This is the first novel by debut author Brett Battles, and book one in the Jonathan Quinn series. As a cleaner, Quinn covers up messy murder scenes be...moreThis is the first novel by debut author Brett Battles, and book one in the Jonathan Quinn series. As a cleaner, Quinn covers up messy murder scenes before the police can discover the crime. He's a mind-your-own-business kind of guy with a sort of grim wit and a dedication to his old teacher who died on the job.
This book sucked me in right off the bat with it's original premise and swift plot. The twists really are surprising, and the characters develop in interesting ways through the story - Nate especially surprised me with his maturity levels. It has all the tropes you look for in a good suspense, thriller, and detective story: a tangled conspiracy, a clue-by-clue mystery, an international thrill ride, secret agencies, and a main character that really is the best out there.
On the down side, one or two things did strike me as unbelievable: for one, there's the bad guy's main building. Brett kept describing it as a balloon, which I had a heck of a time picturing, and I ended up thinking of it as some kind of space shuttle. Then there's the mints at the end....don't want to spoil the story, but mints? They were too silly for me to take seriously. However, these were minor flaws in an otherwise great book. All I can think about is how classic it was, despite being so inventive. Kudos to Brett for this great thriller.
This is a chilling, very realistic book by the collaborative voice of two journalists under the pseudonym Nicci French.
Abbie Devereaux wakes up somew...moreThis is a chilling, very realistic book by the collaborative voice of two journalists under the pseudonym Nicci French.
Abbie Devereaux wakes up somewhere in the dark, wrists tied, ankles tied, gagged and blinded with a sack. She can't remember the past week. Her kidnapper tells her he's going to kill her, that he's killed other woman just like her, and there's nothing she can do about it. She is going to die. In desperation, Abbie tries to hang herself with the ropes she's tied to, and breaks them instead. She escapes. But once in the real world, she's still not safe. For one, nobody believes she was kidnapped, and no one can find her kidnapper. For two, everything about the life she remembers has changed: her boyfriend is now her ex, she's living somewhere else, she quit her job, her personality was changed entirely...This is all worsened by evidence that she's actually loosing her mind.
The great thing about this book is that Abbie is so ordinary and instinctive that everything she feels or does makes complete sense. You become Abbie. And so you feel her doubt: what happened was real, wasn't it? She's not crazy, is she? With a creepy aura of deja vu, Abbie finds herself retracing her exact steps from the week before her amnesia, and she struggles to understand - who was she? why did she change? who is she now? The more she learns, the less anyone believes her. The less she believes herself. The more she knows the trail has to end, somewhere.
This is the kind of book you can't get out of your head even weeks after you'd finished reading it. Abbie is a vulnerable but internally strong character I empathized with right away. The story is edgy without being horrifying, filled with a sense of doom, inevitability, and grim determination - the ending is climatic and shocking, but fully satisfying as well.
Downside: there was none, as far as I can remember. Abbie's steamy but short romance with Ben is the only reason I didn't give this five stars, and that's my personal preference for modesty.
While this book reads like a *stand-alone, it is actually the latest in the Sean Drummond series by Brian Haig.
Sean Drummond is simultaneously intrigued and disinterested when the CIA sends him to "consult" on a bizarre, uber secure FBI crime scene. If that sounds convoluted, it is, and Sean makes note of that with a perfect amount of wit and sarcasm. This is the most honestly-funny book I've ever read. It is also the best thriller I've read, in like, forever. I would almost classify this as a psychological thriller.
The basic plot goes thus: some genius intelligence is on a two-day horror killing spree. At the end of the two days, they plan to assassinate the president. As the different government agencies bumble around, try to avoid getting blamed for the lighting-fast attacks, and struggle to be the one who cracks the case, Sean teams up with an FBI behavioral specialist, Jennifer Marigold. Together they struggle to the case-within-the-case, while saving their own buts from their fickle bosses, and trying to stay ahead of the blitzkrieg attacks. With an explosive finale to the killer's plans, Jenny and Sean save the day, case solved.
