9/15/17

Invictus - by Ryan Graudin

Invictus is a fun YA time travel tale with a lot of jumping back and forth through time to try and save the universe. The book is set in the year 2371 where people are obsessed with the past and where time travelers go back and record history through video for the general public to watch. Farway McCarthy's mother is a famous recorder and he wants to follow in her footsteps. His plans go awry and he finds himself instead the captain of a time travel ship that steals artifacts from the past right before they get destroyed and lost for good. Farway and his crew go to the Titanic right before it sinks to steal a book when someone else beats him to it. There is a lot more going on then Farway and his crew realize and the fate of the universe depends on them. The book is a pretty fast book to read for 400+ pages. There is a lot going on but not overly technical on the science stuff and the plot wasn't overly convoluted and was easy to follow.






From the books blurb:

Time flies when you're plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he's ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far's very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.


In this heart-stopping adventure, Ryan Graudin has created a fast-paced world that defies time and space.
 



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

9/8/17

Nyxia - by Scott Reintgen

I really liked the cover of this book when I saw it and it made me stop and read the blurb. It sounded like it could be a fun book to read. I was disappointed. The story is about 15 year old Emmett who is mysteriously recruited, along with 9 other kids, to go to a far off planet. All of the kids have one thing in common: they are all dirt poor and broken. The lure of money, lots of it, and free health care for ailing parents is just too great. All the kids are just too eager to jump on board and leave their families behind. When they get on board they find out that they will need to compete against other for a spot to Eden. The entire book is from Emmett's point of view. Endless pages of Emmett describing each game they compete in and how it went down and who won and how many points he has. Every once in a while Emmett (and a few other players) question why they are there and what is the Babel Corporation trying to turn them into and what secrets are they keeping. Then every one forgets and goes back to the game and each one is determined to get to this planet. 384 pages later, Emmett is still describing all the games they compete in and the book ends with winners leaving for the planet. There was a lost opportunity to have the kids investigate what's going and finding answers and for some suspense. Something else was needed to keep this book interesting. I kept waiting and it didn't happen.




From the books blurb:

Emmett Atwater isn't just leaving Detroit; he's leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden--a planet that Babel has kept hidden--where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel's ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won't forever compromise what it means to be human.

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



8/8/17

The Dark Net - Benjamin Percy

This is the first Benjamin Percy book I have read. The book was a fast read for me and held my interest through out and the ending was good but there could have been more character development. The book is only 272 pages so character development isn't going to be as extensive. So besides that the story is interesting. If you like a pure techno-thriller and not a fan of the supernatural then this book might not be for you. The story is unique with the use of the ancient demons and technology to wreak havoc on the world. Good versus evil. There are good guys in the world that have a special ability to see the darkness of evil. This unlikely crew needs to stop a virus from spreading and taking over the world and the human race. Overall a pretty fast paced book with a mix of mystery, horror and sci-fi.






From the books blurb:

Hell on earth is only one click of a mouse away…

The Dark Net is real. An anonymous and often criminal arena that exists in the secret far reaches of the Web, some use it to manage Bitcoins, pirate movies and music, or traffic in drugs and stolen goods. And now an ancient darkness is gathering there as well. This force is threatening to spread virally into the real world unless it can be stopped by members of a ragtag crew:

Twelve-year-old Hannah -- who has been fitted with the Mirage, a high-tech visual prosthetic to combat her blindness-- wonders why she sees shadows surrounding some people.

Lela, a technophobic journalist, has stumbled upon a story nobody wants her to uncover.

Mike Juniper, a one-time child evangelist who suffers from personal and literal demons, has an arsenal of weapons stored in the basement of the homeless shelter he runs.

And Derek, a hacker with a cause, believes himself a soldier of the Internet, part of a cyber army akin to Anonymous.

They have no idea what the Dark Net really contains.

