Thursday, December 31, 2015

Suicide Reviews: The Miniarturist by Jessie Burton

 The Miniaturist 

Synopsis: On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office - leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marian.

But Nella's life changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist - an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways...

Johannes's gift helps Nella pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand - and fear - the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshiped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation...or the architect of their destruction? 

Enchanting, beautifully written and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

Date Published: August 26, 2014
Published By: Ecco
Number of Pages: 400
Rating: 4/5

The Miniaturist is one of those books where I ended up reading a completely different story from what I was expecting. This seems to be happening a lot lately. (For my review of another unexpected story, see here.)

I was under the impression that Nella, a newly-married woman would end up having an affair with the Miniaturist, an artist who specializes in crafting miniature replicas.

Nope. Not even close.

Instead, The Miniaturist is a story of family secrets, gold, God, and betrayal. It's all very intriguing, actually, and I was pleased by the unique storyline. It has a bit of magical realism feel to it as well which makes the story all the more fascinating. Just who is the elusive Miniaturist? And just how much power does this mysterious figure have over Nella's life?

The Miniaturist seems to be well-researched and gives us a glimpse into 17th-century Dutch society. I loved how the author incorporated the infamous Dutch East India Company into her storyline. You might think the parts about trading and gold and guilds would be a bit dull but they're not. This is what I love about historical fiction - being able to travel back in time and get an idea about the way things were - and marvel at how much things have remained the same.

Jessie Burton writes beautifully, every sentence a polished gem. Her words flow like poetry, making every scene richer and more atmospheric. The vividness of her images helps to transport the reader even deeper into her world. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes - all are rendered so convincingly that I could almost feel the bitter wind of winter or taste the sugared marzipan.

If you're a historical fiction fan, or just have an appreciation for lyrical writing, I strongly urge you to give The Miniaturist a try.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

January 2016 Reading Wishlist

 January 5

Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Passenger (Passenger, #1)  

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
A time travel romance that sounds like the YA version of Outlander. 

Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard
Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
In the Witchlands, certain people are born with a 'witchery' a magical skill that sets them apart from others. This sounds similar to the Graceling series and with a blurb from Sarah J. Maas, I am really looking forward to this one. 

Endure (Defy #3) by Sara B. Larson
Endure (Defy, #3)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
The third book in Sara B. Larson's Defy series. 

Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1) by Brenda Drake
Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers, #1)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
A book about a girl who discovers the ability to jump to the world's most beautiful libraries. Throw in a love triangle and a wizard and this one is definitely going on my TBR list. 

Cruel Crown (Red Queen 0.1-0.2)
Cruel Crown (Red Queen, #0.1-#0.2)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Collects the two novellas in the Red Queen series. 

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
This Is Where It Ends

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Told from four different perspectives over the course of 54 minutes, this book chronicles the devastation of a school shooting.

The Children's Home by Charles Lambert
The Children's Home

Genre: Horror
A mysterious group of children appear to a disfigured recluse and his county doctor and make bizarre discoveries in his crumbling mansion.

January 12

Bookishly Ever After (Ever After #1) by Isabel Bandeira
Bookishly Ever After (Ever After, #1)

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Phoebe, who prefers fictional boys to real ones, attempts to emulate her favorite YA heroines when she discovers that Dev, a very real hot guy, might have a crush on her. 

This Census-Taker by China Mieville
This Census-Taker

Genre: Fantasy
A new novella from the master of New Weird fiction. 

The Invitation-Only Zone: The True Story of North Korea's Abduction Project by Robert S. Boynton
The Invitation-Only Zone: The True Story of North Korea's Abduction Project

Genre: Non Fiction
Boynton explores the history of North Korean spies kidnapping Japanese citizens in the 1970s and '80s.

January 19

Sword and Verse (Sword and Verse #1) by Kathy MacMillan
Sword and Verse (Sword and Verse, #1) 

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
In an oppressive kingdom where literacy is forbidden to everyone except royalty, Raisa, sold into slavery at a young age, is taught by her father to read and write in order to become a Learned One.

Shade Me (Nikki Kill #1) by Jennifer Brown
Shade Me

Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Nikki Kill can see the colors of emotions and certain situations thanks to a rare condition called synesthesia. When a popular girl from Nikki's high school is brutally attacked, Nikki must use her unique senses to unravel the mystery behind what happened.

