The Beauty of the End

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tldrThe Beauty of the End is a suspenseful thriller about racing to find the truth, and resolving the past, before it’s too late.

    synopsis

“I was fourteen when I fell in love with a goddess.” Noah is an attorney who has shut himself away from the world when he learns a former love, April, is in the hospital and the main suspect in a murder case. Noah investigates the murder, and April’s past, in order to find out the truth. As he unveils her life it quickly becomes clear that the girl he loved was not who she seemed.

thoughts

This one was a bit tricky for me. On the face of it, I enjoyed the intrigue and mystery surrounding April Moon and the murder she’s suspected of committing. Noah, however, is a bit of a dolt. It’s pretty clear he was putting April on so high a pedestal that he never really got to know who she was on the ground, in real life. He also does some stuff throughout the book that is arguably stalker behavior. I blame Twilight for leading people to believe that is type of behavior is romantic, when it’s really just creepy.

Anyway, back to the story. Most of this book seems to be following along with Noah as he discovers, bit-by-bit, that he never really knew April, and was apparently the only one on earth who could tell that something was off with her. And everyone is lying, all the time. So often the same conversation happens multiple times before a tiny bit of truth comes out, which can be frustrating.

Another frustrating thing is that the book never really completely resolves. We eventually learn most of the truths Noah was seeking, but we never find out why April does the things she did. It felt like there were too many loose threads for the ending to truly be satisfying.

Overall, it was a decent story, but there were too many annoying things to make it a really good story.

prosInteresting premise

Quality writing

consLack of resolution

Clueless/stalkery main character

quotes

“Time is a pulled thread, comes unstitched, as seconds unravel from minutes from hours, then get tangled, so nothing makes sense. Where I can’t think, where night and day, yesterday and tomorrow, truth and lies all merge, are all the same.”

“That however great the suffering, the pain, the futility, we must cling on for every breath, every second, whatever the cost, blind to the truth: that if life is truly unbearable, death can only be beautiful.”

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Time of Torment

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tldrTime of Torment is an interesting detective novel with a paranormal edge that kept me rapt to the end.

    synopsis

Charlie Parker is a private detective who has been tasked with helping an ex-convict who believes he will be killed now that he’s been released. As Parker investigates it quickly becomes clear that this involves a very old and secluded community with dark secrets.

thoughts

Full disclosure: while this book is #14 in a series surrounding Charlie Parker, this is the first one I’ve read. That being said, I don’t think my lack of history impeded my enjoyment of this book. While there are a few story threads that are clearly related to previous books, they were fleshed out enough that I could grasp what was going on.

Ok, disclosure out of the way, I liked this book. The slight paranormal aspect made me think of the TV show Grimm, but it’s not quite that. The paranormal wasn’t front and center to the story, even though it seems to be an important part of Parker’s character. I liked this about the book since too much strangeness can turn me off.

Parker and his companions were really fleshed out as characters. Even without reading the preceding 13 books I got a sense of history from them and could easily picture them sitting in a diner chatting about their cases. Similarly the community of people inside the Cut also felt very real, even when they were participating in awful things. Connolly did a great job of putting us inside the heads of his characters and giving us an understanding of why they’re doing what they’re doing. Along those same lines, each character, even the “good guys” were flawed in very human ways. Honestly, for a long running detective series, I was impressed by the character development.

The story is also very engaging. While I think it probably could have been cut down to be a bit shorter, I was still left biting my nails most of the time, hoping certain characters made it alive to the next chapter. This book honestly has me considering picking up the previous 13 books.

prosGreat characters

Page-turning story

Deep sense of history in the world of the story

Some very creepy moments

consNada!

quotes

“He regarded the falling of leaves as they drove, like all the dead days descending.”

“Then [redacted] ignited too, burning a path into the next life.”

“And although Ormsby had listened to him drawing nearer, and seen with his own eyes how he stepped into the open doorway, still it was as though this man had descended upon him, alighting in his home like a bird of prey landing by wounded quarry.”

“It was a woman, as close to the glass on the outside of the house that Ormsby was to the pane inside. She wore the tattered red dress, soiled with blood and dirt. Her skull was entirely hairless, and the sockets of her eyes were empty. Her skin was gray, and wrinkled around the mouth like the surface of an apple long past its best.”

