Tag Archive: Fiction


Red Bang Review

Genre: Fiction

*I received a free copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

Red Bang by Brandt Monroe is about a man named Adam Murphy. He’s a Hollywood screenwriter who doesn’t quite know what to do for his career. Jess, his wife, used to be a Los Angeles publicist until she lost her job. In need of money, Adam decides he will take a chance on a new opportunity offered by a billion-dollar company called The Company. Adam ends up getting the job, but it’s not exactly what he was led to believe.

The Company portrays itself as a sort of work playground filled with benefits; however, Adam finds out that there’s little room to breathe from all the meetings he must attend to all the urgent e-mails he gets every few minutes. Plus, The Company wants Adam to be innovative while keeping up with his every day tasks. He must either learn the customs of The Company on his own or fail miserably. To succeed he must deal with competing employees and create an alliance with a distant Company founder before he is fired. While he is facing this difficulty at work, Adam has to also help Jess through her growing depression from the gloomy weather and from feeling unaccomplished.

This novel is filled with references. The references consist of modern technology, pop culture, entertainment, and so on. Some pass unnoticed, while others are hilarious and memorable. It’s easy to relate to the main character through the use of these references because he seems more realistic and it makes him a unique character. Even if the reader doesn’t understand every reference, it doesn’t take away from the book. There is enough explained about each reference to make the reader understand why it was used and even provide some new information. While the story is well-written, I do wish there were shorter chapters and not only months with short breaks every now and then. Sometimes I found myself wanting a break but the end of the chapter was still many pages away.

The characters are the highlight of this story. My favorites being the protagonist and his family. Adam is witty and sarcastic, and I found myself enjoying his personality. I love his comebacks and responses to other people, especially with Jess. Adam and Jess go well together. They seem like a fun family, and their humor bounces off of each other perfectly. Plus, their daughter Kate is adorable. I even enjoyed Adam’s competition with his nemesis, Romy.  It was interesting to see the contrast between Jess and Romy. Both are motivated women who want to do something great, but Romy has the tendency to squash people beneath her while Jess works with others to solve problems. It was nice to see determined women taking charge while showing a difference in how they obtain power. They didn’t have the same methods, and I liked that a woman could be in charge without stepping on others (Jess). All of the characters are believable because they are not perfect. They slip up and make mistakes. It makes them feel human, and it’s even more realistic since The Company is based on actual American companies.

While The Company is a fascinating place, I would not want to work there. However, it provided a great location for the story. I loved that American companies were poked fun at for their customs with new employees and for the “fired” ones as well. The novel brought forth the main problems in them and created this insane work environment that I’m sure a lot of people would fail in. A lot of the products being developed by The Company are similar to things we have in the real world but that doesn’t take away from creative aspect of the story in any way.

Red Bang is an enjoyable read. It has relatable characters and takes place in a realistic world. I enjoyed watching Adam develop through the story. While the story is based off of real life companies and products, it refrains from being predictable and has a satisfying ending. If you’re looking for an interesting story with lots of real-world references, you should definitely check out Red Bang. You won’t be disappointed!

My Rating: ★★★★

While I was reading The Broken and We Are The Goldens, I also managed to finish The Moth in the Mirror. So I was able to read two books and one novella this past week. I love feeling so accomplished at the end of each week. I think I’ll make reading more than one book at once my goal for the rest of the year. I’m not sure I will do it every week, but I will do my best. Of course, I might skip a day or two here and there to do other things or catch up, but I’m enjoying myself so far. Plus, my TBR pile isn’t looking as scary as it used to. Anyway, here are the next two books I will be reading:

Red Bang – Brandt Monroe
Genre – Fiction

Adam Murphy is a Hollywood screenwriter who has clearly lost his way. His wife, Jess, is a Los Angeles publicist who just lost her job. With the bills mounting and nowhere to turn in the City of Angels, Adam takes a chance on a complete life reboot – taking a job in Seattle at a billion-dollar, Fortune 500 technology behemoth and bringing his family along for the ride.

While working at The Company is a gloriously heady, benefit-laden playground for today’s smartest minds, Adam quickly realizes he has descended into a foreign land where the language, customs and politics will either make him stronger or cause a meltdown of epic proportions. Faced with a ‘win or fail’ attitude, Adam must find a way to deliver an innovative new product, defeat his political nemesis, align with a mysterious Company founder, and save his wife from a weather-induced depression all before The Company finds out he has no idea what he’s doing.

Inspired by the unbelievable things that go on behind closed doors of America’s largest companies, and bolstered by a warm-hearted, humorous look at one family’s fight against a Stepford-like culture, RED BANG will take you on a hilarious journey into the ridiculous hive mind of today’s tech giants.

