I liked this book quite a bit. Sad and chillingly meditative, and a good amount of suspense to help me turn the pages. It wasn't quite as taut and horI liked this book quite a bit. Sad and chillingly meditative, and a good amount of suspense to help me turn the pages. It wasn't quite as taut and horrifying as his previous book, A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS, but I thoroughly enjoy Tremblay's writing, and he kept me guessing all the way though.
I also couldn't help but notice some similarities between this and FINDING JAKE by Bryan Reardon. I won't spoil why, but suffice it to say that since I read both of these books nearly back to back, I am loathe to let my teenage son leave the house again. lol ...more
I finally gave this a read after several recommendations by my fellow geek friends, and I have to say, I was very surprised by how much I ended up likI finally gave this a read after several recommendations by my fellow geek friends, and I have to say, I was very surprised by how much I ended up liking it. Cline has built such a complex and interesting world, and anyone who loves eighties nostalgia, particularly as it pertains to gaming and pop culture, will get a lot out of this story, which is a bit like a virtual Willy Wonka tale.
Enter the OASIS, a marvel of a virtual world where people can play games, shop, live, and be everything they can't be in the real world. At the same time, reality is falling apart around everyone. Economies in freefall, no jobs, people starving and living in mobile homes stacked twenty high to make more room for destitute residents. It seems all people want to do is live in the OASIS, and it becomes clear--though it's not really a large focal point of the story--that this is the reason the real world has gone to seed.
The reclusive creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, has just died and he's created the game of a lifetime. Hidden within his virtual world is an Easter Egg. The one who finds it inherits the man's entire fortune and complete control of the company that owns OASIS. Of course, everyone and their grandmother is out to find this thing, but it's not easy. In fact, it's a challenge for only the bravest and nerdiest of them all.
Enter Wade aka "Parzival" a gunter (what they call the egg hunters) who has devoted his life to finding the egg. HE's not the only one of course. There are other individual gunters as well as clans who have joined forces in an agreement to split the pot if they find it, and there is of course a Big Evil Corporation employing any means necessary to win the egg, take over the OASIS, and make it into a fascist, uber capitalist dystopia.
It's here that the story kind of falls into formulaic territory. It's a foregone conclusion that our hero will prevail. We just don't know how, or what he has to go through in order to make it happen. I have to admit, the story did take some interesting twists to get Wade there, and I enjoyed reading every one of them. If I had any complaint at all, I would say that the story feels a bit too pat in places. Particularly the ending. I think there is a somewhat more compelling story happening in the background of this world and would love to see it.
That being said, this was a highly entertaining read, a great escape to a nostalgic adventure that made me wish in many ways that the OASIS was real, though at the same time made me thankful it wasn't. Cline's speculation on how humanity might fare with such a creation at its disposal felt dead on accurate, and he's careful to note that reality still has a lot of great things to offer, if only we choose to spend time in it. I look forward to the movie....more
When I was given an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review, I wasn't sure what to expect, but by the time I made it all the way through this colWhen I was given an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review, I wasn't sure what to expect, but by the time I made it all the way through this collection of stories, I was nothing short of stunned. UNCOMMON BODIES is surreal, compelling fiction, and incredibly varied in style and tone. Some of it is just downright weird, but that's one of my favorite things about it. Standouts for me were P.K. Tyler's tale, DAEDALUS' DAUGHTER, and RUDY AND DIEDRE by Robb Grindstaff, but every writer in this anthology exhibited such strong voice and beautiful grasp of language that it's hard to choose a favorite. I'm sure I'll be reading back through it again at some point, as I tend to do with some my favorite short story collections....more
One of the most frightening books I've read in a while. A neat, modern twist on a possession story that in many ways isn't a possession story, but a tOne of the most frightening books I've read in a while. A neat, modern twist on a possession story that in many ways isn't a possession story, but a tale about a highly troubled family. My only wish was that it was longer. When it ended, I wasn't ready to say goodbye....more
I love French's writing. Her characters are interesting, and each one of the people she presents in this book are distinct and compelling. The mysteryI love French's writing. Her characters are interesting, and each one of the people she presents in this book are distinct and compelling. The mystery unfolded slowly, and I think if anything accounted for the star I had to shave off my rating was the general lack of payoff. It kind of sputtered to stop. But nonetheless, I enjoyed the ride....more
I like to read a lot of dark or at least somewhat grim fiction. I don't read a lot of comedies or love stories. It isn't that I don't enjoy such storiI like to read a lot of dark or at least somewhat grim fiction. I don't read a lot of comedies or love stories. It isn't that I don't enjoy such stories. It's just that not a lot of them find their way into my reading list because I don't seek them out. They kind of have to fall into my lap. And that's what happened with KUMQUAT.
