Wow. I picked up Look Behind You on a whim. Kindle $0.99, what’s to lose? I’ll tell you what I lost: time. I could not put this book down and during t...moreWow. I picked up Look Behind You on a whim. Kindle $0.99, what’s to lose? I’ll tell you what I lost: time. I could not put this book down and during the past 5 hours I lost all track of time. Engrossing, absorbing and mind-blowing. That was the best $0.99, ever!
Chloe Benson wakes up in the dark, her hands and feet tied, her head aching and she has no idea what is going on. As she drifts in and out of consciousness, she tries to piece together what happened; the last thing she remembers is her husband’s 40th birthday. The only conclusion Chloe can come to is that if she does not escape, she will die. Determined and with the help of a piece of bone she finds, Chloe is able to escape. But, that is when the book really picks up because it turns out her husband’s birthday was seven weeks ago.
Her doctors, the police, even her control-freak of a husband, Liam, all do not believe she was kidnapped. They are unable to trace where she was being held. Recent events in her life point to the fact that Chloe might have had a mental breakdown. As she struggles to remember what happened, she begins to doubt herself. Her wild accusations and her tendency to become agitated when she is frustrated make her story less than credible.
As Chloe begins to puzzle tiny clues together, the memories trickle in. Paranoia takes over and she begins to suspect everyone: her husband, her friend, even a student at the school where she teaches. The reader will begin to doubt Chloe as the story messes with the reader’s head as much as it does Chloe’s. It’s a fast read, well paced, a true page-turner and a great story.
In Marcus Sakey’s Brilliance, the first book of his absolutely fantastic trilogy, the reader is introduced to the alternate reality of abnorms, brilli...moreIn Marcus Sakey’s Brilliance, the first book of his absolutely fantastic trilogy, the reader is introduced to the alternate reality of abnorms, brilliants, twists, the gifted. Since 1980, 1% of the world population was born with extraordinary gifts that gave them the singular ability to read minds, calculate the stock market, memorize books, or even move without being seen. At first, the brilliants were regarded as flukes, a DNA hiccup. Then, more children were born with talents only the abnorms possess. When the first wave grew to adulthood, the world began to regard them as threats.
Barely 3 months after abnorm Nick Cooper toppled a presidency, tossed his deceitful boss off the top of a building, and exonerated the abnorm “terrorist” John Smith, Cooper is faced with the consequences of his actions. While brilliant statistician John Smith does a speaking tour with his top-selling book “I am John Smith”, a previously unknown fanatical abnorm splinter group, Children of Darwin, has crippled three major cities. There are food shortages, the power is out, rioting is a constant, and the new president is forced to initiate martial law. Cooper agonizes that these events are directly related to the incriminating videotape of his former boss and the former president that he made public.
As Cooper begins to dig deep into the horrors related to the actions of Children of Darwin, he realizes this is a group more deadly than the John Smith followers. This group is ready to begin a civil war between the abnorm and the normal. They are ready to burn down the world with the abnorms as the superior race. The new president, a former history professor surrounded by hawkish advisors, is weak. Ironically he is incapable of using the hard-earned historical lessons involving war as Cooper begs him to stop the military actions and focus on the citizens’ needs.
This second in the series is not only an exceptional story; it also has the rare element that makes this book almost better than the first. The characters are well developed; they make the reader sympathetic to their stories. As Cooper fights the government and wrestles with his own accountability in this turmoil, the reader is introduced to Ethan Park and his family as they escape their quarantined city. Through Park’s family, the reader sees the horrors the citizens must endure to survive.
The author has written the women in this story strong and independent. Cooper’s abnorm lover, Shannon, is faced with the decision to follow the revolution or fight against it. Even Cooper’s ex-wife must deal with the cause and effect of her choices in this story of war and regret.
Throughout the book, there are mock-ups of advertisement hawking survival kits, abnorm suicide hot lines, even a game show that pits norms versus abnorms. It is a fantastic thriller and a well-told tale of ignorance, hatred, war, duplicity, consequence and survival. I cannot rave enough about this phenomenal series. I would highly recommend starting at the beginning and read until the explosive ending in book two. It promises an incredible book three that I will pre-order the very second it becomes available because I want to know what happens next. (less)
n the gritty, testosterone-infused world of male urban fantasy, Mercedes Thompson (AKA Mercy) is breath of fresh air. An independant woman living in t...moren the gritty, testosterone-infused world of male urban fantasy, Mercedes Thompson (AKA Mercy) is breath of fresh air. An independant woman living in the fantastical world of fae, vampires, witches and werewolves, Mercy Thompson is also a shapeshifter, a "walker" that becomes a coyote. Raised by a pack of werewolves in Montana, Mercy now runs the mechanic shop she bought from a gremlin in the magical city of Kenniwick, Washington (who knew?).
