The Book of Ralph

“Drink Diet Coke”

When this message first appears on the moon, everyone believes that Coca Cola has created the most brilliant media campaign on earth...or should I say, the moon.

Unbeknownst to us, Ralph, an alien, is trying to convey an urgent message that Earth is in grave danger.

The Book of Ralph is a mixture of themes.  Initially, the hi-jinks created by Ralph, the alien, are quite humours and made me chuckle, until the story turned a bit more serious with lectures about humanity and war.

This is a tough book to rate because the story itself turned out to be quite different from the description on the book jacket.  I was expecting a humours and lighthearted novel, and it was that, in the beginning. The second half of the book was much darker with the reality of what happens after war.  

Overall I did enjoy reading The Book of Ralph, and the unique story that Christopher Steinsvold wrote, but I found that I wished it was the comedy I was anticipating.  I do recommend reading The Book of Ralph though, it is a very interesting story with some unique insight, just don’t expect a comedic book.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of  The Book of Ralph in exchange for an honest review.  

Sleeping Giants

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)
By ~ Sylvain Neuvel

sleeping-giants-cover

Sleeping Giants has been on my to read list for a few years.  All three books in this trilogy have now been released, and boy am I sure glad that I waited because once I finished Sleeping Giants, I immediately downloaded Waking Gods, the second book in the Themis Files series.  It was way past my bedtime, but I didn’t care.

Synopsis ~ When Rose Franklin was a young girl, she discovered, by accident, a giant metal hand that was buried beneath the earth for thousands of years.  Through various circumstances, twenty years later, Rose finds herself tasked with the scientific study and research of the hand, and the discovery of the body the hand belongs to.

Sleeping Giants kept me entertained throughout, from the opening lines right to the end.  It reads as journal entries and interviews to tell the story. I found it to be a unique and interesting way to tell the narrative.  Somehow this form of telling the story, made me feel as if I really got to know the main characters and I am now invested in them and their continuing story.

This book had one of my favourite things going for it that I always hope for when reading.  The desire to read it ALL THE TIME and not put it down. I found myself a number of times continuing to read after getting off the bus, with the book up in my nose while walking down the sidewalk.  My favourite books are the ones I can't put down.

A Review of Amber Eyes

Amber Eyes (Children of the Blood Moon #2) 
By ~ S. D. Grimm

I was very excited to have been invited to read and review Amber Eyes as part of the blog tour hosted by Unicorn Quester.  This young adult fantasy series has a lot going for it; action, adventure, magic, family, friendship.  Amber Eyes is the second in a three-part series, starting with Scarlet Moon and ending with Black Blood, which will be released January 2019. 

I had not heard of this series prior to being invited to the blog tour and I needed to do some catching up in order to review Amber Eyes.  I started with reading Scarlet Moon first so that I would have a background of the characters, the world and the story in general before reading Amber Eyes.  I'm glad to say that after reading two of the Children of the Blood Moon series back to back is that I could easily read the third right away, if it was available, as I am not yet tired of this world.  S.D. Grimm has created an incredibly interesting universe filled with magic and friendship.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Darkness retreated from the light of the scarlet moon, but has since grown even stronger. The Mistress of Shadows has found a new pawn—one that may be the key to unlocking the door to her underground prison. Now evil threatens to escape its shackles and destroy the land. 

In the aftermath of loss and betrayal, Jayden’s fight with the enemy still isn’t over. But while she isn’t sure she can stop the Mistress alone, leaving her friends might be the only way to keep them from being consumed by the darkness.  

With lives hanging in the balance—and no time for error—can Jayden make the right choice?

While I enjoyed reading Amber Eyes, there were just one very minor thing that I personally  didn't like.  Teen Angst.  For myself I find that a lot of young adult novels are filled with teen angst and it is overwhelming for me to read as an adult.  I’ve been there and experienced those feelings and I don't need to relive it through fictional characters, however that is my personal feeling of teen angst.  I think that if I read this as a teen I would really relate to the situations and feelings the characters were experiencing.  While Amber Eyes had a bit too much teen angst for me, it wasn't the entire story, and Grimm also included themes about perceived personal failings, family and friendship.

That being said, the characters experienced a lot of personal growth during Amber Eyes, so I was able to understand that this teen angst was there to provide them with the emotions needed to grow as a character.  I look forward to seeing how this growth expands in the last book, Black Blood.