Or is it?
You will never, ever see the surprise ending coming, yet it remains perfectly reasonable and satisfying. Amazing book. I plan to read everything else in the Sean Drummond series.
*The only caveat is a few paragraphs in two different chapters about Sean's sortof girlfriend, Jenny, and why they are sortof dating/not dating. The author seems to feel a need to explain Jenny and Sean's last mission together, which had no relation to the present story. But it's brief, and it flows well, and it's no real bother. Other than that the book does well as a stand-alone. When seeing other backstory, you don't even realize it has to do with previous books. (less)
**spoiler alert** This book is Lisa McMann's first, and also first in a series. The story is about is a teen girl named Janie who finds herself trappe...more**spoiler alert** This book is Lisa McMann's first, and also first in a series. The story is about is a teen girl named Janie who finds herself trapped in other's dreams; and the worse the dream is, the harder it's pull on her. She can't sleep during other's dreams and is often left exhausted.Big portions of her time are spent trying to avoid being around sleepers. Relationships are a struggle, especially since she spends most her time working or at school, and any time spent at home means cleaning up after her alcoholic mother. Then Janie falls victim to the most terrifying dream of her life. Who could dream something that terrible?
Over time, Janie begins running into a boy named Cabel who hovers for a while on the outskirts of her life. Then one night Janie goes on a overnight field-trip with her class which is a huge, huge mistake; she's mobbed by the dreams of everyone on the bus, and Cabel notices. Before passing out, Janie begs him to hide what's happening to her. For the whole weekend Cabel takes care of her between bouts of struggling through other's dreams, and resting herself. I love how Cabel is tender, here, but more on that later. After the trip Cabel very gently asks what the heck was going on with Janie. And for the first time in her life, she tells someone about her ability.
The rest of the story oscillates between the three main plots. Janie and Cabel fall in love, but then Cabel begins hanging out with a bad crowd, and Janie refuses to let him explain himself. She discovers that Cabel is the dreamer of the horrid nightmare, and she learns what it means. Janie struggles more with her abilities, manages to change one, and discovers an old lady who shared her ability and who starts teaching her how to take control of dreams. Then Cabel begins contacting Janie in her dreams, and finally gets to explain that he's part of a drug bust, which is why he's hanging with the bad crowd. Janie gets swept up in the action for a little while until the bust is over. Then she and Cabel get back together, while the old lady promises to help Janie grow in her abilities.
Okay. That's the plot, here's my criticism. First, I wanted so badly to love this story. I loved the premise. I thought the style worked pretty well, even though it was a little choppy. Cabel was so sweet sometimes, he reminded me of Clark Kent in Smallville - adoring, tender, gentle.
But none of it came together for me. Even now, I don't know what the book was about. Janie&Cabel's romance? Janie fighting her ability? Janie learning how to use it? Cabel's nightmare? The drug bust? Everything flip-flopped. One moment, Janie and Cabel had the sweetest, closest relationship I can ever remember. Then for some minor reason that didn't even make sense, Janie would go off on him, and Cabel would over-react, and they would break up. Then in a similar manner, they would be together again, poof. Also, Janie doesn't come across as very sympathetic. Most of the time she is trying to avoid other people's dreams, ignoring their pleas when she is in the dream, condemning Cabel, or getting mad at her alcoholic mother.
The plot and themes all felt recycled, which seems impossible with the dream problem, but still somehow managed to get that feel anyway. There was no motivation behind people's actions. A lot of what happened felt contrived, there just because, and the ending was like a whole new kind of story. The whole thing about the nightmare isn't even that important; it doesn't change Janie, it doesn't help her learn to control dreams, and it doesn't even impact her that much.
