Tag Archives: book review

Prisoned by Marni Mann

by Allie Burke

Its been at least twelve hours since I read the last page of this book, and I’m still reeling. This novel is like when you lose your grasp on reality for just a moment and you have to ask yourself what the fuck just happened. It’s a mindfuck for sure. I still haven’t figured out the ending – I heard from other readers the ending was like WTF – but I wasn’t expecting that. You’re so focused on the big reveal during the whole thing that Mann pulls a fast one on you with what seems like no effort at all; it is so seamless. I still don’t quite understand what happened. I considered asking the author myself since she is a personal friend of mine, but truth be told I’m kind of embarrassed that I don’t have it figured out yet. I’ll get it I’m sure, even if I have to read it again.

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The Untouchables (Ruthless People, #2) by J.J. McAvoy

by Allie Burke

I published a review of this book when I was only 71 pages in, DNFing it at 16%. I was annoyed at the plot-driven anti-developer of a book. But, I got back to it yesterday because I just so badly want to like this series, and it was surprisingly, unputdownable from that point. I finished the rest of it in two days. It had its flaws – endless typos, bad, banal writing like “I let out the breath I didn’t know I was holding”, and the whole annoying thing where Liam calls Melody “Wife” (it’s all very insincere, this thing they do) – but this time, very much unlike the first book, I fell hard for the Callahans. I even had feels in some parts, which had been an nonexistent phenomenon with this series up until this point.

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Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Lost Lake

Sarah Addison Allen
St. Martin’s Press, January 21st 2014
Hardcover, 304 Pages

by Allie Burke


I was really disappointed with this book. Not because it is bad or even that I didn’t like the characters; but it was so normal. Too normal. Lost Lake is a book that Kate Morton or Jane Green would write, which again, is not bad; I read Kate Morton or Jane Green. When I’m in the mood for Kate Morton or Jane Green. But I was in the mood for Sarah Addison Allen, and this was not a Sarah Addison Allen book.

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REVIEW: The Unblocked Collection

The Unblocked Collection
Marni Mann

Unblocked is a series of of five episodes which tells the story of Frankie, the daughter of a real estate giant, and her client, the ever sexy Derek Block. I’ve been vocal about my general dislike for erotica – mostly for vocabularic reasons – but alas, this is a Marni Mann book, and you should all know that she is the type of author whose books you pick up even before you know what they are about. Her latest novel, Prisoned, is currently the number one bestseller in erotica suspense on Amazon.

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REVIEW: The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell

by Allie Burke

I nearly put this book down a few times. There was nothing particularly wrong with it; I was learning about Japanese culture, relating to the pressure-filled childhood of anyone who had an Asian parent, and enjoying the story arc and characters, but it was boring. I hate to say that about a dying child – I am sure that is the point; the theme of the entire story is about ALS and how one boy struggles with the loss of his physical ability so it makes me feel terrible to say such a thing, but it was. I can deal with books about “nothing” if they are written well, but this one was mediocre.

I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it.


I did, however, finish it. I’ve had a really hard time focusing enough to read lately – a rut, if you will – so I forced myself to read it in case it was just me. But it wasn’t, I don’t think; I mean, it was good enough for me to hand to my boss as a recommendation (his passion is Japanese culture), but I just feel very meh about it. The ending was like, “That’s it? Really?” and I tossed it in my bookshelf and haven’t looked at it since. I think these types of books are responsible for my reading ruts. Because they lack style and anything noteworthy. Instead of falling face first into this world the author has created, the story and the characters are in this bubble you can’t reach. It’s in the distance, flying away.

I did love the Japanese culture, like I said, but the imagery was lost on me. I don’t know what it looks like there – wherever they are; are they in Japan? – and the storytelling was outdated. I don’t know if this was intentional – it was published pretty recently I think – but does anyone use chat rooms anymore? Maybe they do and I have been without my AIM password too long. Mostly, though, Sora annoyed me because he was constantly asking what happens after death, as if anyone knows. A seventeen-year-old kid should know – ALS or not – that nobody knows the answer to that question. His mental age did not match his physical age throughout the plot yet that was never referenced as a symptom of ALS, so I have no idea why it was presented in that way. So many things in this book do not match up. I feel lost looking back.

The Last Leaves Falling did provide awareness about ALS and I am sure it is a piece of literature that those or loved ones of those living with the illness will relate to. But it wasn’t for me. Not like The Fault in Our Stars at all like the cover claims.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Via Goodreads, it appears this book is pretty well loved for it’s premise. Could just be me! Check it out if you think it’s something you  may like.


Allie Burke was an author before she told her readers she had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. The admission led her to write hundreds of publications on the subject, some of which have been published in Refinery 29, Vice Magazine, and Women’s Health. She now hosts a writing workshop called The 557 Block to give back to the mental health community by teaching, coaching, and still learning about the art of the written word. She has written ten novels.

Allie is the founder of The OCH Literary Society.