27 07, 2016

Review: DARK MATTER by Blake Crouch

By | Wednesday, July 27, 2016|4 Comments

Review: DARK MATTER by Blake CrouchDark Matter by Blake Crouch
Published by Crown/Archetype on July 26th 2016
Pages: 352
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, General, Thrillers, Suspense, Technological
ARC provided by BEA 2016, Crown Publishing Group

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A brilliantly plotted, relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller from the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy

"Are you happy with your life?"

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend."

In this world he's woken up to, Jason's life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that's the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could've imagined--one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human--a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we'll go to claim the lives we dream of.

I was riveted and horrified reading DARK MATTER. Not because it is a gruesome or anything, but because it challenges everything I think I know to be real. The story was mind-blowing and emotional. I have never imagined science fiction like this. This is something very new, and very intriguing. Jason is a […]

1 06, 2015

FREEDOM’S CHILD by Jax Miller

By | Monday, June 1, 2015|3 Comments

FREEDOM’S CHILD by Jax MillerFreedom's Child by Jax Miller
Published by Crown Publishing Group on June 2nd 2015
Pages: 320
Genres: Action & Adventure, Crime, Fiction, Suspense, Thrillers
ARC provided by Crown Publishing Group

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Freedom Oliver has plenty of secrets.  She lives in a small Oregon town and keeps mostly to herself.  Her few friends and neighbors know she works at the local biker bar; they know she gets arrested for public drunkenness almost every night; they know she's brash, funny, and fearless.

What they don't know is that Freedom Oliver is a fake name.  They don't know that she was arrested for killing her husband, a cop, twenty years ago.  They don't know she put her two kids up for adoption.  They don't know that she's now in witness protection, regretting ever making a deal with the Feds, and missing her children with a heartache so strong it makes her ill.

Then, she learns that her daughter has gone missing, possibly kidnapped.  Determined to find out what happened, Freedom slips free of her handlers, gets on a motorcycle, and heads for Kentucky, where her daughter was raised.  As she ventures out on her own, no longer protected by the government, her troubled past comes roaring back at her: her husband's vengeful, sadistic family; her brief, terrifying stint in prison; and the family she chose to adopt her kids who are keeping dangerous secrets.

Written with a ferocious wit and a breakneck pace, Freedom's Child is a thrilling, emotional portrait of a woman who risks everything to make amends for a past that haunts her still.

I just finished reading Freedom’s Child. I am not sure how I feel about this book. One the one hand, this was a great adventure and I wanted justice for Freedom. On the other hand, Freedom was so rough around the edges and the characters were a bit extreme, so unbelievable. It was […]

29 05, 2015

THE SHORE by Sara Taylor

By | Friday, May 29, 2015|12 Comments

THE SHORE by Sara TaylorThe Shore by Sara Taylor
Published by Crown/Archetype on May 26th 2015
Pages: 320
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction, Literary, Sagas
ARC provided by Crown Publishing Group

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An ambitious, Baileys prize-nominated debut set in an unforgettable place, introducing a powerful new voice in fiction

The Shore: a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay, just off the coast of Virginia. The Shore is clumps of evergreens, wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, and dark magic in the marshes. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it's a place that generations of families both wealthy and destitute have inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years. From a half-Shawnee Indian's bold choice to escape an abusive home only to find herself with a man who will one day try to kill her, to a brave young girl's determination to protect her younger sister as methamphetamine ravages their family, the characters in this remarkable novel have deep connections to the land, and a resilience that only the place they call home could create.

Through a series of interconnecting narratives that recalls the work of David Mitchell and Jennifer Egan, Sara Taylor brings to life the small miracles and miseries of a community of outsiders, and the bonds of blood and fate that connect them all. Spanning over a century, dreamlike and yet impossibly real, profound and playful, THE SHORE is a breathtakingly ambitious and accomplished work of fiction by a young writer of remarkable promise.

 The Shore is a collection of stories about intersecting lives. The chapters skip through whole generations and change characters. The thing that binds these characters together is their struggles and their location. All of the stories take place on one island off the Chesapeake Bay of Virgina’s coast. “The Shore is flat as […]

20 04, 2015

GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

By | Monday, April 20, 2015|10 Comments

GONE GIRL by Gillian FlynnGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Published by Broadway Books on August 26th 2014
Pages: 560
Length: 19 hours, 11 minutes
Genres: Fiction, General, Media Tie-In, Mystery & Detective, Suspense, Thrillers
Audiobook provided by The Library

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The #1 New York Times BestsellerOn a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

I haven’t seen the movie yet. I like to wait for movies to come to video, so I can enjoy them from the comfort of home. Gone Girl was such a great, addictive, mind-fucking read. I can’t wait to see Ben Affleck play Nick and Rosemond Pike is one of the most beautiful […]

23 03, 2015

THE ROOM by Jonas Karlsson

By | Monday, March 23, 2015|2 Comments

THE ROOM by Jonas KarlssonThe Room by Jonas Karlsson
Published by Crown Publishing Group, Hogarth on February 17th 2015
Pages: 192
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Satire
Paperback provided by Blogging for Books

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Funny, clever, surreal, and thought-provoking, this Kafkaesque masterpiece introduces the unforgettable Bjorn, an exceptionally meticulous office worker striving to live life on his own terms.