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

End Point

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tldrEnd Point is a decent sci fi novel with some interesting ideas and concepts that kept me turning the page, even when the writing did not.

   synopsisIn End Point a team of scientists and military men discover alien artifacts appearing around the globe and causing odd things to happen around them. As they explore each artifact they attempt to uncover the mystery of what is really happening on earth. Are they being invaded? Or just toyed with?

thoughts

The premise had me really interested in this book, and it started off really strong. There’s some great moments in this book, especially when things really start going wonky. The problem is everything that happens in between, or for that matter, doesn’t happen. The book is a series of events, strung together by loooooong bouts of dialogue that primarily take place in a military debriefing. Each briefing scene goes something like this:

“Here’s what we’re gonna go. I’m gonna pass it off to someone else to explain.”

“Hi. I’m someone else. Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m gonna pass it off to someone else to explain.”

“Hi. I’m also someone else. I can’t tell you everything because it’s confidential.”

Naturally, that eventually got pretty boring. I think Breakspear has some great stories rumbling around in his head, but he could use some work on how they’re delivered.

pros

Interesting story

Great sci fi setting

consToo much explanation that explained nothing

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I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review

Women In Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

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Women In Science is a lovely and quick history of women…in science. A must read for any young girl, and a should read for most humans.

synopsis

Women In Science is a brief history of scientific achievements made by women, who have often been overlooked in the annals of history. Each page gives a brief description of the life of a scientist as well as beautiful accompanying illustrations. Written and drawn by first time author, Rachel Ignotofsky, Women In Science is meant to inspire young women to aim to achieve great things in life.

thoughts

I really enjoyed this book. While I knew most of the women there were a few fascinating scientists that I’d never heard of. I really appreciated the variety of sciences that were represented. We all expected Marie Curie, but there were also botanists, mathematicians, computer scientists (love Grace Hopper), paleontologists, and so forth. The book is also lovely to look at. The illustrations and colors are just so pretty and fun. I can’t imagine an ebook version capturing how neat this book is. This book is perfect for teaching young girls about important women in history. Hell, it’s perfect for showing anyone how much women have contributed to science and technology. This is one I’ll definitely be passing on to my niece.

prosInspiring stories

Gorgeous illustrations

 Easy and quick read for all ages

cons

Writing style is “cute” and clearly aimed at a young audience, but that’s also who it’s meant for

.

I received this from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review

Curious Minds

curiousmindstldrCurious Minds is a fun read full of mystery and snappy dialogue.    synopsis Riley Moon just started a new job for a prestigious banking firm when she’s tasked with handling a difficult client, rich boy Emerson Moon. Riley’s boss has been missing for months and when Emerson finds out, he decides to launch his own investigation with Riley in tow. What follows is a fun and silly unlikely detective story filled with murder, gold, and conspiracy theories.

thoughtsI read a good chunk of the Stephanie Plum series, written by Evanovich, so I thought I’d give her new series, co-written with Sutton, a shot. One of my favorite things about the Plum series is how funny it is, and also how sexy. This one was funny and there was obviously some sexual tension between Knight & Moon, but it wasn’t quite up to the same level. It was funny, but not as funny. Sexy, but not as sexy. Maybe it’s just missing Lula as a sidekick.

Riley Moon was an ok character. She’s smart and driven, with a desire to escape her small Texas town by way of success in the business world. But she went along with the whole thing a little too easily. I think someone with her brains would have put the breaks on this detectiving thing early on as it was clearly on the road to derailing her career. Emerson Knight is portrayed as a sort of super hot Sheldon Cooper, ridiculously smart and socially inept, but also gorgeous with enchanting eyelashes. The chemistry of the two was on fire, but I wanted more long stares and temperatures rising between them. Maybe Evanovich and Sutton are trying to dangle a carrot for the next book?

The story itself is also just ok. I won’t give too much away about the mystery involved, but it all seemed a bit far-fetched. I know, this isn’t a genre you apply too much logic to, but it still rubbed me as implausible. I also don’t really buy Knight and Moon continuing to team up for more detectiving in future novels. Buuuuuuut, that doesn’t mean I won’t still pick up the next one.

prosLight and fun

Funny

A new series to get into with my Mom

consA little too unbelievable for my taste

quotes“‘I thought perhaps you were succumbing to my eyelashes.’ Riley took a moment to think about it. ‘Maybe a little.'”

“I think she lived to get even. In the end, she didn’t live at all.”

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

Sleeping Giants

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Sleeping Giants is an exciting and engaging look at how we react when finding ancient artifacts that science cannot explain. Science is about answering questions, even when we may not be ready for the answers.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.18.08 AMA girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.”

I mean, reread that description. How cool does this book already sound? A giant metal hand buried in the earth?! Ok, here’s more: Years later Rose and other scientists are still trying to solve the puzzle of the giant hand and more importantly…who put it there. Told in the format of interviews with each of the key players (similar to World War Z and the logs from The Martian) the story goes through the efforts of scientists and the military to unravel this ancient secret and ultimately answer the question, “Are we alone?”

