Strong female lead, a murder mystery, women’s rights, and a smattering of first love – there’s lots here to enjoy.
Josephine Montfort's world changes wStrong female lead, a murder mystery, women’s rights, and a smattering of first love – there’s lots here to enjoy.
Josephine Montfort's world changes when her father dies. Her sheltered life as a member of one of the first families of New York didn't prepare her for this. Then again, Jo doesn't want her sheltered life. She wants to be a newspaper reporter like the famous Nelly Bly. She also has a handsome friend, Bram Aldrich, destined to be her fiancé, who she has known since childhood.
There’s a good mix of the historical facts mixed into the mystery, and Jo’s coming of age story is engaging. She meets cub reporter Eddie Gallagher who helps her to investigate the murder of her father.
The murder isn’t too hard to figure out, but it’s a fun trip to watch Jo and Eddie figure it out. The outline of life for a woman in that era is strong, and a great subplot. My only real issue with the novel is the way Jo falls in love with Eddie. It’s just so fast, one glance and she’s willing to risk everything....more
Zoë Zindleman is automatically graduated from school, and now must work in a strip-mall or face punitive measures. Now that she is an adult, her motheZoë Zindleman is automatically graduated from school, and now must work in a strip-mall or face punitive measures. Now that she is an adult, her mother chooses to leave for a new life, leaving Zoë alone. She gets a job at AllMART, and is adopted by some of the other children who work there. Their home is the abandoned mall across the road.
The novel shows the bleak life of those at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale. The job is mind-numbing yet funny and the customers are demanding, rude and unique.
The brisk pace covers pulls you into Zoë’s world, and soon you notice how each day has become more creepy and scary than the last.
Despite giving much detail of the rest of society, Zoë’s world is clear enough. There are little details dropped in from news reports and other sources that give just enough background. There is a constant nameless, faceless dread of a broken world, her anxiety at existing in this terrifying world, and the friends she makes whilst there.
I loved the allusions to ‘The Martian Chronicles’, but I’m sure the novel would work just as well if you’d not read it at all....more
Letting You Go is a novel about relationships. The protagonist Alex with her father, sister, and mother. Her relationship with her childhood sweethearLetting You Go is a novel about relationships. The protagonist Alex with her father, sister, and mother. Her relationship with her childhood sweetheart, Finn, and how the devastating loss of her younger brother damages all of them.
The story is a slow burner – it takes a good while for the relationships to be set up, but once Alex is immersed with her family, the pace picks up.
The characters are the key here. From guilt-ridden Alex, to her secret keeping sister, her angry father and her all-too-patient ex-boyfriend. At times, I did want to shake the characters and make them talk to each other, as some things were obvious early on, but in general I enjoyed how the relationships changed and grew by the end.
I did find the setting to be a problem – it reads like a very American place and writing style, but there are the odd mentions of things that place it in the UK.
I received this as an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ...more
'Why would a man escape from prison the day before he's due to be released?'
An intriguing premise, which made me think of theArc copy from Netgalley.
'Why would a man escape from prison the day before he's due to be released?'
An intriguing premise, which made me think of the Shawshank film. The protagonist Audie is very much like Tim Robbins character, innocent of his crime, unfairly abused, helping other prisoners with their appeals. He even has a black sidekick Moss, who sadly is not quite as wise as Morgan Freeman.
Characters aside, despite spotting some of the key elements of the plot early, I still enjoyed watching how the special agent pulled the case together from the clues she had. The pacing is a little slow at first, but it picks up and delivers a satisfying action-packed ending.
The novel loses a star for the frankly bizarre idea that Special Agent Furness would get called a midget, a child, insulted, laughed at, unable to buy clothes etc etc for being 5 foot two. Plenty of people are that short, or shorter, without the constant issues she has....more
If someone told me to pick up a book about the science of surviving on Mars, I’d probably consider it a reference non-fiction book. However, that’s prIf someone told me to pick up a book about the science of surviving on Mars, I’d probably consider it a reference non-fiction book. However, that’s pretty much what the fiction book ‘The Martian’ offers.
Mark Watney is stranded on Mars when a freak accident convinces his team that he’s dead. They head back to earth, leaving him to survive for as long as his food supplies will last. What follows is a juxtaposition between the science of survival in such a hostile environment and his witty personality.
I’m sure hard science mixed with sarcastic humour isn’t for everyone, but it turned into a real page turner for me.
Mark is an astronaut who is a trained biologist and engineer. His journal entries cover solving various problems, surviving disasters, and working on getting home. Each entry glorifies science, which I hope would call out to the nerds out there, and is tempered by Mark’s dark wit.
“The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the “L” in “LCD” stands for “Liquid.” I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.”
It’s that nerdy science feel that makes the story feel so authentic, but it’s pretty accessible stuff. There are no aliens, no Michael Bay-splosions, just the practical application of knowledge that can save a life. Albeit if you’re stuck alone on Mars....more
Gladstone, the so-called ‘Internet Messiah,’ has not only failed to bring back the Web, but his searcThe sequel to Notes from the Internet Apocalypse:
Gladstone, the so-called ‘Internet Messiah,’ has not only failed to bring back the Web, but his search has landed him in a New York City psychiatric ward. The rest of the world isn't doing so well either. The economy continues to suffer, further stoking the discontent of frenzied former Internet users still looking for a fix.
Opening with Gladstone in a psychiatric ward works well, allowing a new reader to find out everything they might have missed in the first novel. We find out about his previous life, his ex-wife, his friends, and his mission. But the novel really gets going when Gladstone is released, and meets up with his friend Tobey. Tobey photocopies and disseminates Gladstone’s diary until it goes ‘paper viral’ – stirring up followers who rebel against the governments NET Recovery Act.
This is a funny book, with an interesting commentary on the internet and the people who like to hang out there, from your average Instagram user to a member of 4Chan or Anonymous. The parts I liked were the feeling that the author is someone who understands the web, who understand the horror of a lost signal, or no data and amplifies it by making that loss last forever.
It’s exaggerated and ridiculous and funny and it’ll still make you reach for your smartphone to make sure you’ve not lost it.
I like that some time is spent on how the web works, though I could’ve done with a little more depth. Perhaps he knows his audience and didn’t want to dig too deep into the technical side, sticking to memes and jokes.
The weakest part of the novel were the female characters, roles relegated to either his ex-wife or women he picks up, or wants to hit on. There are parallels with the Spike Jonze film ‘Her’ -- someone who doesn’t live in reality, hiding because real people are too hard to deal with.
Still, I’ll be on the lookout for the final part of the trilogy to see if we get our net back! ...more