Book Review: The We and the They by Kyra Ann Dawkins

This was a DNF for me, simply because I was not the reader for this book.

I found the opening, which was a note from the author, to set a tone for the book that probably negatively impacted my view of it, though I really liked the idea of community it seemed to be pushing. In the opening note, the author says “Trust me” and that the story “will make sense as we go along.” But, I don’t think I’m in the mindset to wait for something to make sense without being entertained or enticed first. The setup came off as a bit supercilious and didactic without yet earning my trust, perhaps. Maybe the pay off is worth it, as this has a lot of good reviews here. But I found it, plus the vague nature of the narrative, keeping me at a distance from joining any “we.”

So much of this book reminded me of Octavia Butler’s THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER. I’ve only read the graphic novel adaptation of that, but some of that story did not resonate with me either (the settler aspects and space colonization, perhaps). But the pre-utopian setting and the horror of escaping a dystopia to create true community were there. Also the binary of “We” and “They” reminded me Butler’s other work, where the Other is explored — Lilith’s Brood and the short story Bloodchild. In those there was something of a “humans treated how we treat animals” aspect in them, where here I picked up something like a farm animal vibe? A lot of farm imagery came to mind as I was reading this.

This book is so short you can hardly go wrong, but the “poetical” text requires a bit too much investment and interpretation for an author I am not familiar with when my time and attention are so limited (again, this is a reader issue more than a book issue likely).

I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

TBR: The We and the They by Kyra Ann Dawkins

“Our collective genesis guides our heartbeat as We run.”

With nature reclaiming cities and mountainous tides drowning islands, a group of individuals — known collectively as the We — find themselves ravaged by hunger and struggling to survive. When another community — the They — promise them luxurious meals, the We are unable to decline.

After following the They to their farm, the We begin to notice some mysterious habits: odd sacrifices, talk of flames, and a strange book. Follow along as the We uncover the truth behind the secretive group and learn the most important part of being human.

The We and the They is a fiction novel set in a world crumbling underneath the grip of the Great Famine. You will enjoy this book if you are fascinated by oral tradition, you like considering questions about community and identity, or you just want a break from curating your “I.”

I’m interested in how nature will be portrayed in this story. See more on goodreads. 

TBR: A Killing Game (A Curtis Westcott Crime Thriller, #1) by Jeff Buick

Born into a wealthy and powerful Boston family, Renee Charlebois has it all. Except for one small detail – she’s been abducted without a trace. Who took her, and why, is a mystery.

The case gets dropped on Curtis Westcott’s desk, but Boston’s Chief of Homicide has little to work with. No clues, no body, no motive. Renee had no enemies, no financial skeletons in the closet, and no bitter ex- boyfriends. Curtis and Aislinn Byrne, his go-to detective on tough cases, work the file hard but come up empty. Then Westcott attends a party and overhears a story that catches his attention – he and Aislinn have their first break.

They dig in and unravel a complex series of crimes tied to Renee’s disappearance. As they peel back the layers they are convinced Renee is still alive, but that her abductor is on a precise schedule and has every intention of killing her. It’s a bizarre and twisted game, and time is quickly running out.

A Killing Game is Book One in the Curtis Westcott series, set in Boston.


I don’t know if I like this game.

Read more on Goodreads. 

Book Review: #RVLife: Seeking Happiness Through A Nomadic Life

Some days  I fantasize about downsizing because I have too much crap. Other days I fret on the approaching apocalypse and how being stuck in a house (not that I own a house) would keep me from the preparedness necessary for survival (picture me sleeping on top of my hoards of canned foods).

But besides all of the negative reasons for avoiding the typical housing situation, there is something romantic about owning an RV — or, as Regina Spektor would sing, “Silver Bullet Trailer”:

My thinking is: not only is renter life more carefree (you can pick up and go any time),  it’s even more freeing living in RVs (you’re already ready to go at any time!!!). The #RVLife seems like the best of both worlds — you owning your home, yet it not keeping you financially or locationally weighed down (depending on a few factors).

I was thinking this book might convince me to lean into the lifestyle more, and it has, but boy is it not as simple as you might think. It takes motivation and skill to fight against the typical lifestyle structures. I’m not won over to the nomadic life yet, but it sure is fascinating! There is no precise roadmap for it, as the Hebards found, which is probably why they published this book. They learned a lot as they went, clearly. It’s a great manual for all the things you might want to think about before diving in.

For one, I didn’t realize it was so complicated to buy and maintain an RV.  Their experience was my personal nightmare when their RV turned out to be a lemon. The loan process is such a weird animal (is it a house or a vehicle? It’s kinda both!). And RV standards (and how to work on them?) aren’t always what you think they are. Sometimes it seems like you’re trading one problem of housing for another. But that’s life and it seems like it’s worth it for them. They certainly seem happy and their life is so interesting! Never a dull moment, with the types of people they run into and the sites they get to see.

