Tiamat's Wrath

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Tiamant’s Wrath (The Expanse #8) by James S.A.Corey

Another Short and Sweet Book Review is brought to you by my exhausted self who should really be getting ready to go to bed after a test this evening in class.

Tiamant’s Wrath is the latest book in The Expanse series, and my second favourite book I’ve read so far this year (an extremely close second to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo) I have to admit, I love this series. I will be sad when the last one is written, which last I heard will be book #9. After the last book was a little lack-lustre for me, I was really excited to get back to the excitement. Which is weird, because Tiamat’s Wrath really doesn’t have a lot of action scenes.

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS

Thirteen hundred gates have opened to solar systems around the galaxy. But as humanity builds its interstellar empire in the alien ruins, the mysteries and threats grow deeper.

In the dead systems where gates lead to stranger things than alien planets, Elvi Okoye begins a desperate search to discover the nature of a genocide that happened before the first human beings existed, and to find weapons to fight a war against forces at the edge of the imaginable. But the price of that knowledge may be higher than she can pay.

At the heart of the empire, Teresa Duarte prepares to take on the burden of her father's godlike ambition. The sociopathic scientist Paolo Cortázar and the Mephistophelian prisoner James Holden are only two of the dangers in a palace thick with intrigue, but Teresa has a mind of her own and secrets even her father the emperor doesn't guess.

And throughout the wide human empire, the scattered crew of the Rocinante fights a brave rear-guard action against Duarte's authoritarian regime. Memory of the old order falls away, and a future under Laconia's eternal rule -- and with it, a battle that humanity can only lose - seems more and more certain. Because against the terrors that lie between worlds, courage and ambition will not be enough.

With all the main characters (Holden, Naomi, Amos, Bobbie, Alex) separated in different parts of the galaxy, I really wasn’t sure how I would enjoy Timant’s Wrath. I really enjoyed it though, all of the story lines were interesting and I never wished that I was reading a different point of view during each chapter.

Ok, that’s all I have for today. I really enjoyed Timant’s Wrath and if you’ve read any other the previous books, you will enjoy it too.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Not enough hours in a day

As you have likely noticed, my website has been very seldom updated lately, life has been full of changes this year. A new job, getting married, going back to school, all of these things have made life extremely busy. I haven’t been doing as much reading as usual, but I have read 13 books so far this year.

While 13 books may seem like a lot, it’s very few compared to my past reading habits. Also, because of life, I don’t have that much time to write long book reviews anymore, so over the next short while, I’m going to highlight some of my favourites of the books I’ve read so far this year in 2019.

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evelyn Hugo, reclusive Hollywood’s movie icon, is now ready to spill all the dirt and secrets of her marriages to seven different men and her great forbidden love.

This is by far my most favourite book I’ve read so far this year. It was a fascinating story, with a couple of twists that you knew were coming, but couldn’t quite figure out until the author revealed them to you. I openly wept on the bus as I was reading this novel as I could feel the depth of emotions that Evelyn Hugo was experiencing as she told her life story in this fictional “tell-all” novel.

This was a fantastic read and I would highly recommend everyone to read it, even if it doesn’t seem like your normal cup of tea. I couldn’t put it down.

 

Fathomless ~ A Book Review

Fathomless by Greig Beck

The first book I finished in 2019 was Fathomless.  I do consider finishing this book today a little bit of a cheat to count it towards my 2019 read books list since I started and read 89% of the book in 2018, but watcha going to do?

After watching The Meg, one of those good bad movies I love to watch, I kind of felt like staying with the shark theme when I picked out the next book I was going to read.  Searching around the Amazon store on my Kindle late at night, I stumbled upon Fathomless by Greig Beck. It sounded kind of familiar, but also interesting so I decided to give it a whirl.  

Turns out, I had added Fathomless to my TBR list a little while back, no wonder it sounded sort of familiar.  I was glad to randomly stumble upon it again, as I did enjoy this quick and fun read.

The main premise is the lead, Cate Granger,  researching an area of Alaska and looking for a possible underground sea where her grandfather had disappeared many years previously, finds what she has been searching for, and a little extra on the side.

Down into a cave system and then into an underground nightmare out of the prehistoric ages Cate and her lucky band of adventures travel and explore the great depths.  One of these adventures is a rich billionaire from Russia with many enemies.

Chaos ensues and suddenly Cate and her band of adventures come face to face with a giant dinosaur shark, the Carcharodon Megalodon.  Not only battling a shark but also nefarious Russians hell bent on revenge, Cate and crew have to overcome incredible odds to save the day.


Typical shark book, discover a shark, find the shark, kill the shark, however, it was a lot of fun to read.  With some initial underground exploration scenes, Beck, did an amazing job setting up a fantastic world that you can truly visualize.