January 26

The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
The Love That Split the World

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Front Lines (Soldier Girl #1) by Michael Grant
Front Lines (Soldier Girl, #1)

Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
An alternate history that re-imagines World War II with girl soldiers fighting on the front lines.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
All the Birds in the Sky

Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction
A love story that combines fantasy, science fiction and the end of the world.

Scarlet Women: The Scandalous Lives of Courtesans, Concubines, and Royal Mistresses by Ian Graham
Scarlet Women: The Scandalous Lives of Courtesans, Concubines, and Royal Mistresses

Genre: Non Fiction
I love sexy non fiction books like this!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Suicide Reviews: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert 

Synopsis: Readers all over the world have drawn inspiration, solace, and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert's books. Now this writer of exceptional range and achievement digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective on creativity, offering potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, she encourages us to uncover the 'strange jewels' that are hidden within each of us. Whether we long to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Date Published: September 22, 2015
Published By: Riverhead Books
Number of Pages: 288
Rating: 5/5

I've never read any of Elizabeth Gilbert's books before, though I have been aware of them. (Is there anyone left on earth who hasn't heard of Eat, Pray, Love?' So Big Magic was my introduction to Elizabeth Gilbert's personal philosophy about creativity and living a creative life. 


This was a book that I NEEDED to read. For almost my entire life, I've wanted to be a writer but have struggled with doubt and insecurity. Reading this book has allowed me to fall back in love with my creativity and reminded me that the point of creative writing shouldn't be to get published or win praise, but to do it for the love of it. I needed to be reminded of that. 

The writing style of Big Magic is very informal and laid-back. It feels as if you are talking to a close friend who also happens to be very inspiring. Gilbert shares some of her personal stories about her own struggles with her creativity and her own solutions for facing fears and getting stuff done. 

What I love the most about Big Magic is that it doesn't promise to make you rich or successful. Instead, Gilbert reminds us that, when it comes to creativity, external rewards are irrelevant. What's most rewarding is the act of creation itself and falling in love with your own creativity. And isn't that what real success is all about?

If you're an artist struggling to live a more creative life, I highly recommend this book. It just might change your entire outlook on life.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2016


There are so many good books coming out in 2016, it's hard to narrow it down to just ten but I did my best! Tell me what books you're most looking forward to in 2016!

1.) Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5, 0.6, 1.5, 3.1, 3.6)\

Release Date: February 2
I fell in love with the Lunar Chronicles this year and was so sad to see it end. That's why I am so excited for this collection of short stories! 

2.) Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard
Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)

Release Date: February 9
I've yet to read Red Queen but this is a series I definitely want to be caught up on. I've heard a lot of good things about it so I hope it lives up to the hype!

3.) The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1) by C.J. Redwine
The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire, #1)

Release Date: February 16
All I know about this book is that it is a Snow White retelling and that there is some sort of dragon huntsman(!) in it. I cannot wait for this one!

4.) Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare
Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)

Release Date: March 8
I've only read City of Bones and that was a few years ago so I know I have a lot of reading to catch up on when it comes to Cassandra Clare but I always collect her books as they are released. Lady Midnight will be no exception. That cover is exquisite!

5.) The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski
The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3)

Release Date: March 29
Another series I haven't started yet but will definitely be catching up on before the third and final book is released. So many people have been raving about this series and I'm dying to know what all of the fuss is about. (I'm really glad they settled that whole kerfuffle about the cover changes and I'll be able to have a matching set!)

6.) Half Lost (The Half Bad Trilogy #3) by Sally Green
Half Lost (The Half Bad Trilogy, #3)

Release Date: March 29

7.) In the Labyrinth of Drakes (Memoir by Lady Trent #4) by Marie Brennan
In The Labyrinth of Drakes (Memoir by Lady Trent, #4)

Release Date: April 5
This series is about dragons and has some of the most beautiful covers I've ever seen. But I haven't read the other books in the series yet! I'm hoping to get around to it this year. 

8.) Soldier (Talon #3) by Julie Kagawa
Soldier (Talon, #3)

Release Date: April 26
Yet another series about dragons that I haven't started. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH ME?

9.) A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

Release Date: May 3
A Court of Thorns and Roses was one of my favorite reads of 2015 and quickly became one of my favorite books of all time. Right after I finished it, I staggered around the house shouting 'NEED MORE! MUST HAVE MORE BOOK! Needless to say, this is my MOST ANTICIPATED book of 2016. 