Amber Eyes also has just the right level of fantasy.  I really felt like I could imagine the world that this story took place in and I think that even someone who isn't necessarily into fantasy would enjoy reading Amber Eyes, and The Children of the Blood Moon series in general.  With common enough characters names and limited amount of made-up words, it is very easy to imagine this world filled with magic, and yet not become overwhelmed with a bunch of names places and things that exist in the authors imagination.  

I enjoyed Amber Eyes, and I look forward to coming back to this series when Black Moon comes out.  

If you would like to check other reviews of Amber Eyes and author interviews I encourage you to check out the rest of the bloggers on the tour.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Scarlet Moon and Amber Eyes in exchange for an honest review.  

 

To Purchase Amber Eyes in Canada

AmazonChapters

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 22nd Tuesday, January 23rd Wednesday, January 24th Thursday, January 25th Friday, January 26th Saturday, January 27th Monday, January 29th Tuesday, January 30th Wednesday, January 31st Thursday, February 1st Friday, February 2nd Saturday, February 3rd Monday, February 5th

A Cookbook Review?

So far 2018 has brought about quite a lot of changes in how I’ve been preparing and eating food.  I don’t normally do resolutions, but this year I decided to give myself a challenge every month.  Anyone who knows me, will know this about me; if I decide to do something I’ll do it 100%.  I’m either in or out, there isn’t an in-between.  That is, until I get bored and stop whatever it is that I’ve taken on.  

For one of my challenges coming up in March I will be eating vegetarian for the month.  I was a vegetarian when I was younger, mostly because my mom (Hi Mommy) started to eat vegetarian and it was just easier to follow suit (she was making food for me after all).  So this will not be the first time I’ve eaten vegetarian, but it will be the first time I will be doing it as an adult and preparing all of my own food.

You might be wondering why I’ve written all the above information in the book review section of my website instead of the random musings section of the site where I tend to post my random musing.  Well, I will be writing about my New Year New Challenges Experiment in my random musing posts, but if you would like to follow along daily, check out my Instagram page for all of my postings or you can just follow the hashtag #anynce (A New Year New Challenge Experiment).  If you'd like to join in with my monthly challenge experiment or make up your own monthly challenges, I encourage you to do so, and please feel free to use the #anynce tag too!  Doing new things and challenging yourself is almost more fun and supportive with others joining in.

I am trying my best not to get bored and stop my new food endeavours, and one way I'm doing that is by getting interested in and reading cookbooks.  It took me a little while to decide if I should write a review on a cookbook.  Thoughts like will anyone care?, it’s a cookbook not a novel, does it count? and a few other random thoughts along those same lines kept running through my mind.  I talked with Michael about these thoughts and his response was that I was just being silly.  It was still reading, of course I should write a review he said.  Michael was right of course it is still reading, so without further ado, here is my first “book” review of 2018.

Minimalistbaker

Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes
By: Dana Shultz

Since my vegetarian month is coming up in March, I wanted to get a healthy number of good vegetarian recipes under my belt before then.  I stumbled upon The Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking randomly on Amazon when I was looking up vegetarian cookbooks. I checked out the blog and found a ton of delicious sounding recipes and even tried a modified version of one of them, Garlic and White Wine Pasta with Brussel Sprouts.  Why modified you might ask?, well, I was missing a bunch of the ingredients so I substituted.  The pasta turned out so delicious that I was really curious how the non-modified version would taste. So during my lunch break the next day, I popped down to the local Book Warehouse to see if they had the book, so that I could flip through the pages and see what it looked liked.  Up on the shelf under new, there it was sitting, all shiny and new.  I bought it right then.

When I got The Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking home, I immediately started to pour over the pages.  There was a picture for every single recipe!  Let me tell you any future cookbook authors out there, if you don’t include pictures of the recipes you’ve provided in your cookbook, I will quickly put your book down, likely never to pick it up again.  I really want to know what the food I'm trying to cook should look like.  This really helps me know if I'm doing it correctly or not.  I loved the fact that Dana Shultz included pictures of the recipes in her cookbook, especially since vegan food is an entirely new cooking concept for me.