This was a freebie on Kindle recently, and I'm a fan of Strand's work, so I scooped it up and started reading it after I finished a rather sad and murky Tana French mystery. And all I can is MAN I loved this story.
Todd and Amy are the quintessential perfect couple. They have a great rapport, they're geeks with great sense of humor. They're decent and kind people, loquacious and intelligent. I wanted to be their friends. I gobbled this book down over the course of two nights because I just wanted to hang with them. I NEVER read a book that fast. Unless I love it a lot (or hate it so much I just need to get it over with, but usually I'm being paid to read such things, and I wasn't paid to read this).
Strand very deftly built the suspense in this tale, as a roadtrip with the most benign intent. An average guy meets a cool gal at a really bad independent film festival, and they strike up a conversation. Soon they're taking a spontaneous thousand mile journey from Florida to Rhode Island to get a hot dog. Because why not? But the trip is so rife with one disaster or absurd conflict after another that it basically culminates in a complete phoenix-like rebirth for the main character. I simply can't divulge what happens to these poor people along the way, but you will laugh. You will cry. You will cringe. And you will want so hard for them to succeed, because Strand made these characters into lively, three-dimensional beings that you'll feel like you could just text and go, "Hey, want to go grab a hot dog?"
I was sad when this book ended, and it was a breath of fresh air in my otherwise dim, cobweb-filled library of haunts and sadness. Thank you, Jeff Strand, for making me giggle a lot. Now back to my regularly-scheduled ennui....more
The thing that immediately struck me as I paged through THE HUSBAND'S SECRET was the power of Liane Moriarty's voice. She tells this story through thrThe thing that immediately struck me as I paged through THE HUSBAND'S SECRET was the power of Liane Moriarty's voice. She tells this story through three very distinct female characters, all of whom have their quirks, conflicts, and life circumstances. All three know each other in some distant way, but they're also all united by one very dark deed, which the husband of one of the main characters, Cecilia, confesses in the form of a letter she wasn't ever intended to find until after he was dead. The way this information upsets her life in particular is utterly palpable, and it had me questioning how I would handle such news myself.
The tone of the book was very reminiscent of the now defunct TV show Desperate Housewives. It had good drama, interesting conflict, colorful characters, and just enough wry black humor to tie it all together.
My only quibble, and it is minor, is that Moriarty tends to make her characters ramble quite a bit from one thought to the next, and it gave the book a slightly frenetic feel that was at times exhausting to read. I just wanted her to cut to the chase and stop with the tangents already. But the rambling therein was intelligent and witty enough that it didn't become tedious or force me to abandon the book. While I didn't plow through this as quickly as I would have liked (and that may not be the book's fault), the question of how the three separate story lines would unite at the end kept me going, and it actually ended in a way I didn't expect. The epilogue in particular was a major heartbreaker, and perhaps a study in what an epilogue should do. It makes you rethink the tale in its entirety, and it also made me ruminate for quite awhile on the mechanisms of cause and effect, fate and destiny, or whatever it is that powers this crazy life of ours.
Moriarty is deft at handling emotional truths that lie at the heart of marriages and parenthood. I'll definitely be checking out more of her works for sure!...more