After a young, just-turned werewolf shows up at her shop looking for work, Mercy introduces him to the area Alpha male, Adam. The boy needs guidance and a pack for protection. Then the scat hits the fan when Adam is attacked, his human daughter is kidnapped, and Mercy finds a dead body on her doorstep. Trusting no one, she hauls the barely alive Alpha in her Vanagon to her Montana foster pack.
The beauty of the story is more than just the story of the self-sufficient and tough Mercy, the author educates the readers on the complex pack mentality and culture of werewolves. And vampires. And fae. And witches. And where a coyote walker like Mercy fits into this world. The author, Patricia Briggs, has created a blended society of the supernatural with it's rules and loyalities and protocol for dealing with the different species. Mercy is a rare creature with her ability to befriend and work with those of the other cultures.
Though a major part of the book is spent explaining the workings of a werewolf pack, it is neccessary and really very interesting. I found myself spellbound. It was like Animal Planet, but with werewolves.
I plan on continuing the series of the wonderful Mercy Thompson, I hear the next book has more vampires and a demon involved. My only hope is that the next book cover is not anywhere near as embarrassing as the almost dealbreaking cover of Moon Called. The busty lass with the low-rider jeans, windblown hair and trampy "come hither" expression, looked like she fell off of some bodice ripper romance novel and is nowhere near the kick-ass heroine who can hold her own against a pack of werewolves.(less) (less)
How well do you know your teenager? That is the question Kate Baron constantly asks herself after the apparent suicide of her only child, Amelia, who...moreHow well do you know your teenager? That is the question Kate Baron constantly asks herself after the apparent suicide of her only child, Amelia, who jumped off the roof at her school. A single mom with a high-power job as an attorney, Kate had assumed the two had a strong, open relationship, despite her late hours at work. Never truly believing Amelia would kill herself, Kate tries to accept her daughter’s death until the day she receives an anonymous text: “She didn’t jump”.
And it is when Kate begins to go through Amelia’s phone texts and her computer that she realizes her daughter was living a secret life even her best friend knew nothing about. Reading the frequent texts to a boy Amelia had yet to meet and discovering that the private school she attended allowed secret clubs, Kate is stunned at how far her daughter went to be accepted by the girls in her club, the Maggies. Kate is also heartbroken when she realizes her daughter was in love and had never told her.
Social media today is extensive and central to most teenagers’ lives; it connects them with friends, continues relationships and, unfortunately, it can also be used as a tool to bully. A blog by an unknown person at Amelia’s school cruelly exposes the students’, and teachers’, personal and sexual lives. Responses to Amelia’s Facebook statuses had grown rude and mean. Anonymous texts sent to her late at night are especially vicious. Kate is aghast at the amount of bullying her daughter had endured in the days before she died. She is especially stunned when she begins to receive hateful anonymous texts herself.
Cleverly recounted in two perspectives, the book has Kate’s third person narration begin with the day Amelia dies, and Amelia’s first person account of the events leading up to her death. Well written and never confusing, the book has twists, red herrings, and even some “aha” moments. And the reader will be saddened by the missed opportunities between mother and daughter that could perhaps prevented her death, if not stopped Amelia from making some of her more regrettable choices.
An intriguing book with engaging characters, Reconstructing Amelia exposes how far teenagers, and sometimes adults, will go for acceptance or love. It is also a unique conversation starter for the reader with teenagers because it will compel any parent to ask himself or herself: How well do I know my teenager? (less)
Ten years ago, a powerful starburst, aptly named Calamity, unexplainably endowed some members of the human race with incredible super powers. They cou...moreTen years ago, a powerful starburst, aptly named Calamity, unexplainably endowed some members of the human race with incredible super powers. They could fly or were impervious to weapon attacks or control the environment; these powers also gave them the ability to dominate the human race. Known as Epics, these new creatures, laughably immune to mortal law or government resistance were deemed “natural forces” and were therefore free to do as they pleased. They robbed, they killed, they took over and they dominated.
On the day that eight year-old David went to the bank with his father, he still believed that not all Epics were evil, especially his hero the indestructible Steelheart. When a violent Epic attacked the bank, Steelheart appeared. But instead of rescuing them, Steelheart proceeded to destroy the bank, killing everyone, including David’s father, and leaving David the sole survivor of that fateful day. Steelheart then transformed all of Chicago into one big steel fortress, now called Newcago, leading and controlling the population as a “benevolent” dictator.