Each recipe is laid out with an ingredient list, cooking time and serving quantity.  Also, most of the recipes could be made in 30 minutes and with under 10 ingredients.  Almost all of the recipes also provided directions to make the meal gluten free.  At the back of the cookbook there is also a nutritional listing guide for the recipes, which is very helpful if you care about that type of thing.

Now normally the word “vegan” on the cover of a cookbook will cause me not to look any further at that book.  I apologize to all the people who maintain a vegan diet, for whatever reasons they have, but I’ve always found the word vegan to be a bit granola for my tastes.  If Shultz used the word vegan on the cover instead of  of her phrasing of “entirely plant based” I would have missed out on a great cookbook.  

Peanut Butter Pad Thai ~ Next time I will add snap peas for a bit more colour.

Peanut Butter Pad Thai ~ Next time I will add snap peas for a bit more colour.

So far I’ve only tried one of the recipes out of The Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking, the Peanut Butter Pad Thai.  I followed the recipe almost completely, so it was in fact vegan this time (I left out the green onions because onions are yucky).  I can’t say enough good things about the tofu in this recipe, it was so delicious!  Nice and chewy and with just a little bit of heat.  The pad thai sauce was a little overwhelming in the peanut butter taste, but that fault lays entirely with me and my measurements of peanut butter not with in the recipe.  For someone who usually goes, "that's about the right amount" when cooking I used too much peanut butter (my love of peanut butter took over when measuring it out).  Next time I should actually put in 2 tablespoons of peanut butter instead of my approximation of 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, which was likely at least double the requested amount. All of that being said about the pad thai being a little too peanut buttery, it was still delicious!  I just felt that I was missing some of the other flavours that were called for in the recipe, so I think that next time I make this, it will be even more awesome than it was.

How the steps were laid out in the recipe were really easy to follow.  I didn't think that I was missing anything or any steps when I was making the pad thai.  Reading the other recipes in The Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking is looks like this is the case with all the recipes.  Each one laid out nicely and easy to follow. 

The other thing that I will mention about Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking that I really liked, the pages laid open flat.  This is incredibly helpful when you are following the recipe and cooking at the same time.

Thank you Dana Shultz for your cookbook, and your use of the words "Entirely Plant Based" on your cover.  You’ve opened up an entirely new cuisine for my taste buds which will help me be successful during my vegetarian month.

I wanted to show you all what the Peanut Butter Pad Thai should have looked like, way more colourful with those yucky onions.

I wanted to show you all what the Peanut Butter Pad Thai should have looked like, way more colourful with those yucky onions.

The Gray Tower Trilogy ~ Part 3

This review is the third part of a three part series of reviews of The Gray Tower Trilogy.

Please note that by reading this review, there may some very minor spoilers for book 1 and 2 of The Gray Tower Trilogy (The Tower's Alchemist & Dark Rift) if you haven't read them yet.

Circadian Circle (THE GRAY TOWER TRILOGY #3)
AUTHOR ~ Alesha Escobar

The third and final book of The Gray Tower Trilogy, Circadian Circle is full of intense magical action from start to finish.

Demons.
Nazis.
Dragons.
Time Shifting Wizards.

Isabella George has a lot on her hands to keep the wizards of The Gray Tower together and defeat the bad guys in this action packed conclusion to The Gray Tower Trilogy.

When I say action packed, I really mean it.  The majority of this Circadian Circle is one action scene to the next.  Quite often when a novel has to much action in it, and not enough story, I tend to gloss over the action bits, getting bored with reading, how yet again, the protagonist defeats the antagonist, but in this case, I was ok with the extensive action and enjoyed it.

I think I enjoyed the heavy action in Circadian Circle because the previous two novels (The Tower's Alchemist & Dark Rift) did a wonderful job of building the story and the world that it takes place in.  When it came time for the final action packed booked, I was heavily invested in the characters, both good and bad, and wanted to find out what would happen to them and I felt the action was a benefit to the story, expanding on what I already knew, as opposed to using action to gloss over the fact that the characters are not well rounded.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and the series as a whole.  It was a fun and entertaining read, the characters had growth over the series and there was a satisfying ending.  

 

The Gray Tower Trilogy ~ Part 2

This review is the second part of a three part series of reviews of The Gray Tower Trilogy.  

Please note that by reading this review, there may some very minor spoilers for book 1 of The Gray Tower Trilogy (The Tower's Alchemist) if you haven't read it yet.