Bjorn is a compulsive, meticulous bureaucrat who discovers a secret room at the government office where he works--a secret room that no one else in his office will acknowledge. When Bjorn is in his room, what his co-workers see is him standing by the wall and staring off into space looking dazed, relaxed, and decidedly creepy. Bjorn's bizarre behavior eventually leads his co-workers to try and have him fired, but Bjorn will turn the tables on them with help from his secret room.

Debut author Jonas Karlsson doesn't leave a word out of place in this brilliant, bizarre, delightful take on how far we will go--in a world ruled by conformity--to live an individual and examined life.

This was a quick, interesting read. The Room is a short story and I could have read this in one sitting. The book gripped me right away with it’s creepy protagonist. Basically this book is about a man named Bjorn. Bjorn really wants to get ahead at work. The beginning of this story […]

18 03, 2015

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

By | Wednesday, March 18, 2015|7 Comments

Better Than Before by Gretchen RubinBetter Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
Published by Crown Publishing Group, Crown/Archetype on March 17th 2015
Pages: 320
Genres: General, Happiness, Personal Growth, Self-Help, Success
ARC provided by Crown Publishing Group

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The author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, tackles the critical question: How do we change? 

Gretchen Rubin's answer: through habits. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives.

So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits?  

Better than Before answers that question. It presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits—and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin’s compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better than Before explains the (sometimes counter-intuitive) core principles of habit formation.   Along the way, Rubin uses herself as guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers readers’ most pressing questions—oddly, questions that other writers and researchers tend to ignore:

  • Why do I find it tough to create a habit for something I love to do? •
  • Sometimes I can change a habit overnight, and sometimes I can’t change a habit, no matter how hard I try. Why?
  • How quickly can I change a habit?
  • What can I do to make sure I stick to a new habit?
  • How can I help someone else change a habit?
  • Why can I keep habits that benefit others, but can’t make habits that are just for me?

Whether readers want to get more sleep, stop checking their devices, maintain a healthy weight, or finish an important project, habits make change possible. Reading just a few chapters of Better Than Before will make readers eager to start work on their own habits—even before they’ve finished the book.

This book was really full of great ideas. Gretchen offers advice, tells stories to drive the point home, and breaks it down by personality type. This book would benefit almost anyone who was willing to sit down and read it. The Good: Gretchen introduces us first to the 7 essential changes people try […]

3 03, 2015

IF I FALL, IF I DIE by Michael Christie

By | Tuesday, March 3, 2015|7 Comments

IF I FALL, IF I DIE by Michael ChristieIf I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie
Published by Crown/Archetype on January 20th 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Action & Adventure, Coming of Age, Fiction, Literary
Hardcover provided by Blogging for Books

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A heartfelt and wondrous debut about family, fear, and skateboarding, that Karen Russell calls "A bruiser of a tale . . . a death-defying coming-of-age story."

Will has never been outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their world is rich and loving, full of art, experiments, and music—but confined to their small house.

But Will’s thirst for adventure can’t be contained. Clad in a protective helmet and unsure of how to talk to other kids, he finally ventures outside.  With the help of an artistic loner who introduces Will to the high-flying freedom of skateboarding, Will is pulled far from the confines of his closed-off world and thrust headfirst into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers.

In buoyant, kinetic prose, Michael Christie has written an emotionally resonant and keenly observed novel about mothers and sons, fears and risks, and the lengths we’ll go for those we love.

This is such a difficult book to review. If I Fall, If I Die was poetic and complicated. Although I grew attached Will, his mother, and Jonah, I could not really claim attachment to the mission and to their adventures. Their lives are so strange and far from reality, I could only vaguely […]

29 01, 2015

THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir

By | Thursday, January 29, 2015|15 Comments

THE MARTIAN by Andy WeirThe Martian by Andy Weir
Published by Broadway Books, Crown Publishing Group on February 11th 2014
Pages: 384
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fiction, Hard Science Fiction, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thrillers
Paperback provided by Blogging for Books

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Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

This story was very original. Mark Watney is the first person to be stranded on Mars. The character of Mark Watney is witty, smart, and determined to live. The character is narrated through a series of logs. He is honest about his situation and doesn’t mind working to survive. He just tells it […]

30 12, 2014

J by Howard Jacobson

By | Tuesday, December 30, 2014|6 Comments

J by Howard JacobsonJ by Howard Jacobson
Published by Crown Publishing Group on October 14th 2014
Pages: 342
Genres: Dystopian, Fiction, Literary
Hardcover provided by Blogging for Books

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In a world where the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited, J is a love story of incomparable strangeness, both tender and terrifying. After the devastation of WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED, all that should remain is peace and prosperity. Everyone knows his or her place; all actions are out in the open. But Esme Nussbaum has seen the distorted realities, the fissures that have only widened in the twenty-plus years since she was forced to resign from her position at the monitor of the Public Mood. Now, Esme finds something strange and special developing in a romance between Ailinn Solomons and Kevern Cohen. As this unusual pair's actions draw them into ever-increasing danger, Esme realizes she must do everything in her power to keep them together--whatever the cost.
With a sense of the dramatic sweep of Michael Ondaatje and the dystopian, literary sensibility of Margaret Atwood, Howard Jacobson's J is an astonishing feat of fiction. In this exquisitely written, beautifully playful and imaginative, and terribly heart-breaking work, Jacobson gathers his prodigious gifts for the crowning achievement of a remarkable career.

J was a story about a man and an occurrence. WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED is something mentioned throughout the story and it affects everything. This story involves a civilization without memory, without much hope for happiness and without much excitement. I wanted to love this tale. I enjoy most dystopian tales, but […]

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