I enjoyed reading Fathomless by Greig Beck, and while the last third of the book dragged just a little bit for me, I felt that it came to a satisfying conclusion.  If you like good bad movies or shark books or adventure stories, you will enjoy Fathomless.

Funny Enough, when I was about half way through this book, I ended up watching the second episode of Blue Planet II, The Deep.  There is a lot of crazy ocean life deep down. Beck, did an amazing job describing it in Fathomless and while watching The Deep I could easily envision a megalodon swimming down at those depths.

Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky

Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky: A Modern Baker's Guide to Old-Fashioned Desserts
By ~ Karlynn Johnston

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Another cookbook review you ask?  Well yes, as you know, if you've been reading my Random Musings blog posts, I've been doing a lot more cooking and baking lately as part of my A New Year New Challenge Experiments.  The month of January was filled with researching and purchasing a number of different cookbooks and Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky was one of those cookbooks.

What is the point in spending money of these various cookbooks without actually reading them?  Yes, I've been actually making my way through the cookbooks I've purchased, reading not only the recipes but the stories provided by the authors.

The reason I purchased this book is solely because of the Flapper Pie recipe.  Prior to stumbling upon this book on Amazon, I have never heard of Karlynn Johnston, her blog The Kitchen Magpie, or her amazing Flapper Pie recipe.  If the only thing I gain from my New Year New Challenge Experiment is the discovery of this Flapper Pie recipe, it will be worth it (note: I've already gained a lot from this experiment, the Flapper Pie is just an extra bonus).

To date I have tried four of the recipes from this book, and all of them have turned out delicious.  Two pie recipes (Flapper and Buttermilk) and two doughnut recipes.  If the rest of the recipes in this book are as good as the first four I've tried, I will have stumbled upon a great find.  Full of Canadian bakes, Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky is a colourful dessert cookbook with pictures of every bake.  I think that all cookbooks should have pictures of the completed food, don't you?

 

A Vision of Fire

A Vision of Fire (The Earthend Saga #1)
Authors ~ Gillian Anderson & Jeff Rovin

As probably most people who will have randomly come across A Vision of Fire, I picked up this book because of Gillian Anderson.

If you've never heard of Gillian Anderson before, well you are definitely not a child of the 90's with a nostalgia of The X-Files

I live in Vancouver, BC, where The X-Files was originally filmed and I distinctly remember watching the show with my mom and on nights when I was babysitting.   So yes, an old love of Dana Scully and Fox Mulder is what propelled me to read this book.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Renowned child psychologist Caitlin O’Hara is a single mom trying to juggle her job, her son, and a lackluster dating life. Her world is suddenly upturned when Maanik, the daughter of India’s ambassador to the United Nations, starts speaking in tongues and having violent visions. Caitlin is sure that her fits have something to do with the recent assassination attempt on her father—a shooting that has escalated nuclear tensions between India and Pakistan to dangerous levels—but when teenagers around the world start having similar outbursts, Caitlin begins to think that there’s a more sinister force at work. 

In Haiti, a student claws at her throat, drowning on dry land. In Iran, a boy suddenly and inexplicably sets himself on fire. Animals, too, are acting irrationally, from rats in New York City to birds in South America to ordinary house pets. With Asia on the cusp of nuclear war, Caitlin must race across the globe to uncover the mystical links among these seemingly unrelated incidents in order to save her patient—and perhaps the world.

A Vision of Fire isn't a great book, but neither is it a bad book.  It's mediocre in everything it does.  From combining Norse, Voodoo and Aliens, to Caitlin O'Hara having a deaf son who provides her with the ability to understand unspoken languages, A Vision of Fire tries to do to much and doesn't really succeed with anything.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy reading A Vision of Fire, I did, but it isn't a great book, it's just middle of the road, something to read in-between other more exciting books.  

 

Annihilation

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Annihilation (Southern Reach #1)
Author ~ Jeff Vandermeer

In the upcoming weeks and months you are going to start reading and hearing more about Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer because it has been turned into a movie, starting Natalie Portman.  I actually had no idea that it was turning into a movie.  I found out about this book from a friend and it sounded interesting when I read the synopsis.  It was only when I was about half-way through the book that the teaser trailer for Annihilation dropped.

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the world by a gigantic invisible barrier.  Inside Area X is a vast wilderness of pristine condition. 

Since the time Area X was cut off from the rest of civilization, expeditions have been sent to explore the area.  They have not gone well.  Mass suicide, attacks from strange creatures, gunfire as members turned on one another, some explorers returning as shells of their former selves, riddled with cancer.

Four women, with no names, only referring to themselves as their job descriptions; anthropologist; surveyor; psychologist; biologist, make up the twelfth expedition.

The secrets they uncover will change them and everything they know.

