6/7/17

The Silent Corner - by Dean Koontz

I will be honest here, I have always enjoyed Dean Koontz's books but I am not really a big fan of detective fiction. Usually I avoid books that mention in the blurb an FBI agent (current or former) or a private investigator as the protagonist. That being said, I jumped on an opportunity to read a new book series by Dean Koontz.

Jane Hawk is an FBI agent on personal leave from the FBI after her husband commits suicide. Jane is on a mission to find out why he killed himself. The book is more of a techno-thriller and it reads like detective fiction and centers on a single crime. The book was full of action and fast paced. It didn't read like a typical Dean Koontz book but it had things that a reader typically expects from Koontz (high-end brands of guns, use of interesting adjectives, dogs - German Shepherds and maybe a made-up Golden Retriever). Overall, this was a pretty good crime novel and I am interested in seeing how this story ends.




From the books blurb:

A dazzling new series, a pure adrenaline rush, debuts with Jane Hawk, a remarkable heroine certain to become an icon of suspense“I very much need to be dead.”

These are the chilling words left behind by a man who had everything to live for—but took his own life. In the aftermath, his widow, Jane Hawk, does what all her grief, fear, and fury demand: find the truth, no matter what.

People of talent and accomplishment, people admired and happy and sound of mind, have been committing suicide in surprising numbers. When Jane seeks to learn
why, she becomes the most-wanted fugitive in America. Her powerful enemies are protecting a secret so important—so terrifying—that they will exterminate anyone in their way.

But all their power and viciousness may not be enough to stop a woman as clever as they are cold-blooded, as relentless as they are ruthless—and who is driven by a righteous rage they can never comprehend. Because it is born of love.


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

5/17/17

Blackout: A Novel - by Marc Elsberg

What if the power went out? What if the power went out in not only your neighborhood, or in your city but in your entire country and then the entire continent? The is the premise of Blackout. Terrorist have infiltrated the electrical grid and all across Europe the power goes out and the power suppliers can't get the electricity back online. It's amazing how much our infrastructure relies on electricity. It is scary to think about what could happen if we lost that one thing, worldwide. It's easy to get annoyed and inconvenienced when we lose power for a few hours or a day.  We get out the candles or go out to dinner and we know in a few hours the electricity will come back on, until it doesn't. This is an interesting thriller with the possibility of an impending apocalypse. One of the things I liked about this book is the main character is not some macho hero that can do impossible things to save the world. The book does jump around a lot from different locations and people and sometimes repeats some of the same themes (food shortages, medicine shortages, transportation issues, price gouging) but overall it is good read and it will leave you with some things to think about.










From the book's blurb:

This is no accident.
This is no act of God.
This is Blackout.


A terrifyingly plausible million-copy selling debut disaster thriller.

When the lights go out one night, no one panics. Not yet. The lights always come back on soon, don't they? Surely it's a glitch, a storm, a malfunction. But something seems strange about this night. Across Europe, controllers watch in disbelief as electrical grids collapse. There is no power, anywhere.
A former hacker and activist, Piero investigates a possible cause of the disaster. The authorities don't believe him, and he soon becomes a prime suspect himself. With the United States now also at risk, Piero goes on the run with Lauren Shannon, a young American CNN reporter based in Paris, desperate to uncover who is behind the attacks. After all, the power doesn't just keep the lights on—it keeps us alive.



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

5/14/17

The Party - Robyn Harding

It's a sweet sixteen sleepover with the birthday girl and four friends. What could possibly go wrong? Well everything and not in a good way. Hannah's family lives in an upscale neighborhood in San Francisco where it isn't enough to keep up with the Joneses but to surpass them. Most of us have probably known people like this. These are the kind of people that you don't feel sorry for when their life comes crumbling down around them. There are some cringe worthy moments when you know they are going to say or do something they shouldn't. The ending was a little unexpected but it wasn't enough to push this story up another notch. Too many of the characters were not likable and there wasn't anyone worthy of rooting for, no heroes to come and save the day. All in all it was a fast read and enjoyable to a point. Too often the characters kept doing and saying the same things over and over which didn't really move the story along or create any suspense.


                                                        




From the book's blurb:

In this stunning and provocative domestic drama about a sweet sixteen birthday party that goes horribly awry, a wealthy family in San Francisco finds their picture-perfect life unraveling, their darkest secrets revealed, and their friends turned to enemies.

One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.


Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.

Harkening to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party takes us behind the façade of the picture-perfect family, 


exposing the lies, betrayals, and moral lapses that neighbors don’t see—and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and each other. 


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

5/1/17

Perfect - by Cecelia Ahern

This is the second and final book in the Flawed dystopian series. I call this book YA light. Like most YA books, the story deals with some kind of social issues. I call it light YA because of the ideas of what it means to be 'perfect' or 'flawed' and what it is to be human can be relatable to most teens without being preachy or overly deep. The book was a fast and easy read and finishes up the two-book series nicely. The books book starts almost where the first book left off and is also told from Celestine's point of view. One thing I would have liked to see more of (from both books) is more dialogue and interaction with other characters. So much of the book is from Celestine's thoughts and not so much from natural dialogue and interaction with other characters. It takes away from some of the build up and leaves little "action." The ending is also predictable. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing if you enjoy the journey getting there.




From the books blurb:

In Cecelia Ahern's thrilling sequel to Flawed, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or risk her own life to save all Flawed people.

Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine's life has completely fractured--all her freedoms gone.

Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick--the only person she can trust.

But Celestine has a secret--one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing.

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed?


