessed some of the plot twists throughout the book. Not all, by any means, but some. I usually only give psychological thrillers a 5/5 stars if I’m shocked by the ending. For Treadmill, that wasn’t entirely the case.

Overall, this book is a great read. It’s quick, interesting, and probably not something you’d usually read. I highly recommend sitting down with it during an afternoon where you want to enjoy some intrigue and unsuspecting story-telling. Luckily for my blog followers and YouTube subscribers, 17 of you will win a free copy of this book!

There will be two individuals that win a signed copy of Treadmill, and then 15 individuals that win free e-copies! I don’t think I’ve ever done a giveaway this big and I’m really excited to share this story with you all! If you’d like to participate you must…

1) Be 18 years or older, or have permission by your guardian(s).

2) Be a subscriber to my YouTube channel.

3) Follow me on Twitter (@abookaffair) and Instagram (@alitajoy).

4) Comment below on my VIDEO REVIEW for this novel (on my YouTube channel) and state that you want to be in the running to win a copy of the novel.

The first two individuals that win will receive the hard-copies, and then the next 15 will win e-copies! You have until March 16th, 2015 to participate in the giveaway.

If you don’t win a copy and still would like to purchase the novel, click below:

http://www.amazon.com/Treadmill-Warren-Adler/dp/1634617762/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425801400&sr=8-1&keywords=treadmill+warren+adler

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Wow. I finished this book a few days ago, and I’m still thinking about it. Honestly, it’s still keeping me up at night.

Sharp Objects is Gillian Flynn’s first novel, but she is most well-known for her third novel, Gone Girl, which has now been made into a movie with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. I saw the movie a few weeks ago, and was amazed by the writing and plot intricacies. Mrs. Flynn  wrote the screenplay for the movie, and I knew the book was a great success, so I wanted to read more of her work.

I decided to start with Sharp Objects just by virtue of it being her first novel. Let me tell you, it was damn good for a debut. It was just damn good overall.

The story follows a woman named Camille. She’s a mediocre reporter from Chicago with a rocky recent past, and dysfunctional childhood. She’s sent back to her small and eery hometown of Wind Gap to report on the kidnappings and murders of two young girls. As she tries to write stories on the victims, Camille’s personal life and the murders overlap into a twisted mystery.

First and foremost, my rating of this book is 4.5/5 stars. I rounded it up to 5 stars on Goodreads, but my initial rating was .5 less stars and I’ll get into that.

The writing made this book what it was. Gillian Flynn has a knack for writing about twisted women. Camille really came to life off the pages of the book. Other important characters, like Camille’s younger stepsister Amma and her mother Adora, were so well crafted and so unique that I found myself completely entranced in their backgrounds and development.

The plot was enthralling and demented and uncomfortable. I usually only have time to read at night, so it took me a while to get through because I couldn’t read more than 2 or 3 chapters at a time. I would be laying in bed reading, and I would get so wrapped up in the story that it would feel as if the characters were in my room, talking to me. With a book like this, that is not what you want right before bed, trust me.

The development of Wind Gap really relied on the development of the characters. Because this is contemporary adult mystery and doesn’t require specific “world building” like a fantasy story does, the characters really dictated how I pictured Wind Gap in my mind, and that was a good thing.

The one problem I had with this book was the ending, which included the major plot twist. It all felt a little too abrupt to me. Everything wrapped up in a chapter or two, and I really would’ve liked to see more elaboration on the end of the story. In addition, I had figured out who the murderer was half-way through the story. The way in which she revealed it was unusual, but I also wasn’t very surprised with the actual content.

In all, I don’t have many specific things to mention about this book. It was really, really good. It was a short book, but it was jam-packed with entertainment and shiver-worthy writing. Check this book out if you want to read something quick, dark, and riveting. I’d recommend having something light-hearted to read or watch in between the chapters of this book, though. Especially if you’re a night owl reader like me.

Hooray! Today another video review went up on YouTube for The Whispers of the Fallen by J.D. Netto. In addition to reviewing the book, I am also hosting a giveaway to all my viewers – both within the U.S. and abroad! Make sure to participate in the giveaway by November 4th, 2014 for a chance to win your own copy of The Whispers of the Fallen.

Now, in addition to posting my video review of this novel, I also want to write out my thoughts. I often prefer reading written reviews over videos. I also like the written reviews to be SPOILER FREE, quick, and to the point. I just want to know… Should I spend my time reading this book? I hope I can help you answer that question today.

My rating for this novel was 3.5/5 stars. I liked this book. I really did. But it didn’t “Wow!” me. I was satisfied and intrigued, but I wasn’t completely enraptured in it. It definitely served its purpose as a pre-Halloween read though!

Essentially this book follows two best friends on an epic adventure trying to save their world. Sounds cliche, but it really is unique in its details. There are demons and angels and tons of creepy creatures in between. There are secrets and lies and plot twists all along the way. It’s definitely an entertaining read, and the world sucks you in.

I enjoyed the characters overall, however they were all pretty one dimensional. A character was either good or evil. There wasn’t much in-between, which made them somewhat unbelievable. Isaac, the main protagonist, was so damn logical that sometimes I didn’t believe he was a person at all. I think the author was trying to capture the maturity Isaac has in terms of making good choices in the midst of chaos, however sometimes it was just too much for me. I just kept thinking “shit, I would’ve had an emotional breakdown beginning on page one.”

The world-building and plot were the best parts of this book! Like I mentioned, the plot was very unique and had a lot of depth to it. J.D. Netto spent years and years developing this world, so it makes sense that it’s so intricate.

Although I appreciated the intricacy, I found it wasn’t delivered as well as it could’ve been. The writing style was a little immature for me, and I think that mostly has to do with its intended audience. Although this book is officially in the Young Adult genre, I would make the argument that it’s more geared toward middle-grade readers.

If I was reading this at age 13, I would’ve absolutely given it 5/5 stars. But I didn’t read it at age 13. I read it at age 20, and I enjoyed it and want to continue with the series out of curiosity, but I believe there are undoubtably better fantasy stories out there.

I would say give this book a go if you’re just getting into high fantasy and want to test the waters, or you’re in between ages 10-16 and enjoy a good adventure story with some creepy creatures around every corner!