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I really enjoyed this book. I was along for the ride from the first chapter when little Rose fell into a hole and discovered an ancient robot hand. I could not wait to find out what this freaking hand was and who put it there. The interview format means we don’t really get deep inside any characters heads, so there isn’t a ton of depth to them; but I didn’t find this a barrier to my enjoyment. For me the story was about this discovery process and how it effects humankind, more than it was about an single person involved. I did find the characters telling the interviewer (even the ones who hated him) their super personal (and um, sexual) details to be a bit unbelievable, but that’s due to the limit of the format.

This Sci Fi book is definitely science-light, so it should be enjoyable by everyone. While this book answered a lot of the initial questions, there’s still a ton to learn. Naturally, this book is part of a planned series of which Neuvel says there will be at least three. Because you can’t write a Sci Fi book unless it’s at minimum a trilogy. It’s hard to say much more about the story since it quickly goes into spoiler territory. I guess you’ll just have to read it yourself to find out!

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Fascinating story

Great build up for the next book without leaving a concocted cliffhanger

Kept me on the edge of my seat with each new discovery

Kara, a pilot, reminded me of her namesake in Battlestar Galactica.

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Format limited character development

A few dramatically implausible momentsScreen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.19.34 AM

“If you are a scientist you believe that it is good to find out how the world works; that it is good to find out what the realities are; that it is good to turn over to mankind at large the greatest possible power to control the world and to deal with it according to its lights and its values.”

“Justice is usually much swifter for someone in my trade. It comes unannounced, usually from behind, and as far as I know, it is never prefaced by a meeting at the White House.”

My Girl

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My Girl is a tragic tale of grief and a disturbing story of obsession and control that left me very uneasy.Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.18.08 AM

Paige Dawson has lost everything. Her daughter was murdered 10 years ago and her husband took his own life a few months past. She’s been in an alcohol and pill-fueled haze for years as the loss of her family torments her. One day she stumbles across a gun that she didn’t know her husband owned and tumbles down a path to finding the truth. Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.23.23 AM

So, this is a tough one to review. I liked the book for MOST of it, but what I didn’t like, I hated. Let me explain. The story quickly dives into Paige’s daily life as she struggles to cope with her losses. This is a heartbreaking story of grief and loss and what happens when we have nothing left. Once the story turns into things-are-not-what-they-seem territory, I was firmly along for the ride. I wanted something good for this woman, some truth or closure for her. The problem is that when you find out that truth, it’s a freaking slap in the face of story-telling. I feel as though Jack Jordan sat at his desk and thought, “What’s the most awful thing I can come up with that will truly horrify my readers” and went with that. I think he stopped serving the story, and his characters, and went balls-out for shock value. I was disgusted, and not because I can’t handle an uncomfortable story line, but because it served no purpose other than to be disgusting. It’s a shame really, the book has so much potential that was sadly squandered.

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Well-developed character that feels very real

Engaging story, up until it wasn’t

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I’m sorry, but a bedroom won’t hold a persons scent for 10 years

Jordan doesn’t seem to understand how memory repression works

Story takes a plunge off the deep end and drowns

Climactic scene felt like it took place in a bad horror movie

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.19.34 AM“For the first few seconds after she woke, Paige Dawson lived in a world where her husband Ryan was snoring lightly beside her, and her daughter Chloe was sleeping peacefully in the next room. When reality slowly trickled in, she instantly wanted to return to sleep – to forget they were dead – to stop the tears from rolling down her cheeks.”

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

Dark Matter

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Dark Matter is a gripping Sci Fi novel that grabbed me from page one and didn’t let go. Not even after I finished the book did it release its hold on me.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.18.08 AMJason Dessen is a man content with his life. He hasn’t done anything extraordinary, but he’s happy with his job and loves his family. One night he’s abducted and when he awakens in a lab, his life has been turned upside-down. His wife isn’t his wife and his son was never born. He’s not a teacher but an accomplished scientist. He has to find his way back to his family, and the truth, while being hunted. A poignant look at the path-not-taken and what-ifs in life.

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I’m a big fan of Crouch’s Wayward Pines series so I was excited to pick this one up. The premise is very similar – a man wakes up somewhere and has to find the truth – but they go completely different places from there. This book was so effing good ya’ll. I mean I could NOT PUT IT DOWN. While I figured out pretty quickly what was going on, there were still plenty of surprises in store. This book is not only Sci Fi at it’s best, it’s also a great look at life, how we got where we are, and how well we really know ourselves. Have you ever wondered how different your life could be if only you’d made a few different decisions? If you could go back and change things, would you? This book offers up great answers to these questions. It’s not too heavy on the science part, so it’s accessible to fans of all genres. I seriously recommend you go out and buy this book. And buy 5 more copies for your friends.