Again: I really wanted to love this story. I had hoped for so much based off the premise. But I was very disappointed and finished with a sour taste in my mouth. It actually reminded me a lot of the novel Being. Although my heart goes out to the author, I won't be reading Fade, and I won't be recommending Wake.
*One final thought - I have to admit this book is one you either love or hate, although haters seem to outnumber fans.
This is truly unique and original story that, for me, was the best of Stephanie Meyer: all her talent without the mixed frustrations, cliches, and con...moreThis is truly unique and original story that, for me, was the best of Stephanie Meyer: all her talent without the mixed frustrations, cliches, and controversies of the Twilight series.
The story begins with Wanderer, unique among her alien kind, as she wakes up inside her newest host. Wander has lived a term on almost all the colonies. She's been to the Origin and the fire planet; she's been an ice bear, a flower, a sea-weed, a spider. None of these planets ever felt like home, and unlike most of her fellow souls, Wanderer has yet to settle down. Now she's ready to try Earth.
Melanie was a rebel, one of the last on earth, and deeply in love with another human named Jared. Together with Mel's little brother Jamie, they were a family, they had a life. Then she got caught by a Seeker, and it was too late. Or so everyone thought.
Even though Wanderer was warned about how violent human emotions could be, she can't expect the resistance found in her new host. Wanderer can't seem to take control of the memories that come with her body. And even worse, she's not alone - Melanie is still alive in thought and memory. And despite everything Wanderer tries, Melanie seems to be growing stronger. As an annoying Seeker pushes Wanderer to find out where the other rebels were hiding, Melanie floods Wanderer with memories of Jared and their love together, until Wanderer loves him too. It's the final straw. Wanderer decides to give up on Melanie and earth, and try a new start somewhere else.
But on her way, Wanderer finds herself near the site where so many of Mel's memories lead - into the desert, and the mountains. Mel thinks she can find Jared. It's what they both want. It goes against everything Wanderer believes in, breaks the very principles of being a Soul, but Wanderer can't help how she feels.
Turns out Jared and Jamie are alive, and so are many others—rebels, hiding from the Souls in caves in the desert. And this begins the complicated web of relationships; Jared is embittered, refusing to believe Mel exists, and unsure of what to do with Wanderer; Wanderer is under Mel’s emotions, and finds herself making sacrifices for the humans against her fellow souls; and Mel continues to struggle for a sense of self, identity, and love. As Wanderer gains the understanding of what the Souls have done to the humans, she also finds herself confused by the way they treat her—some with respect, understanding, and even love; others with hate and disgust.
Wanderer knows the secret that could free the humans from the Souls for good, a secret she swore never to let the figure out. But now Wanderer’s questioning everything she believes in. Who deserves to live here, and who are the real monsters?
This story is a huge moral undertaking. Wanderer’s self-evaluations are very stark and painful, and the relationships in this novel is what makes it come to life. Some people will probably find themselves rolling their eyes at the Wanderer’s experiments with Jard to test Mel’s remaining power, and may also find some similarities between Wanderer’s extreme leaps of sacrifice and the Twilight series.
However, I thought The Host was an incredibly good read, and more realistic than any alien-invasion story or movie I have ever seen. Both Wanderer and Mel were strong heroines in their own way, and both were easy to relate to. Jared’s rejection of Wanderer, and Mel, was almost painful at times. So in contrast, Ian’s complete understanding feels undeserving but beautiful. Nothing is easy in this novel and the drama is very convincing. This isn’t like what you’ve read before.
I know that a lot of people got stuck halfway through her time in the caves, but I promise if you push through, it gets better. It really does.
This was a 4.5 for me. IF the series continues (tentatively a trilogy, tentatively two sequels named The Soul and The Seeker) then I plan to read them and hope to death Stephanie continues to grow in talent and doesn’t let this series fall apart like Twilight did.