10.) The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey
The Last Star (The 5th Wave, #3)

Release Date: May 24
I have a feeling this already-popular series will gain even more attention with the upcoming release of the film adaptation. The first one is still on my TBR list but I will definitely be reading it before I go see the movie.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original tag created by The Broke and the Bookish. Go check them out!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Suicide Reviews: Edge (Josh Cumberland #1) by Thomas Blackthorne

Edge (Josh Cumberland, #1) 

Synopsis: Britain, tomorrow. The Tyndall Corporation has sold the country to hell. They've countered escalating knife crime by legalizing dueling and made daily life into a reality TV show. The streets are red with blood. The skies are black with polluted horror. High walls have been built around Britain and endless winter is coming. 

There are only two people who can save us. This is their story.

Date Published: March 1, 2010
Published By: Angry Robot
Number of Pages: 380 
Rating: 3/5

I was really intrigued by the premise of this book. A futuristic dystopian society where knife fighting is legal?Count me in! I was expecting it to be a kind of Hunger Games style book, where the dystopian world was explored through the POV of a professional knife-fighter who has to kill people on live TV. 

That is not what I got. 

This book is about an ex-soldier, Josh Cumberland, who is hired by a rich guy to track down his missing kid, Richard. Richard is 'hoplophobic' which means he's afraid of knives, which is not very helpful if you're living in a society where people can challenge you to a duel at any given moment. He goes missing after his first therapy session with Suzanne, who was hired by Richard's father to rid him of his phobia. Suzanne and Josh team up to find Richard, end up falling in love and then decide to take down the government because they find out that the government is doing illegal, corrupt things. 

So the book wasn't what I was expecting it to be but it was still a pretty interesting read. I thought that the dystopian society was chilling and incredibly believable. In this society, people are monitored 24/7, lightning storms and floods are frequent due to global warming, and people are allowed to kill each other. So it's pretty scary and not at all far-fetched. What I liked was how the author snuck in little details that told you more about the society as a whole. For example, it's mentioned a couple of times that there are food stalls selling bugs to eat, along with regular food. This tells me that insects have become an accepted source of food in this world, most likely due to climate change. There are nutritionists today that say eating insects as an alternative source of protein is looking more and more likely in the near future. Thomas Blackthorne does a really great job of building a realistic future world based on our current society. 

While I loved the world-building, the plot itself left something to be desired. I kind of felt like it was all over the place and didn't have a specific focus. The climax really isn't climactic because it doesn't feel like the book has been building towards it. I think the story might have been more successful if the author had explored just one aspect of his dystopian society in depth, instead of trying to encompass all of it. 

Despite a few quibbles, Edge is an interesting take on the dystopian novel and I am interested enough to check out the sequel. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Suicide Reviews: All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

All You Need Is Kill 

Synospsis: When the alien mimics invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his 158th iteration, he gets a message from a mysterious ally - the female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she the key to Keiji's escape or his final death?

First Published: 2004
English Translation Published: July 21, 2009
Published By: Haikasoru
Number of Pages: 200
Rating: 4/5


I've never read any Japanese science fiction novels before but if All You Need Is Kill is any indication of their quality and originality, then I definitely need to be reading MORE of them.

Most people are familiar with the film adaptation of this novel, Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. I watched the movie before reading the book, and while I love the movie, I liked the book a lot better (of course.)

All You Need Is Kill is a perfect science fiction story. Perfectly paced, it has just the right balance of alien-fighting action and more subtle moments that humanize the characters. Rita Vrataski AKA the Full Metal Bitch is one of the most badass female characters in any sci-fi book I've yet to read. She's capable, stoic, and a total killing machine, a woman with a taste for war. Yet she never comes across as the cliched Strong Female Protagonist - she feels like a real person. I love how the gender dynamics are flipped in the story and Keiji looks to Rita for guidance, both on the battlefield and off. They treat each other like true equals and I cannot tell you how refreshing that is. 

Another thing I love about this story is how it deals with time travel - a plot device that I love. Sakurazaka handles the time paradoxes masterfully - he gives just enough scientific detail for time travel to make sense but not enough to confuse the reader. I would say that this novel ranks up there with some of my favorite time travel novels like 11/22/63 and The Shining Girls. 

And let me just tell you about the writing - it's gorgeous. You would think a sci-fi action story would be the last place you would look for lyrical sentences but All You Need is Kill is full of them. The opening pages where Keiji is on the battlefield for the first time are captivating in their detail and beauty, capturing war in all its ugliness and devastation.