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Engaging story and exciting twists and turns

Excellent portrait of humanity and how we became who we are

Really cool scientific theories

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Nothing. It’s perfection.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.19.34 AM“I can’t help thinking that we’re more than the sum total of our choices, that all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity.”

“‘Are you happy in your life?’ In the shadow of this moment, my life is achingly beautiful.”

“No one tells you it’s all about to change, to be taken away. There’s no proximity alert, no indication that you’re standing on the precipice. And maybe that’s what makes tragedy so tragic. Not just what happens, but how it happens: a sucker punch that comes at you out of nowhere, when you’re least expecting.”

“Standing happy and slightly drunk in my kitchen, I’m unaware that tonight is the end of all of this. Then end of everything I know, everything I love.”

 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Watching Edie

watchingEdie

Watching Edie, written by Camilla Way, is one of those stories that will constantly make you question the truth of what you are reading, and the reliability of the narrator. It is the story of the friendship of Edie and Heather. The book transitions back and forth from the POV present day Edie and that of in-the-past-teenager Heather. In the present Edie is pregnant and alone when her old friend Heather suddenly shows back up in her life. Edie is clearly traumatized by an event from their shared past and wants nothing to do with Heather. Through the eyes of past-Heather however, we slowly unravel what happened between the two women so many years ago that has left Edie lost and afraid.

This is a very tightly written book that will keep you guessing and trying to speed through as fast as you can to get to the end. As the book neared the moment of truth from the past I could not put it down; dying to know what happened to cause so much pain. It leads you in one direction only to pull you in another shortly after. It makes you question your perceptions and how easily you can be manipulated by characters you thought you could trust. I for one, did not see it coming. The book moves slowly enough that it doesn’t quite feel like a thriller, but it certainly kept me on my toes and messed with my head.

PROS:

Twists that didn’t feel forced

Not always sure who the villain is

Seemingly accurate (and sympathetic) representations of postpartum depression and abuse victims

Cons:

Was often hard to keep the two women straight in my head as the story swapped POVs so often

Not really a con, but the ending seemed unbelievable to me until I remembered that laws in the UK are different than laws in the U.S.

Quotable Quotes:

“He never speaks about her, but you can somehow see the memory of her there still, in his eyes and his smile, the way they do remain a part of us, those people who have hurt us very deeply, or who we have hurt, never letting us go, not entirely.” 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

Faith: Issues #1 & #2

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Faith is a new comic series penned by Jody Houser, of the Orphan Black comics. The character of Faith as been around for a while, but this new series reinvents the character into the type of superhero this world needs to see. Faith, (under her superhero name, Zephyr) has the power to harness the energy around her, allowing her to fly, move things, and create a protective energy field around herself and others. Under her alias Summer, she works as a reporter (which means she creates quizzes and listicles for a website) by day while she fights crime by night. The main thing that makes Faith so extraordinary, and so normal, is her weight. She’s a plus sized woman, and not in the model-plus-sized-but-not-really kind of way. She proudly wears a tight suit, rather than try and hide her curves and rolls as so many large people are led to believe they should do. She dates hot guys. She flies and fights gracefully. She’s not clumsy or stupid, as so many overweight people have been depicted. No one makes fun of her weight or questions her ability to do things. Her weight is right in our faces while simultaneously being a non-issue. And it’s awesome. Looking very much like Rebel Wilson, Faith is a superhero that many of us can see ourselves in. She also smart, kind, sensitive, and a huge nerd. In short, Faith is my new patronus, spirit animal, and #lifegoal all rolled into one person.

I was given the first two issues to read. In these issues Faith is processing the break up of her former superhero team, adjusting to her new life under her alias, and searching for a missing boy. I was so engaged in the first two issues that I immediately ran out to buy the next two in the series. All four issues have been collected in a paperback: “Faith Volume 1: Hollywood and Vine” and I recommend you immediately read it. Then add the series to your pull list. Then cosplay as Faith. At least, that’s what I’ll be doing.

PROS:

Funny and entertaining

Body-positive

Easy entry point if you’re looking for a new comic, or wanting to get into comics

CONS:

None! If you couldn’t tell, I love Faith.

Quotable Quotes:

“Jay was the one who trained me when I first started here last month. He’s pretty cute. He’s also a good example of why you shouldn’t read the comments.”

“Maybe it’s still a work in progress…but it’s definitely my kind of story. (Although a cute mysterious time traveler would also be my kind of story. Just putting that out in the universe.”

I received a copy of this comic from NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

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