For the most part, I found Annihilation an interesting yet boring read.  Nothing happens, yet a lot happens, just very slowly and only to past characters not really in this story.  The narrator of the story is "The Biologist", and she spends a lot of her time in her head, thinking.  Thinking about her past, thinking about her trip to Area X, thinking about what's happening there...always thinking.  

This is one of those books that make you ask a whole bunch of questions about who, what, where, when, why, but it never actually answer's anything.  I have a feeling that this might be one of those few times where the movie will be better than the book (my most favourite example of this is Forrest Gump.  The movie was WAY better than the book).

I'm interested in watching the movie when it does come out and compare the two of them to each other.  I have no plans on reading the two follow-up books to this series, maybe they would answer the questions that Annihilation made me ask, but I'm not driven to find out those answeres, at least, not at this time.

 

It's been a while

It has been a busy few weeks.  Since it was summer, I was in and out of town, filling out a huge pile of paperwork and generally complacent in updating this site.  I now finally have a little bit of time, and energy to let you kind readers know what I've been reading lately.

I haven't read a lot in the last month and I've been feeling kind of slovenly because of this.  The last few weeks found me watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix.  I made it all the way to season 3 before my obsession of watching the show waned a bit.  So in the meantime I only found time to read four books.  

  • Artemis by Andy Weir (ARC provided by Netgalley)
  • Paradox Bound by Peter Clines (ARC provided by Netgalley)
  • When you Disappeared by John Marrs (ARC provided by Netgalley)
  • Rituals (Cainsville, #5) by Kelley Armstrong
  • The Ghost Line by Andrew Neil Gray

Reviews!

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Artemis
Author ~ Andy Weir

Artemis is the newest novel by Andy Weir (The Martian).  To say I was excited about Artemis is an understatement.  The Martian was a great novel, with lots of humour, that I really enjoyed so I had high hopes for Artemis.  Unfortunately, I didn't like it.

Jazz Bashara lives on the first and only city on the moon.  As a way of making ends meat, she smuggles in the occasional bit of contraband.  When Jazz receives a request that is too lucrative to turn down, she stumbles into a conspiracy to overtake control of Artemis, the moon city.

Artemis was well written, and I could tell that a lot of time and research went into the science side of the book, and overall the story wasn't that bad, but the main character, Jazz Bashara, ugh.  I just found that she had zero redeeming qualities.  It wasn't until the very very end of the book where you actually found out her motivations.  

Aside from my dislike of Jazz, the overall story was interesting and entertaining.  This is nothing like The Martian though, so don't start reading this novel thinking that you are going to find a similar story.  

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Paradox Bound
Author ~ Peter Clines

I had a hard time getting in Peter Clines most recent novel, Paradox Bound.  

Time Travelling through American History, Eli and Harry are on the search for the "American Dream".  In this case, the "American Dream" is a literal object, created by the founding fathers of the United States of America and lost for the past sixty years.

I usually like Peter Clines's novels, but I think with the current state of the USA, constantly being in the news, it's dotard leader and now on the brink of war with North Korea, this was just a bit to much America for me.  I did enjoy that this is set in the same world as two of Clines other novels, 14 and The Fold, but unless you read those two novel, the one sentence that lets you know this is the same world, would be glossed right over by other readers.

I look forward to Peter Clines's next novel, but this one just wasn't for me.

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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When you Disappeared
Author ~ John Marrs

After a couple of dud books I was reluctant to start yet another ARC from Netgalley, however, When you Disappeared by John Marrs hooked me immediately.

Catherine wakes up one morning, her husband, Simon, is gone.  Thinking he was out for a run then off to work, Catherine didn't worry about him until his colleague called her looking for him.  

Meanwhile, Simon is alive and well, having left his family because he knows the truth about the life they had lead.  Alive and thriving, Simon is doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of his past.

Twenty-Five year later, when Simon shows up on her doorstep, Catherine is finally introduce to the man Simon is, and she wished she never met him.

When I finished this book, my first thought was just, wow.  I really enjoyed this book, which was great since the last two books I had read were not my favourites (Artemis & Paradox Bound).

I also found the way it was written well done.  The story took place in "the now" with past memories of Catherine and Simon being told to each other.  It was a very effective piece of storytelling that I throughly enjoyed.  

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Rituals (Cainsville, #5)
Author ~ Kelley Armstrong

My popcorn novel.  I've been really enjoying the Cainsville series from Kelley Armstrong.  If you haven't read the first 4 in this series, don't bother reading Rituals, as you will be totally lost, and instead start at the beginning.

Olivia Jones must make a choice between two rival supernatural forces.  

I've enjoyed all of the books in this series and Rituals was no exception.  I do wonder how many books Kelley Armstrong has planed for this series because as I was reading Rituals, I could feel the story start to wind is way up.  It is by no means complete and there are still a lot on unanswered questions, and new questions that have appeared, but I suspect there will only be 2 or 3 more books in this series.