Dark Rift (THE GRAY TOWER TRILOGY #2)
AUTHOR ~ ALESHA ESCOBAR

Dark Rift takes place almost immediately after the events in The Tower's Alchemist, at the most, a few weeks have passed and I think I enjoyed Dark Rift even more than The Tower's Alchemist.

As with any sequel, reading the synopsis of the next books prior to reading the first book, there are potential spoilers.  I've tried to be very vague with my synopsis but if you are a purest and don't want any spoilers for The Tower's Alchemist, you might want to skip reading the rest of this review.

Synopsis

Amidst the terror of World War II, there is another battle going on, between the Nazi warlock vampires and the wizards of The Gray Tower.  

The Nazi warlocks want to get their hands on the Drifter aka: The Time Wizard as they believe that the Drifter will provide them with ultimate power and The Gray Tower wants to destroy the Drifter so no one can have this power.

Isabella George, an alchemist trained by the Gray Tower knows the identity of the Drifter and and believes that The Gray Tower is wrong to destroy the Drifter.

Isabella sets of to prove to the other wizards of The Gray Tower that the Drifter is an ally and could help to bring about the end of the war.

The second instalment of The Gray Tower Trilogy left me wanting even more than the first instalment.  The characters were well rounded and very interestingly written.  They are all also very multi-faceted, the good guys were not just goodie-too-shoes, they had depth to them that wasn't just black and white.  

Two books in, that I read back-to-back, and I was still eager to get started on the third book, Circadian Circle the moment I finished Dark Rift.  To me that is always the sign of an enjoyable story.

 

 

The Gray Tower Trilogy ~ Part 1

This review is the first part of a three part series of reviewsof The Gray Tower Trilogy.

The Tower's Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy #1)
Author ~ Alesha Escobar

The Tower's Alchemist has one of the most ridiculous synopsis I've read for a book in a long time. 

Wizards Vs. Nazi Warlock Vampires.

Yup, you read that correctly, Nazi warlock vampires.   I received this book in a witchy Story Bundle I purchased in May 2017 and I have to honestly say that I would have been unlikely to read this book had I just come across it on my own, the premise just sound ridiculous.  Boy, I sure would have missed out on a FANTASTIC read.

Goodreads Synopsis:
The Nazis have unleashed occult forces throughout Europe and the Allies are forced to recruit and employ wizards to counter their attacks. Among them is the battle weary spy, Isabella George, a Gray Tower dropout trained in Alchemy. Longing for retirement and a life of peace, she accepts one final job-extract a deadly warlock from Nazi occupied France and prevent him from unleashing an alchemical weapon that will devour the continent.
But France is crawling with the Cruenti, vampiric warlocks who feed off other wizards. When things don't go according to plan, one Cruenti sets his deadly eyes on her.
Betrayal is everywhere. Even some of her closest allies cannot be fully trusted. Worse still, she finds, she can't even trust herself. She becomes a woman torn between her charismatic spy lover who offers her what she desires most, and one of her closest confidants, whose soft seductive eyes hold deadly secrets about her past, and the Gray Tower itself.
Plans within plans. Plots versus counter plots. Heists gone wrong, sword-wielding Catholic priests, and the greatest manipulation of history that has ever been seen, is just a taste of what Isabella George is in for, in her final mission.

Thank you Story Bundle to introducing me to author Alesha Escobar and The Gray Tower Trilogy.  The ridiculous synopsis of Nazi warlock vampires is really well done.  Hitler had an obsession with for the occult so it would make sense, in a world where wizards and magic existed, that Hitler would have Nazi warlocks on his side.

In researching spy's during World War II, Escobar discovered some pretty amazing women who went undercover and helped the Allies ultimately win the war.  Bits and pieces of these women, and their accomplishments, shine through in The Tower's Alchemist and you feel like they could have been real people.

All of the characters in the story are very intriguing.  Good, bad, neutral, I was fascinated with all of them and really wanted to know what what going to happen to them.  

I sure am glad that I gave The Tower's Alchemist a try and I'm extra glad that I happen to have the second and third books in this trilogy as I immediately started Dark Rift (the second in the series) once I finished The Tower's Alchemist

 

Origin

Origin (Robert Langdon #5)
Author ~ Dan Brown

By the author that brought you the world-wide sensation, The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown has another home run with his latest Robert Langdon adventure, Origin.