Steelheart’s only mistake that day was leaving behind a witness; a witness who saw that Steelheart was not as indestructible as everyone thought. David saw Steelheart bleed. And, after the death of his father, David made it his life’s goal to kill Steelheart.
Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart is, hands down, a phenomenal opening for his new Young Adult trilogy. He has skillfully created a new world with the empowered Epics vying with each other for supremacy, the humans attempting to survive, and the resistance group called the Reckoners. Suspenseful, fast-paced, and with an arch sense of humor, Steelheart is brilliant.
Since that fateful day, David has collected ten years worth of surveillance photos, information, observations, and theories concerning the Epics and their individual weaknesses. Using this invaluable knowledge, David is able to talk his way into joining a cell of Reckoners led by Prof, a mysterious man able to build high-tech weaponry capable of fighting the Epics. Initially suspicious of David, Prof’s group begins to accept him. Everyone, that is, but Megan; a quiet, intense young woman who ably dismisses David yet still captivates him. He may be a gun-toting resistance fighter, but he continues to be a bumbling eighteen year-old boy when it comes to facing Megan.
Sanderson’s world of Epics and Reckoners has one teeny drawback: the names. Chicago becomes Newcago and the Epics have admittedly goofy names like Curveball, Refractionary and Deathpoint who even says, “It’s not the cleverest of names”. But, that is a minor quibble. The book is awesome, the characters are compelling, and the ending has enough twists and game changers that it’s going to be hard waiting for the next book, Firefight, which comes out in (too far away) 2014.
Until the last few chapters, and just like the protaganist, I had no idea what on earth was going on in the unreal town of Wayward Pine...moreBLEW. MY. MIND.
Until the last few chapters, and just like the protaganist, I had no idea what on earth was going on in the unreal town of Wayward Pines. The pace was non-stop, the tension was growing, and I did not want to put this book down. I tore through Pines in 2 days, and have already checked out the second book from the Kindle lending library. If you like psychothrillers that keep you guessing and a good strong protaganist that does not give up, check out Pines.
When lawyer Victor Carl is, once again, down on his luck and prowling the courthouse for clients, any clients (“DUI’s, half-price”) he bumps into an o...moreWhen lawyer Victor Carl is, once again, down on his luck and prowling the courthouse for clients, any clients (“DUI’s, half-price”) he bumps into an old law school friend. A friend with a lucrative offer: her employer, who shall remain anonymous, needs a bagman for the campaigning Senator DeMathis. Victor would stand to make a lot of money, with an expense account, no less. Then he could afford a new tux and the astronomically overpriced leather shoes with bows that Timothy at Boyd’s proclaims will make him “The belle of the ball”. How can a man say no?
And everything is going just dandy, until a woman is found hammered to death in an alley. Unfortunately it is a woman that Victor had, just that day, slipped a huge envelope of money in exchange for her silence. Knowing the police, specifically the intrepid Detective McDeiss, are watching him closely, Victor continues to make the senator’s constituents very happy with the contents of his fancy new brown leather bag recommended by Timothy at Boyd’s.
This book, Bagmen, was such an enjoyable treat. The quick-witted smartass Victor, the snappy dialogue, and the memorable characters were a significant draw for me. There’s Timothy at Boyd’s, the crazed, but gorgeous senator’s sister, the desiccated horny old bat who would love to get into Victor’s pants but settles for “donating” to the senator’s campaign, but the best characters are the members of the Brotherhood. Also known as the Order of the Sazerac, the Guild, the Club of Kings, these hard-drinking, chain-smoking bagmen who frequent Rosen’s and consistently stick Victor with the check, have invited him into their fold. With a list of rules passed down from father to son, Victor is taught the fine art of “taking care of things for a price”. With Miles of the infamous comb-over and Hump from New Orleans (“Indeed”) and Stony Mulroney with his thermoses, these scenes the bagmen are the best.
As Victor gets deeper and deeper into the political cow dung surrounding Senator DeMathis, he starts to learn some very disturbing secrets that bring out Victor’s inner integrity, previously buried under said cow dung and his corrupt, but oh-so-fun, career as a bagman. The question is: does he want to return to his former life as a lawyer who can’t keep a client list, can barely pay his bills, and must face judges who ask him if he actually has client or is he “just here for a hope?” Or, will he follow Bagman rule number 8 and keep his grip with his big brown bag ready to open for business?