Everyone keeps keeps saying this is a futuristic/dystopian - which it is, don't get me wrong - but before reading this book, I had no idea what it was...moreEveryone keeps keeps saying this is a futuristic/dystopian - which it is, don't get me wrong - but before reading this book, I had no idea what it was actually about. So here's a summary with plot in mind:
Titus meets Violet on the moon, and finds himself instantly drawn to her. While partying, someone hacks their feed, and they end up in the hospital together. There Titus learns that Violet is somewhat of a nonconformist - she's homeschooled, her father teaches dead languages, and she didn't get her feed until she turned seven. The rest of Titus' friends think that Violet is weird. He thinks she's unique, despite her urgings to "resist the feed" and her regular lamentations about their dying world. But then Violet really does start acting weird. Why does her feed keep malfunctioning? What if it can't be fixed? Titus loves Violet, but her last wishes may be too much, even for him.
My basic impression was, decent enough book, but what's the point? It was a richly drawn universe and kudos to Anderson for giving his teen characters such authentic, futuristic voices; but there wasn't much meat to the plot. **SPOILER** The basic storyline was boy meets girl, boy and girl get to know each other, girl gets sick, boy goes cold, girl dies, boy is regretful." ***End Spoiler*** That's pretty much it.
The characters never address the problems with their current lifestyle or the feed. Their relationship is lukewarm to start with, and ends with a shrug. Nobody changes. Nothing is added to, affected, or made any different. I have no clue why Titus got so frigid about Violet toward the end - it was more than his fear; it was like he simply didn't care. The book spans a few months worth of story time, but not that much happens, and it's only about 230-something pages. Without the futuristic dystopian trappings, it was basically your average story about a teen relationship doomed to fail.
Did I enjoy it while reading? Yes. Would I read it again? No.
Rated 3 stars, for voice, good way with words, and overall authenticity. (less)
Ugh. I hated this book. The only reason I'm giving it three stars is because the prose was written well, and for the most part, tension/suspense was a...moreUgh. I hated this book. The only reason I'm giving it three stars is because the prose was written well, and for the most part, tension/suspense was achieved. The author has some skill and it's not his fault I hate this kind of book. So based on that alone, here are my comments:
One - the beginning was a little repetitive. Three complete strangers have simultaneous experiences of a chill, a storm rolling in off Lake Michigan, see odd colors/shapes inside, and then all suddenly realize this is "no storm," but something else. But the next chapters make up for is, so unless you're really impatient, you should do OK.
Two - I started to get a bit frustrated by all the random events that happening. Characters popped in, characters popped out. You keep learning more and more about the creatures, but barely halfway through the book, you realize that no matter how much is learned, the characters can never change anything. A lot of clues end up being meaningless. What's worse is that I expected them to. This gives an overall effect of boredom and pointlessness. You keep reading because you need answers, but know you aren't going to get them in time.
Three- The thing about the boy? Saw that coming a mile away. Just ticked me off.
Four - Howard. I almost laughed at that. Just too weird, too random, not making sense at all. SPOILER ALERT -- My suspicion is that Howard is the gatekeeper person he claimed to be, not one of the phantoms or Death that he "revealed" himself as at the end. I believe sometimes the phantoms or even Death itself used him or his image as an illusion, and that most of the time he was just the gatekeeper.
Five - The ending. Anyone who has read other Christian fiction would have a good idea of how the story was going to end. There were some surprises; but the explanation, the reason all this was happening, was run of the mill and dissatisfactory. Plus it verified my suspicion that most of the story was more or less pointless. I liked the rest of the ending much better than the actual climatic "ending."
So let me summarize: the story was weak at parts, the prose was good, the ending could have been more inventive. This book was another example of a Christian writer calling his post-apocalyptic/horror novel "Christian Suspense".
This book had a very strong literary bent, and was more about the study of literature than the craft of writing. I read about two chapters before stop...moreThis book had a very strong literary bent, and was more about the study of literature than the craft of writing. I read about two chapters before stopping. (less)