Robert Langdon finds himself at the Guggenheim Museum, invited to an extraordinary scientificpresentation presented by his former student, Edmond Kirsch.  With religious and scientific repercussions, Kirsch has discovered the answer to the age old question of Where do we come from?
Where are we going?  
Moments before the big reveal, the evening erupts into chaos and Langdon finds himself forced to flee the Guggenheim, with the museum coordinator and future queen consort of Spain, Ambra Vidal, in tow.

Aided by Kirsch's assistant, Winston, Langdon and Vidal must find a way to help Kirsch to reveal his secrets to the world.  

I was a little hesitant to get back into the Robert Langdon world.  I didn't much like the last book in this series, and felt that it was a little too outrageous and over the top.  I wasn't expecting much from Origin, but I surprised myself by liking it.  

Origin is a popcorn book, plain and simple.  If you are expecting any more depth to this book, you will be sadly disappointed, but if you are going in, knowing that it's going to be just a little ridiculous, just a little silly and a whole lot of "that would never happen in the real world", Origin will be a fun read.  

With a few twists and turns Origin is a fun read and if you have enjoyed Dan Brown's other books in the Robert Langdon series, Origin is a very good addition and you will surely enjoy it too.

Contact

Contact
Author ~ Carl Sagan

Contact is one of those books that has been on my TRL for years and years, but also one of those books that I have put off reading for ages.    

A Signal has been detected in the vicinity of the star Vega.  It is intelligent life?  Is it god?  We don't know, but with this signal, the course of human history is forever changed.

For a science fiction book written by scientist, Carl Sagan, I was surprised that Contact explored more than just the possibility of life in other parts of the universe.  Contact explored how that life would effect the religious communities of Earth.  

I don't know why this surprised me, I guess I was expecting a fun novel about the possibility of life outer-space, instead I read a novel that used the fictional story as a way to deliver questions about other live and how if would impact religions here on earth.  It really felt that the characters in the story were the vehicle that Carl Sagan was driving to explore his own thoughts about religion.

I enjoyed reading Contact, it just wasn't the space adventure alien story I was expecting to read.  

 

 

Heart and Brain

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Heart and Brain: Body Language
Author ~ The Awkward Yeti aka Nick Seluk

I LOVE The Awkward Yeti.  It is my favourite comic series and I can never get enough of them.  

Heart and Brain are two of the characters from The Awkward Yeti series.  The main series features a blue Yeti names Lars and Nick Seluk created a kind of spin-off series, Heart & Brain.  Featuring Lars's organs.  

This really is the best comic series out there, almost every single comic will illicit at least a smile on my face, if not genuine out loud laughter.  

Heart and Brain: Body Language was awesome to read.  A collection of mostly new comics and a few previously seen classics, I think it was my favourite of the three books Seluk has put out so far.  I love all the organs and their antics and since my gallbladder was removed, I have an extra special fondness for Sad Gallbladder, having even designed and crafted my own Sad Gallbladder cross stitch.

Full of out-loud laughter, Heart and Brain: Body Language imagines what your organs would be like if they had their own personalities.  I was planning on only flipping through a few pages, slowly taking my time through the book, but I just couldn't resist reading the entire thing in one sitting.  

This is one of those books that you will read again and again, always finding new humour in it. 

All Systems Red

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All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1)
Author ~ Martha Wells

As I was reading All Systems Red by Martha Wells, I can honestly say that I didn't realize what this book was actually called and I kept referring to it as "the murderbot book".  This was a quick read, written up as a novella, that I very much enjoyed.

In a future, taken over by corporations, a group of scientists are exploring a new world.  The corporations provide security in the form of a company security droid.  

While on a mission, one particular security droid has become self-aware and has hacked it's own governor module.  Referring to itself as "Murderbot" all this unit wants to do is be left alone to watch the soap opera; Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon.

I really loved the Murderbot.  While there was no specific gender to the Murderbot, I definitely thought of it as female when I was reading the story.  Full of cynicism and quick wit, Murderbot was a story that I was sad to see end so quickly.  All the Murderbot wanted to do was to be left alone, not interacting with humans and watch soaps.  I think everyone can relate to Murderbot and just sometimes wanting to be left alone, and not worry about working.