Set in present-day Portland, The Dark Net is a cracked-mirror version of the digital nightmare we already live in, a timely and wildly imaginative techno-thriller about the evil that lurks in real and virtual spaces, and the power of a united few to fight back.



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

7/25/17

The Marriage Pact - by Michelle Richmond

Alice and Jake are newlyweds and one of their wedding gifts is an invitation to join an exclusive club of married couples. The goal of the club is to help couples make their marriage last and not be another divorce statistic. Newly married and insecure they decide to join. It seems like it could be fun. The rules for a happy marriage seemed innocuous: surprise your spouse with a gift each month, answer the phone when your spouse calls, take quarterly trips. “Noooooooo” That’s what I wanted to scream at them. You just know this can’t be good. From that moment on, I was glued to the pages and cringing every step of the way. The ending wasn’t what I had expected and I thought Richmond kept the characters true to themselves. 





From the books blurb:

In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice's prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter.
 . . . Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples. And then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare. 

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

7/17/17

Two Nights - by Kathy Reichs

I have never read any of the Temperance Brennan books by Kathy Reichs before so I can’t compare this to her other books. I have a feeling though that Two Nights is a completely different departure for Reichs. Thrillers are also not my usual go to books either but sometimes I like to read something different. For fans of the thriller genre this has the usual requirements: former loner cop with a past and a tough exterior, action, a sidekick, guns, and bad guys. I liked Sunnie and thought she had a hard edge but also a soft side. The books was fast paced and engaging. Reichs does a good job throughout the book explaining Sunnie’s traumatic childhood. Overall, I thought this was a pretty good thriller and fans of thrillers in general will enjoy this book as well.






From the books blurb:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs steps beyond her classic Temperance Brennan series in a new standalone thriller featuring a smart, tough, talented heroine whose thirst for justice stems from her own dark past.
Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie's help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn't she want to be found? It's time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.





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

7/5/17

Meddling Kids - by Edgar Cantero

One of my pet peeves is when the books blurb compares the book to other books that people really like and are popular. Once you see that comparison, it is stuck in your mind the whole time you are reading the book. That is what this book does. Although, I have never read John Dies at the End or Welcome to Night Vale, a lot of my fellow GoodReads friends have and most of them enjoyed these books. So maybe that has set my expectations a little high. The premise of the book looked interesting: childhood friends solve local mysteries not unlike Scooby Doo and come together as dysfunctional adults to go back and solve a mystery from their childhood. The blurb says “With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem” but I think the humor was lost on me. The orchestrated mayhem wasn’t much different than any other book of this type. I did more ‘eye rolling’ than anything. I was a little disappointed. I wasn’t sure if the author was going for meta or campy. Whatever Cantero was going for, didn’t work for me. Overall, despite the attempt at humor, the mystery itself wasn't too bad.






From the books blurb:

For fans of John Dies at the End and Welcome to Night Vale comes a tour de force of horror, humor, and H.P. Lovecraft. The surviving members of a forgotten teenage detective club (and their dog) must reunite as broken adults to finally solve the terrifying case that ruined them all…and sent the wrong man to prison. Scooby Doo and the gang never had to do this!

1990. The teen detectives once known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon) are all grown up and haven’t seen each other since their fateful, final case in 1977. Andy, the tomboy, is twenty-five and on the run, wanted in at least two states. Keri, one-time kid genius and budding biologist, is bartending in New York, working on a serious drinking problem. At least she’s got Sean, an excitable Weimeraner descended from the original canine member of the team. Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental health institutions, and currently resides in an asylum in Arhkam, Massachusetts. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star. The problem is, Peter’s been dead for years.


The time has come to uncover the source of their nightmares and return to where it all began in 1977. This time, it better not be a man in a mask. The real monsters are waiting.

With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem,
Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids taps into our shared nostalgia for the books and cartoons we grew up with, and delivers an exuberant, eclectic, and highly entertaining celebration of horror, life, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn. 


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

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.