If you love science fiction, you have to read this book. Even if you've seen the movie, read it! The book and the movie are very different stories to the point where the endings are completely different. Do yourself a favor and set aside an afternoon to read All You Need is Kill. You won't be disappointed. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Suicide Reviews: Star of the Morning (Nine Kingdoms #1) by Lynn Kurland

 Star of the Morning (Nine Kingdoms, #1) 

Synopsis: Darkness covers the north, for the black mage has begun assault on the isolated kingdom of Neroche. Legend has it that only the two magical swords held in trust by Neroche's king can defeat the mage. Now the fate of the Nine Kingdoms rests in the hands of a woman destined to wield one of those blades...

The Mercenary

Morgan is a practical woman with no use for magic. Yet she feels compelled to offer her sword to the sorcerer king of Neroche. Her fateful decision will lead her to a magical destiny...and a man whose love will change her life forever.

The King

Adhemar of Neroche's connection to the magic of the land is fading. Helpless to defend his country against the black mage's forces, his only hope is to travel in disguise, searching for the one who was foretold to bring victory.

The Mage

Miach, the archmage of Neroche, is Adhemar's youngest brother - and duty bound to aid his king. Though they find what they seek, Miach will lose his heart in a way he never could have foreseen. 

In this land of dragons and mages, warrior maids and magical swords, nothing is as it seems. For the king is less than he should be, the mage is far more than he appears, and the mercenary will find that the magic in her blood brings her troubles she cannot face with a sword - and a love more powerful than she has ever imagined...

Date Published: December 5, 2006
Published By: Berkley Trade
Number of Pages: 336
Rating: 2/5

Well, this was a total snoozefest.

I was really hopeful that Star of the Morning would be an epic romantic fantasy that I could really sink my teeth into but instead I got a Lord of the Rings rip-off with a tepid romantic plot. 

First, let's discuss the plot. There really isn't much of one. Basically, Morgan meets Adhemar and Miach and they travel with her to Neroche so she can deliver a magical blade to the king. That's it. They are attacked by some 'dark creatures' along the way but the battle scenes are usually just a paragraph long and are so boring that calling them 'action' scenes is being disingenuous.

And as for these 'dark creatures?' I have absolutely no idea what they look like. They are described as 'foul' and 'something out of a nightmare.' Well, okay, but that's not really helpful when it comes to imagining what they look like. Maybe if she called them 'orcs' I would've been able to picture them better.

There is nothing original in the world of the Nine Kingdoms. It has elves, dwarfs, dragons, magic spells, wizards, etc. There is nothing in here that distinguishes it from a cliched fantasy story. The one dwarf character in the story carries a battleaxe, for god's sake. There's no sense of depth to the world which makes it hard to believe in. And if I don't believe in your world, I'm not going to care about the story. 

All of this might have been forgiven if the romance was compelling. But it's not. I didn't sense any sort of chemistry between Miach and Morgan and there was no sexual tension whatsoever. The most they do is hold hands. They're both like 'OMG WE JUST TOUCHED HANDS!' and I'm just sitting here like 'are you kidding me?' 

I understand that Lynn Kurland deliberately writes PG romance because that is what she's comfortable with. And that's totally fine. I don't think every romance novel needs to have sex in it. (Although I prefer the ones that do.) What I can't forgive is a romance where there is no tension. There are plenty of YA novels where the two romantic leads don't do anything more than kiss but there is still a sense of chemistry and heat. This is not the case with Star of the Morning. 

I would close by saying that just because I didn't enjoy this book doesn't mean that you won't. My review is no substitute for reading the book yourself and forming your own opinion.

Have your read Star of the Morning? If so, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below! 


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This is my very first Top Ten Tuesday post!

1.) Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

2.) Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan Graudin
Wolf By Wolf (Wolf By Wolf, #1)

3.) Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour by Dita Von Teese
Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour

4.) Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3) by Robert Galbraith
Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3)

5.) The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

6.) Harry Potter Coloring Book by Warner Brothers
Harry Potter Coloring Book

7.) Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

8.) Harry Potter: The Character Vault by Jody Revenson
Harry Potter: The Character Vault

9.) The Magicians (The Magicians #1) by Lev Grossman
The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)

10.) The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
The Slow Regard of Silent Things (The Kingkiller Chronicle #2.5)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Review: Oblivion (Lux 1.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

 Oblivion (Lux, #1.5)

Synopsis: I knew the moment Katy Swartz moved in next door, there was going to be trouble. Lots of it. And trouble's the last thing I need , since I'm not exactly from around here. My people arrived on Earth from Lux, a planet thirteen billion light years away. Plus, if there's one thing I know, it's that humans can't be trusted. We scare them. We can do things they only dream about, and honestly, we make them look weak as hell. 'Cuz they are.