Honestly my only real complaint about All Systems Red is that the story was written as a novella.  Usually not my favourite things because I find that the story ends so quickly, or just as you are getting into the characters and situations the story is over.  Well's did a fantastic job writing All Systems Red though.  It is a complete story, and I wasn't left feeling that I was missing something.  I just wanted to read more about Murderbot and it's story.  Thankfully there is a sequel (Artificial Condition) coming out May 2018, which you can pre-order on Amazon.

Review ~ M*A*S*H* Goes to Maine

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M*A*S*H* Goes to Maine
Author ~ Richard Hooker

You were likely aware that the original M*A*S*H TV series that was on the air for eleven season was based off a movie from the 70's starring Donald Sutherland and Tom Skerritt?  But did you know that the movie was based off a book written by Richard Hooker?  Well from 1968 to 1977 Richard Hooker wrote Fifteen M*A*S*H books, and only the first one took place during the Korean war.

M*A*S*H Goes to Maine is the second book in this series.  If you've never seen the movie and have never read the first M*A*S*H book, you will be quite lost as you read this book.  There are characters in these books that never show up in the TV series, or were only in the series for a few episodes.  I loved the TV series, I remember watching it as a child, then again in my teens and once more as an adult.  It was one of those shoes that you could watch over and over again, and it always seemed to be on TV.  I would always skip over the nightmare episode though as I found it quite disturbing as a child and those feelings still linger there as I remember Major Margaret "Hot-Lip" Hoilihan standing there with blood running down the front of her nightgown, shudder, but that's all I remember of that episode.  Thankfully the rest of the episode's memories have been lost to time.

Back to M*A*S*H Goes to Maine.  The second book is written pretty much the same as the first,  a bunch of short stories held together by an overall premise, in this case the opening of the Finestkind Clinic and Fishmarket.   This was Maine in the late 50's and medicine back then was very different than what it is now (be glad).  The surgeons of the swamp, Hawkeye Pierce, Trapper John, Duke Forrest, Oliver Harmon "Spearchucker" Jones, are all tops of their respective fields and have banded together to provide the residents of Maine the very best or "Finestkind" medical clinic and fishmarket.  Get your medical exams and procedures done in the morning and on your way out in the afternoon pick up some fish for dinner.

M*A*S*H Goes to Main is a quick read that I enjoyed, however, If you don't like M*A*S*H or struggle with understanding the time frame something was written, then I don't think you would enjoy this.  It's quite disjointed in the way Hooker tells his story, hopping around from one "small town event" to another.  There is also quite a lot of crude language, racial slurs and outdated views on women in M*A*S*H Goes to Main.  This book was written forty-five years ago, and then also written about a time fifteen years earlier than that.  Societal views on language, race and women were very different then than they are now.  It made me glad that in many ways society isn't like that any more.  We are not perfect, we will likely never be perfect and there is still a long long way to go before everyone feels safe, but it is better than it once was.

Maybe one day I will go on to read more of this series, but for now, I'll take a pass.

3 Penguins

Review ~ The Breakdown

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The Breakdown
Author ~ B.A. Paris

The Breakdown is a suspenseful thriller that will keep you hooked from the opening lines when Cass Anderson's husband makes her promise not to take the back-woods shortcut when coming home from drinks with friends, to the very last sentence (which I won't even write about for fear of spoilers).

Cass Anderson is a woman who thinks that she did a terrible thing, by leaving the scene of a broken down car only to find out the next morning that the woman in that same car has turned up murdered.  The act of leaving the women stranded compounded with the fact her own mother had dementia Cass begins to fall into despair as she starts to experience memory lapses.  Forgetting scheduling lunch dates with friends, what the alarm code is, how to use the microwave are just some of these lapses and with strange phone calls during the day, the slow loss of her memory Cass begins to experience a breakdown so terrify that you can almost feel it happening to yourself.

I have to admit, although I was curious what what happening in this story right from the beginning, I didn't like Cass Anderson.  Not at first at least.  By the closing pages of The Breakdown though my feelings of Cass had completely changed.  I think that the reason I didn't like her at first was mostly due to how she bowed down to her husband about taking the short-cut and then subsequently not telling him about it because he would get angry with her.  To me this seemed like such a silly thing to lie about, especially when she was feeling so guilty about the lie.  I hard a real hard time relating to her about this.  As the story progressed though and her panic and despair started to rule her life, I no longer felt that I didn't like Cass and I got really concerned about her safety and sanity and by the end of the book I was rooting for her as she had my heart racing at times.    