One thing I really identified with was their honesty about finding work to fit their lifestyle and holding people accountable when things went wrong. There’s a bit about how they left a negative Google review as a last resort and that got the people’s attention. I’ve tried that one before and it is super effective! My boyfriend, like John Hebard, is also a veteran and so Hebard’s dealings with the VA hit home. There’s also a bit about how to become a YouTuber (side note: they have a YouTube channel that documents their life with tips! Check it out):

I recommend this book if you’re curious about minimalist living, travelling, camping, are an anarchist who needs off the grid, or you even just want to buy an RV for your kid to live out in your driveway. This book might come in handy! I’ll be donating this to the library where I work. I can’t be the only person who finds this topic fascinating.

Buy on Amazon.



I received this book in exchange for an honest review. See my policy in the tabs above.

TBR: Battle of the Soul by Carl Alves

Andy Lorenzo has no family, few friends, poor social skills, and drinks and gambles far too much. But in a time when demons are becoming increasingly more brazen and powerful, he has one skill that makes demons cower in fear from him — he is the greatest exorcist the world has ever known.

In Battle of the Soul, a supernatural thriller that is a combination of Constantine and The Exorcist, since graduating high school Andy has left a long trail of demons in his wake while priests are getting killed trying to perform traditional rites of exorcism. Andy is the Church and society’s ultimate weapon in combating this growing epidemic. He needs no bibles, prayers or rituals. Andy is capable of going inside the person’s soul where he engages in hand to hand combat using his super-human abilities that only reside when he is in a person’s soul. When eight-year-old Kate becomes possessed, Andy finds an elaborate trap waiting for him. He will do whatever it takes to win the most important fight of his life — the battle for Kate’s soul.

Has good reviews on Goodreads.

Book Review: Pendulum Heroes by James Beamon

The cover is really, really great.

This was a DNF for me, but I am mostly the problem with this book. It’s not written for me, so I don’t think I should be the one to critique it. However, I did get to about page 65 and I’ll let you know what I learned about the story while reading:

This book reminded me of the latest Jumanji movie, where the characters get sucked into a video game.  However, part of the mystery of this story is why and how they got sucked in — the characters don’t even know. The opening scene is of the main character looking down and realizing he’s in a female body (which is pretty funny, to be honest). I liked that aspect of the novel and it’s what made me interested to read it.

Unlike Jumanji, we don’t have a lot of backstory on the characters when Pendulum Heroes starts — it begins in media res. It’s action-packed and we learn about who all got sucked in as we go along. I think the target audience for this book is young gamer boys; YA fantasy readers.

I’ll be donating my copy to the library where I work because I think it would get readership there.

The author seems like a really interesting guy. He’s been published in Apex, Lightspeed, and other SF mags apparently. This is a link to his site if you want to check him out.





I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. See my review policy in the website tabs above.

TBR: Weird Theology: Small Worlds Book 1 by Alex Raizman

The end of the world is non-negotiable. How it happens is still up in the air.

Every god has a nanoverse, but only one will give its wielder the ability to end the world. After years of searching, it has finally been found, with the power to kick start the apocalypse.

They never thought to look in a gift store’s box of Knick-knacks.

Ryan Smith didn’t expect anything interesting to happen to him. He was a boring guy. The only remotely interesting thing about him was the man in a suit that no one else could see. Always watching, always taking notes. Ryan didn’t know it meant he was one of the candidates to find the last nanoverse. Now that he has it, he has the power of a god, and it’s up to Ryan to try and save humanity, even though he can’t save the world.

At least things have stopped being boring.

Now Ryan finds himself in a fast paced adventure, caught in the power struggle between gods as he is forced to battle for his life against forces he can barely comprehend as gods try to stop him from fulfilling his duty. Foremost among them is Enki, a villain so terrible he…wants to save the world.

A high octane battle between good and evil, where the heroes’ best hope is a kinder, gentler Armageddon.


View more on Goodreads. 

TBR: Madness of My Dreams by Charles Carfagno Jr.

It takes one second for something to swerve out of control – which is precisely what fantasy author, Charles Inkwell, thought as his car skidded on an icy road and crashed. More than his steering was out of control that night, Charles’s life will never be the same.

After sustaining horrific head injuries and a being in a coma, his dreams began taking on a life of their own.

Does what happen in a dream stay within a dream?

Charles can somehow physically and mentally walk the paths and plots he has carved out on the pages of his book; the experiences in his dreams are so real that he awakens with bruises and scratches across his body. With his newfound circumstances, the delicate fabric veiling fantasy from reality begin to blur.

His outbursts and ‘hallucinations’ cause his family to become afraid of him and admit him to an asylum. Through heavy sedation, he becomes trapped with his dreams.

At the same time, his father’s past is about to become Charles’ future due to an unpaid debt. This debt takes…No installments. No time. Payment is only acceptable in full – or in blood.

Charles isn’t safe in either world…

Stranger than Fiction part 2? Does Will Ferrel have a son or something?