But Kat is getting to me in ways no one else has, and I can't stop myself from wanting her - or wanting to use my powers to protect her. She makes me weak, and I'm the strongest of our kind, tasked with protecting us all. So this one simple girl...she can mean the end for us. Because the Luxen have an even bigger enemy - the Arum, and I need to stay on my game.

Falling for Katy - a human - won't just place her in danger. It could get us all killed, and that's one thing I'll never let happen.

Date Published: December 1, 2015
Published By: Entangled Teen
Number of Pages: 350
Rating: 4/5

I loved reading the Lux series this year and was so excited to read Obsidian from Daemon's POV. Daemon Black is one of the sexiest characters in YA literature and I couldn't wait to spend some quality time with him. (wink, wink.)

There are some people that argue that when an author puts out a previous book written from another character's perspective that it's just a lazy cash-grab but I disagree. Lux fans were clamoring for a book from Daemon's POV and Jennifer L. Armentrout gave her fans exactly what they wanted.

I loved reading from Daemon's perspective and seeing how he viewed Kat right from the beginning. There's this really sweet scene in the first chapter when Kat is first moving into her house and she's struggling with some heavy boxes (presumably filled with books) and Daemon sees her and, from a distance, helps lighten the load of the boxes, making them easier for Kat to carry. Like, how cute is that? *Gushes*

Also, I love reading from a male perspective because it's so interesting to see Daemon fall in love with Kat. He goes from thinking she's hot but wanting nothing to do with her to genuinely caring about her and wanting to make up for being such a huge asshole to her. Of course, we know from the end of Obsidian that Kat is having none of that shit and calls Daemon out for being a douchebag. But Daemon is determined to win her over and the rest, as they say, is history.

I should point out that Jennifer L. Armentrout also wrote Onyx and Opal from Daemon's perspective and are available on the Oblivion ebook. I unfortunately only have the paperback version right now but am hoping to add the ebook to my collection sometime soon.

If you are a fan of the Lux series, you will love this book told from the POV of our favorite sexy alien.

Review: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

American Psycho 
Synopsis: Patrick Bateman is handsome, well educated, intelligent. He works by day on Wall Street, earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. His nights he spends in ways we cannot begin to fathom. He is twenty-six years old and living his own American Dream.

Date Published: March 1991
Published By: Vintage Contemporaries
Number of Pages: 400
Rating: 3/5

I really don't know what to make of this book. It is one of the most disturbing, disgusting, graphically violent novels I've ever read. I saw the movie adaptation years ago before I picked up the book and, let me tell you, the movie doesn't even come close to how violent the book is.

The novel is told from the POV of Patrick Bateman, your typical Wall Street yuppie who also happens to be a murderous psychopath. Well, maybe he's a murderous psychopath or maybe it's just all in his head. It's never really made clear in the book.

The book can basically be split into two types of scenes - the first type of scene is where Patrick Bateman and his Wall Street buddies decide which expensive restaurant to go to and which club they go to after so they can objectify women and do blow in the bathroom. These scenes are laden with descriptions of the types of clothes everyone is wearing down to the labels, what food they eat, which drinks they order, etc. While these scenes are tedious and repetitive, I think they do a decent job of pointing out the emptiness of materialism and consumerism that is a huge part of Western culture.

And then there is the second type of scene - the horrific, graphic depictions of violence that are so vivid as to be practically vomit-inducing. (I did find myself actually gagging at one point.) These scenes are why this book is so (in)famous and why it is so controversial. Most of Patrick's victims are women and the violence he inflicts on them is hyper-sexual in nature and extremely misogynistic. Bateman feels no compassion or pity for his victims and treats them like pieces of meat.

So, I guess the main question is: Is the graphic violence necessary to the story? Let's say we take the violent scenes out of the book. What are we left with? A pretty boring satire on Wall Street and yuppie culture. The only thing the graphic violence adds to the story is shock value. The violence inflicted on Bateman's female victims is particularly disturbing and drawn out. I'm not saying violence against women should never be depicted in literature or on film. I am saying that there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. If you're going to have graphic violence in your book, I think it should have a point, should make some commentary about violence in our society or our desensitization to it. One could make the argument that Ellis wrote those graphic scenes to jolt the reader out of complacency and was trying to convey the true horror of a violent murder - but that's not what I got from it.

If nothing else, this book will challenge you and make you think. Not every reading experience has to be a pleasant one. I can at least say that I've read this book and I never have to read it again.