I received an advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

4/28/17

The Ship - by Antonia Honeywell

This is an interesting take on surviving the end of the world as we know it. Lalla is sixteen years old and has grown up only knowing the world her parents lived in is no more. She has never even seen a real apple. Her father uses all of his resources to obtain a ship and provisions for 500 people and leave the destruction of London behind. The entire story is told from Lalla's perspective. Her parents have shielded her from the world they live in and have done everything to protect her. She is very naïve and yet questions everything once on board the ship. It isn't an action packed thrill ride like many apocalyptic books but more thought provoking. While reading, I questioned her parents motives and if I would do the same as them or would I make the same decision as Lalla. The blurb says it is a coming of age story but I think it is also a story of choices and what it means to live versus just being alive.



I thought this was a stand alone book but I have since noticed on Goodreads that it now says The Ship #1 in parenthesis.


From the books blurb:

London burned for three weeks. And then it got worse...

Lalla has grown up sheltered from the chaos amid the ruins of civilization. But things are getting more dangerous outside. People are killing each other for husks of bread, and the police are detaining anyone without an identification card. On her sixteenth birthday, Lalla's father decides it's time to use their escape route--a ship he's built that is only big enough to save five hundred people.

But the utopia her father has created isn't everything it appears. There's more food than anyone can eat, but nothing grows; more clothes than anyone can wear, but no way to mend them; and no-one can tell her where they are going.





I received a advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

1/24/17

The Bone Witch - by Rin Chupeco

The Bone Witch is a young adult fantasy novel that is the first in a series by Rin Chupeco. The book is about a young girl, Tea, that discovers she is a bone witch, a kind of witch that can raise the dead. The entire book is about Tea's journey to become an asha, from how she discovers she has the ability to be a bone witch to her through her entire training process. The book takes place in the present and the past, mostly in the past. The present is told in very short bursts and doesn't add to the story. It moves at an unbelievable slow pace. We learn almost everything about the world of an asha but we learn nothing of Tea's current predicament. The entire time reading, I am patiently waiting for an answer to my only question only to be left with another surprise and no answers. It felt like I just read a 400 page prologue. For parents wondering if this is a book for their young adult reader, I think this book would be appropriate for readers as young as middle school.






From the books blurb:

In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series for readers of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price...
Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.
When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.
In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.
Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!



I received a advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.





1/16/17

All Our Wrong Todays - by Elan Mastai

All Our Wrong Todays is a really fun time-travel story. It isn't the typical time-travel novel with people jumping back and forth through various time periods. Tom is from a futuristic 2016 and gets stranded in our 2016 due to a time-travel mishap to 1965 that altered the future, Tom's future.Tom is torn between saving the future and all the people that never exist in this new reality but that would mean losing people he cares about in this new reality as well. It's a story of fate, love, family, and loss. The entire story is told from Tom's point of view. He is usually speaking to the reader. There is science but it doesn't make your head spin and cause your eyes to glaze over. I found the book to be a fast paced and enjoyable read. I wouldn't be surprised if this book becomes a movie.




I received an advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

1/9/17

Little Heaven - by Nick Cutter

So I basically cut my teeth on Stephen King, John Saul, and Dean Koontz back in the day. It is difficult to find some good horror novels especially ones that bring me back to those favorites I read in the 80's. I think I found just that in Nick Cutter's Little Heaven.

Three pay-for-hire types take a simple job, check on a woman's nephew whose father has taken him to live in a sanctuary in the middle of no where called Little Heaven. We all know that nothing is ever simple.

I was expecting your typical slasher type horror story but I got something better. There is actually some decent character development and the story takes you full circle.

Little Heaven is the first Nick Cutter book I have read and it won't be my last. I was pleasantly surprised at how Little Heaven brought me back to my youth and 80's horror fiction and how much I miss those old familiar books. There were a few places that I found my attention wandering but overall I quite I enjoyed the story and the path it took. Anyone who is a fan of 80's horror and Stephen King will want to read this book.





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


1/2/17

Earth Abides - by George R. Stewart

Earth Abides - by George R. Stewart

My rating - 3 stars

I had joined an old book challenge last year and I thought I had finished the challenge. I realized I had four more decades of books for read near the end of November! So I have been on a mission to finish up the challenge before the end of 2016. I managed to finish the challenge by reading The Lost Continent, A Christmas Carol, The Call of the Wild, and Earth Abides.

Earth Abides is an apocalyptic story written in 1949 by George R. Stewart. The story is told by Ish, who was a graduate student, that survives a great plague that almost destroys the entire human race. 

Earth Abides is considered a classic tale of the apocalypse and I feel like I should be giving this book four or five stars instead of three. Especially since supposedly Earth Abides was the inspiration for Stephen King's The Stand (one of my favorite books). For me though, this story just dragged on and there was a lot of repetition by the main character of ideas and observations. The entire book is from Ish's viewpoint.  It isn't your typical book about the apocalypse with a lot of action and fight scenes. In fact, there aren't any fight scenes or action. It is a slow moving story that spans probably 40 years. Ish was a graduate student at the time of the plague and has a superior attitude and is constantly reminding the reader that everyone else is clearly not as smart as he is. Which is probably why I didn't really care for Ish very much and soured my opinion of the story. For the majority of the story, Ish makes observations about the world after the plague. Stewart does have some ideas about what might happen to people, customs, skills, disease and education that I haven't seen in other books about the end of the world as we know it. So this is a plus on Stewarts part but the way he keeps having his main character ramble on repetitively dragged the story on. 

So if you love to read about the end of the world as we know it, then you should probably give this book a try. You might have an easier time forgiving Ish of his faults then I did.