No Easy Hope was a very enjoyable read. If you like the zombie-apocalypse genre (a growing and crowded field!), No Easy Hope was a cut above the "packNo Easy Hope was a very enjoyable read. If you like the zombie-apocalypse genre (a growing and crowded field!), No Easy Hope was a cut above the "pack". I particularly liked the book's introduction on how the zombie apocalypse started and how the main character, Eric, prepared for it. I felt this was one of the book's strengths.
As a zombie-apocalypse novel, familiar themes were followed: a virus creates hordes of the undead which is spread by being bitten; the undead have an insatiable appetite for the living; this leads to total societal breakdown, which in turn, leads to a survival of the fittest/dog-eat-dog environment. Added to this mix are the usual bad guys among the survivors, who then prey on the living.
There are already several sequels to Cook's Surviving the Dead series and having read the teaser for his next book, This Shattered Land, it looks to pick up quite nicely where No Easy Hope left off. Series such as this have a tendency to carry on too long with book after book, and there simply isn't enough interesting/original content to keep the reader interested. I hope Cook resists the temptation to produce boring and meaningless sequels and draw his series to an end before it exceeds it's "expiration" date.
Four stars for the No Easy Hope, the first book in the Surviving the Dead series!...more
Gone Girl is a chilling psycho-thriller, and one of the best in this genre that I have read in quite some time. Unfortunately, I saw the movie beforeGone Girl is a chilling psycho-thriller, and one of the best in this genre that I have read in quite some time. Unfortunately, I saw the movie before reading the book (although I liked the movie so much, it spurred me to go out and get the book!). Obviously, this took the edge off what are some serious plot twists that trust me, you will not see coming. Even at that, Gone Girl still had plenty of suspense which a movie simply can't completely encompass.
Gone Girl centers on the seeming idyllic marriage of New York couple, Nick & Amy Dunne. Their marriage, their lives, seem to be on a perfect upward spiral when both Amy and Nick lose their jobs in the publishing industry, and Nick is forced to move them back to Missouri to take care of Nick's terminally ill mother. At this point, Amy and Nick's relationship changes, the marriage sours, and this sets the stage for the rest of the novel
What I liked most about Gone Girl is that it is one of those rare books that is different and unpredictable...kind of like a stand alone novel that defies genre. Although in my opening remarks I referred to Gone Girl as a psycho-thriller, it doesn't follow a formulaic pattern you would expect. Too many books nowadays piggyback on the success of other novels (Hunger Games; Divergent; you read the first book of the series, you have the basic plot lines for all dystopia novels to come!), and they become predictable and boring. Not so for Gone Girl which is thoroughly unpredictable.
What I liked least about Gone Girl-and the reason I did not give it five stars-is the language. Apparently, "modern" novels don't have legitimacy unless you include healthy amounts of "F" words. Funny in a way isn't it, that one of the filthiest word in the English language has been raised to an art form? To be liberally imbued in any novels written by "serious" writers? I find it distracting...and soooooooo unnecessary. In Gone Girl, Gillean Flynn uses the "F" word so frequently and so club-like, you'd be hard pressed to find any single page without at least one use of the word. If you can stomach Flynn's fixation with this term, you will not be disappointed with Gone Girl.
Four stars for the outstanding novel, Gone Girl! ...more
I have never read a bad book by Michael Connelly, and The Burning Room is no exception. Harry Bosch is back as the veteran detective for the LAPD, andI have never read a bad book by Michael Connelly, and The Burning Room is no exception. Harry Bosch is back as the veteran detective for the LAPD, and working cold cases. In The Burning Room, Bosch has a new partner, young and inexperienced Lucy Soto.
The beginning of The Burning Room starts like most of Connelly's novels, with the crime laid out and presented to the reader very much in the Joe Friday, "just the facts, ma'am" style. Of course, there are always twists with Connelly's novels, and The Burning Room has them in spades...not the least of which is that Soto has a very personal stake in a cold case which she talks Bosch into taking on along with the official cold case they have been assigned.
The novel builds slowly, but steadily toward the climax where we find out how Bosch has unraveled not one, but two crimes committed over a decade ago. The Burning Room became a real page-turner at this point, and it was hard for me to turn it down as I eagerly looked forward toward how Bosch had parted the curtains on the mystery behind these crimes.
It is here, at the thundering climax of The Burning Room, that the novel stumbled badly. It was...awful. It was...anticlimactic. Disingenuous is a word that comes to mind, and I don't think I am overstating just how disappointed I was.
The good news is that 90% of The Burning Room is great. The bad news is the final 10% is not. I would have given The Burning Room at least 4 stars had the ending even been close to Michael Connelly's usual standards. But since it was not...
I haven't given a book I've read 5 stars in a long time. It's been even longer since I had time to write a book review. The fact that I am doing bothI haven't given a book I've read 5 stars in a long time. It's been even longer since I had time to write a book review. The fact that I am doing both should be a good indication of what I thought of "The Martian" by Andy Weir.
The basic premise of The Martian is actually an old one-a castaway on an island (think Robinson Crusoe)-except instead of an island, the castaway is on Mars! In The Martian, the "castaway" is Mark Watney who is part of a manned mission to Mars.
Watney and his fellow astronauts are on Mar's surface when a horrific dust storm strikes. In the confusion, Watney is struck by flying debris and carried off by the storm. Evacuating Mars, Watney is left behind by the other astronauts who presume him to be dead, killed by the storm...but in fact, he is very much alive!
The bulk of the novel is then devoted to Watney, an engineer by training, on how he uses his MacGyver-like ingenuity to use the technology and facilities left behind by the current and previous manned missions to survive. The science is solid, the writing superb, and the storyline fabulous. This book is the real deal and a page-turner you will find hard to put down.
A VERY enthusiastic 5 stars for The Martian!!!...more
Refugees is the 3rd novel in the apocalyptic series, The Remaining. Of these three books, Refugees is the weakest offering by D.J. Molles. Part of theRefugees is the 3rd novel in the apocalyptic series, The Remaining. Of these three books, Refugees is the weakest offering by D.J. Molles. Part of the problem is what is endemic in many multi-book series, namely a sameness that leaves the reading thinking, "Wait! Haven't I read this before?" The plot and story lines begin to lose their uniqueness and begin to intersect with a numbing regularity. That said, Refugees did keep my interest and if you have read the previous books in the series, there are some VERY interesting developments that will keep you turning pages.
One of these "developments" is a shocking discovery made by Captain Lee Harden that threatens to completely undermine his plans for the safety and security of the survivors he leads. There is also dissension among the band of survivors regarding the methods Harden uses against the infected who remain a constant and growing threat. It makes for an extremely challenging situation for Harden who has to keep one eye ahead for threats as well as one behind him to watch his back.
The 4th book in The Remaining series, Fractured, will be released in paperback form on December 26th. I am looking forward to the conclusion of the series. Having read many book series in different genres, I am of the firm conviction that there are some of these series that would have been well-served to have concluded a book or two earlier. There just isn't enough original material to keep forward momentum and the reader engaged and interested. While I don't believe this to be the case with The Remaining, Refugees did stumble a bit. That is why I give it a solid 3 stars instead of a more enthusiastic 4....more