The number of times the writer uses the word "stinking" makes me think he created a drinking game for reader. Read the word, take a shot, see who is left standing at the end: you or the bagmen?
Because this book was so enjoyable, I am definitely going to check out the author’s seven other books starring the dauntless Victor Carl. (less)
After I address how I felt about the polarizing ending of Ruin and Rising, I'm going to rave about how much I loved this book and the series as a whol...moreAfter I address how I felt about the polarizing ending of Ruin and Rising, I'm going to rave about how much I loved this book and the series as a whole.
While reading various fan reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, I saw that many readers absolutely hated the ending Bardugo chose for her main characters. No spoilers, but there were many fans that had hoped for a different ending for Alina, Mal,Nicholai, and the Darkling. To me, the ending made perfect sense. While reading the books, I recognized that while Alina felt driven to find the three amplifiers, she was also ambivalent about her life as a Saint. She wanted to defeat the Darkling and bring peace to Ravka, but she also missed the simplicity of her life before she discovered her Grisha powers. Despite her lifelong love for Mal, only the Darkling could be her equal. I loved the ending and it made me cry. I cried for the characters and I cried because I was going to miss the magical world of Ravka.
Now, for those searching for an absolutely delicious and addicting fantasy trilogy, please pick up Smoke and Bone, the first in the Grisha Trilogy. You will be hooked and, like me, absolutely devour it. Then, with your appetite craving more, you will ferociously search for a copy of Siege and Storm. Dying to know the ending for Alina and Mal and the compelling Darkling, you will grab Ruin and Rising, lock your door, turn off your phone and read until the bittersweet end. It's that good.
To me, Alina has always represented a victim of circumstance. Raised as an orphan, she came from nothing, and never expected hidden Grisha powers would make her the most powerful, and beloved, summoner in Ravka history. A polar opposite to the cruel, yet sexually compelling, Darkling, Alina fights her destiny. There are parts when she allows her greed in acquiring the immortalizing amplifiers that clouded her judgment. She is told that "like draws to like", so there are scenes when she finds herself erotically and powerfully drawn to the Darkling. And they are tasty.
Her relationship with Mal grows and comes to a mutual understanding with this last book. The second book left me depressed when they both basically turned their backs on one another, each refusing to accept the other's destiny. Her powers destined her for leadership; his talents destined him as a tracker and a soldier. It is hard to fight destiny when your heart is breaking.
Prince Nicholai, the swaggering, flippant, handsome pirate, I mean privateer, has some difficult choices to make in this book. He is also faced with a horrifying destiny that makes for an incredible twist.
The Darkling. I absolutely loved this cruel, manipulative, calculating, gorgeous man. He is one of those bad boys that make your conscience scream "Run away!" while you, and Alina, are unwillingly drawn to him. The reader is sucked in by his charisma and villain black garb. Just as like draws to like, he and Alina are meant to be together.
The final book ties up all loose ends concerning the firebird amplifier, the Morozova legacy, Baghra, The Fold, Alina, Mal, Nicholai, and the Darkling. What could be an incredibly depressing novel if it weren't for moments of human kindness and the power of friendship, Ruin and Rising is an incredible finish to a series I cannot recommend enough.
Where to begin? How do you sum up and end a story that begins in the magical city of Prague where an angel and a devil fall in love? No nitpicking, we...moreWhere to begin? How do you sum up and end a story that begins in the magical city of Prague where an angel and a devil fall in love? No nitpicking, we all know it truly began on the beach at Bullfinch, but that is not the point. What is the point is that the final book of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy is glorious, magical, and, despite the cascade of tears, ends…perfectly.
Laini Taylor’s much awaited Dreams of God and Monsters starts where the second book ended. The Dominion Army of Eretz has invaded the earthly world where they are revered as gifts from God. Angels from heaven. The second coming. The rapture. Knowing the true purpose of the evil Dominion leader, Jael, the Seraphim and the Chimaera are forced with but one option: combine armies of century-old enemies to fight Jael.
With Karou and Akiva working hard to bring the two groups to a détente, they have no time alone. Both are hurt by their past, neither is sure what to expect of their future. And the two lovers of two lifetimes have little hope they will ever be together again. A war is starting and nothing is sacred.
Taylor’s poetic prose takes the stories from Eretz and Earth to weave a beautifully written tale of love and war and two worlds. It’s like reading an ancient epic poem. Those who fell in love with Karou and Akiva and Ziri and Mik and the feisty little Zuzana will not be disappointed. You will fall in love with them all over again and you will miss them when you turn the last page and close the book. As Akiva tells Karou, “it’s magic”. (less)