For me a good book is one that I don't want to put down and will read really quickly just so I can find out how it ends.  The Breakdown was a quick read, even though I thought I knew what the ending was going to be.  I was pleasantly surprised when B.A Paris managed to keep me guessing till the final few chapters.

4 Penguins

I received an free ARC of The Breakdown from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
 

 

Review ~ Axis (Spin Saga #2)

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Axis (Spin Saga #2)
Author ~ Robert Charles Wilson

STOP!!!  SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN'T READ SPIN (SPIN SAGA #1) YET.  Do yourself a favour, read Spin first then come back to this review.

Axis is the mostly direct sequel to Spin.  Thirty years after the events in Spin, Axis finds us on another world, Equartoria.  Linked to Earth by a massive arch in the middle of the Indian Ocean, placed there by The Hypotheticals, humans have started to pilfer this new world of it's natural resources, sending them back to Earth. 

Lise Adams is in Equartoria, investigating the disappearance of her father fifteen years prior when she stumbles across the photograph and an old woman who has loose connections to her former lover, Turk Findley.  Turk agrees to help Lise connect with the woman in the photograph when suddenly ash is falling from the sky.  The ash turns out to be old pieces of the Hypotheticals.  Are they seeding this planet with parts of themselves for some nefarious means or has some massive accident happened in space and the Hypotheticals are dying?

I called Axis a mostly direct sequel because this story does not revolve around the main protagonists from Spin (Tyler Dupree and Jason & Diane Lawton) but rather introduces us to two new protagonists, Lise Adams and Turk Findley.  As I started out reading Axis, I have to admit that I was disappointed that the sequel wasn't going to feature the Tyler, Jason & Diane, I really wanted to find out what happened when they crossed the Arch.  It didn't take me that long to get over the disappointment though as Axis picks up almost right away with the mystery of the falling ash.  While Axis doesn't have the same scope as Spin did, taking place over a few days versus (technically) millions of years, it's still an interesting story.    I haven't read the third book in the series yet (Vortex) but at this point Axis almost seems like it was written to be a bridge between two bigger novels...I hope that does turns out to be the case.  

The thing I liked the most about Axis was that we started to gain a little bit of an understanding about who/what the Hypotheticals are.  The part I didn't like about Axis, we only gained a little understanding about who/what the Hypotheticals are.  While I can't say that I enjoyed Axis quite as much as Spin, it was still an entertaining read.

4 Penguins

Review ~ Pandemic (The Extinction Files #1)

Pandemic (The Extinction Files #1)
Author ~ A.G. Riddle

Desmond Hughes,  awakens in a hotel room in Berlin, with no memory of how he got there and a dead body on the floor.  The only clue to his past is a hidden phone number with the message “warn her” to Dr. Peyton Shaw, leading epidemiologist for the CDC.  Meanwhile Peyton is on a plane to a small village in Kenya to investigate an Ebola-like outbreak.  

 As the outbreak spreads across the world and Peyton searches for the it's origins, she begins to believe that there is more to this disease than meets the eye and that Desmond may just hold the key to saving millions of lives across the globe.

 I really enjoyed Pandemic,  A.G. Riddle’s most recent novel and I'm looking forward to the upcoming sequels.  This is quite the complicated plot filled with tons of conspiracies and coincidences, but if you can overlook all the coincidences that keep happening it is actually an enjoyable read.  I’ve always enjoyed a good biohazard/pandemic story, even having mild thoughts as a child that maybe one day I'd work for the Canadian equivalent of the CDC or USAMRIID.  

I was engaged with the mystery of the story from the initial prologue right to the last sentence.  Parts of the mystery of the story I was able to figure out prior to the big reveal and other parts of the mystery remained as such until A.G. Riddle revealed them to me. My only major complaint about the story is that there are a ton of characters, and I felt that their stories were sometimes lacking in development despite the fact that Pandemic is 696 pages.  I also felt that then ending seemed a bit rushed, however that didn't disuade me from placing a pre-order for the second book of the series, Genome.