Casting Shadows Everywhere – L. T. Vargus
Genre – Young Adult/Thriller

In his own words, 15 year old Jake is a “huge pussy.” He flinches. Always. He’s too timid to make a move on Beth, the buxom girl of his dreams, and too busy getting face-slammed into lockers by bullies to do much else. He seeks the guidance of the biggest badass he knows, his cousin Nick.

Nick is a professional burglar and makes Jake his apprentice. They stalk suburban neighborhoods night after night, ransacking houses for jewelry and sweet valuables. Nick teaches Jake the finer points of breaking and entering along with his dark philosophy – that there is no right or wrong in the world, just a series of events that happen without meaning.

At first, adopting Nick’s callous worldview helps Jake get over his fears and confront his tormentors, but he also unleashes an aggression in himself he never thought possible. And as he learns more about his cousin, he realizes that Nick’s crimes go way beyond burglary.

In the end, Jake must face not only the monster in his cousin but also the one in his own heart.

*Descriptions taken from Goodreads.

I was fortunate enough to receive these books for free. Red Bang is an ARC that is expected to be published on May 19th of this year, and Casting Shadows Everywhere was published on May 11th of last year. If anyone is interested, Goodreads is having a giveaway for Red Bang. Both of these stories sound really interesting, and I’m excited to start reading them.

A Fair Maiden Review

Genre: Fiction

*May contain spoilers

A Fair Maiden by Joyce Carol Oates is an adult contemporary novel that focuses on a 16-year-old girl named Katya. Even though the protagonist is young, the story focuses on adult themes such as rape, an emotionally damaged person, and a rather disturbing relationship. The story deals with Katya’s psychological state and how far she is willing to go to feel loved.

Katya is working as a nanny for the rich Engelhardts in New Jersey. One day, she is walking the Engelhardt’s two children to the park when she stops to window shop. While she is stopped, she meets Mr. Kidder who is a much older gentleman. He becomes interested in Katya, which seems harmless, and Katya enjoys the attention she receives. Katya is drawn to Mr. Kidder’s lavish life, and she is a bit intrigued by his intentions. After spending some time together, Mr. Kidder requests that Katya pose for his new paintings. These requests make Katya think about what Mr. Kidder really wants from her and what he is willing to do to get his way.

I’ll start off by saying that A Fair Maiden is not for everyone. There are plenty of cringeworthy moments in this novel, and they can make the reader feel uncomfortable. I know I felt that way more than once while reading. By this, I mean the relationship between Mr. Kidder and Katya. The way he addresses her and speaks to her is rather creepy. It gets even worse as the story progresses. Although it’s creepy, their relationship makes a lot of sense based on Katya’s character.

Katya’s character is well-developed. She has grown up in an environment that neglected her. Katya’s mother would rather drink and gamble than deal with her daughter, her father left the family when she was young, and Roy, a “distant” cousin, treats Katya horribly. Katya has low self-esteem, and it makes her a perfect target for others to abuse her. Katya craves some sort of approval from others. She desperately wants a father figure in her life, and she wants to escape her fate of being poor forever. When Mr. Kidder starts showing her attention, she is hesitant, at first, but she jumps at the chance for someone to show an interest in her. Of course, he has his own motivations for this relationship but that is not made clear until near the end.

The ending is a bit surprising. I had a bunch of ideas about what Mr. Kidder really wanted, but I never guessed what actually happened. It adds a more disturbing layer to this story, and I’m not sure many readers will guess his true intentions. I ended up staring at the page after I finished this book, wondering what on earth I had just read.

*Spoilers*

One of the biggest issues I have with this story is how the rape is handled. I know the reason for these scenes is meant to show how vulnerable Katya is and how she believes the two individuals care for her. However, I didn’t enjoy that there were no consequences for the offenders. They were able to get what they wanted without anything bad happening, and Katya ends up believing everything is fine. At first, she wasn’t happy about the situation, but then she learns to accept it. That’s actually terrible for this young girl. I understand that it is to show how psychologically damaged she is, but I feel there are better ways to show this.

*End Spoilers*

A Fair Maiden is a sad and disturbing story about a relationship between Katya and Mr. Kidder, and it demonstrates how emotionally damaged a girl can be without a good role model in her life. While this story is well-written and Katya is well-developed, it’s not for everyone. The story can really stick with a reader and that might not always be a good thing. I do believe it’s worth reading, but it might not be as satisfying as most readers would like.

My Rating: ★★★