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The Ghost Line
Author ~ Andrew Neil Gray

I purchased this book on recommendation email from Amazon.  The Ghost Line was a surprising read, and quite quick.  It only took me a few hours to read it, but it was an intriguing story.  

The Martian Queen is a mothballed ship when Saga and Michel are hired to hack into it and changes it's course, effectively destroying the ship and openings up the shipping lane it has been occupying. 

Expecting an easy payday, Saga and Michel end up stranded aboard the Martian Queen, fighting to maintain their humanity and find their way back home.

The Ghost Line would make an excellent movie.  The story is pretty simple but also interesting.  It has a little bit of mystery, that isn't easily discoverable until it is revealed to you by the author.  I enjoyed reading this one.


I feel that this particular post is a little lacking in depth, but I also wanted to get something out to the readers of this website.  It's been a while since I've posted anything, and I kind of figured something was better than nothing.  If you have any questions or comments about the books I've briefly reviewed here, please let me know.  I'd be happy to answer them or pleased to read your comment.

Review ~ Equus

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Equus (Rhonda Parrish's Magical Menageries)
Anthology

The friend who originally suggested to me that I start to write book reviews managed to hook me up with my very first "official" review.  I was so excited to receive an ARC copy of the Equus anthology from Rhonda Parrish and be given the chance to write a review, but I failed...sort of.

Not every book is for every person, and Equus is just a book that isn't for me.   I will preface this by saying that short stories in general are hard for me to get into.  There have been some short stories that I have enjoyed in the past, but I've always been surprised when I do like them.  For me I find that with short stories, just as I'm starting to get into them, the story is over.  The second thing that Equus had going against it (at least one I discovered as I started to read it) is that I just don't care about horse.  I mean, I like them and I think they are pretty cool and I always go and see the RCMP Musical Ride at the Pacific National Exhibition, but aside from a periphery care for horses, I discovered that I don't really want to know anything more about them.  So my attempt to read Equus and review it made me gain some new knowledge about myself,  horses just are not my thing.

All of the stories I did read/skim through had quite a bit of description of the horses, how they move, the equipment they need the feeling or riding one. I just had a hard time caring about all this description of the horses and their riders. If you like horses I suspect that you would enjoy this anthology quite a lot. It just wasn't my thing and after attempting to read it for the past few months and finding myself dreading picking it up, reading a page or two and then putting it back down, I decided that it would be better to put it down for good and move on.

0 Penguins (with the notation that I would recommend this to someone who likes horses)

Ack! Apologies are in order

Hello everyone!  I wanted to send out a quick apology that my next book review is taking so long.  I'm actually almost finished writing it and I'll have it posted shortly.  

The reason for the delay is that I found myself getting a little overwhelmed trying to write a long and detailed review of the books I've been reading.  It it started feeling like is was a chore instead of something fun to do and as I read more and more books, the thought of writing long reviews of them became something I was dreading.  I didn't want to give up doing the book reviews, but I also needed to figure out a way to continue to enjoy reading and not dread writing the review.  

It took me some time to finally decided what I wanted to do with the book review section of my website.  In the end, I came up with the idea to write the reviews in a different manner than I had started out with, the biggest change is that I'm not going to worry about how long they are.  Some books I just really don't have anything to say and others I have a tone of stuff to say and those books that I didn't really have anything to say about them were incredibly stressful to write "enough" words about them.  So from this point forward some of my reviews might be short and to the point while others will be more detailed.  I'm going to let the writing just come and not pressure myself to reach a specific word count.  I feel that this will be a good compromise between continuing with the reviews and not overwhelming myself with trying to become a wordsmith.

You may be wondering what I have read in the meantime since my last review. Well I've read twelve and a half books between May and June.  Eleven of those books you'll find  have a short review in the post, with a fuller review of the book Pandemic (The Extinction Files #1) by A.G. Riddle as my next "full length" review.  I hope you enjoy reading the mini-reviews.

Mini Book Reviews

#1) The Seventh Plague by James Rollins
A pandemic style story with ancient Egyptian origins.  The member of Sigma Force have to discover who is trying to unleash a plague straight out of the bible.  This isn't one of my favourite of the Sigma Force stories.  I've been finding that each story seems to be getting a little bit more and more ridiculous as  this series has been going on.  I also found that The Seventh Plague seemed to be action scene followed by action scene without a ton of character development.  This being the twelve book in the series (with a bunch of novellas too) I wonder if James Rollins is getting tired of Sigma Force.  I hope the next book is better.

2.5 Penguins

#2) Syndrome E by Franck Thilliez (translated from French into English by Mark Polizzotti)
The North American debut of Frank Thilliez will provide you with one of the best murder mysteries I've read.  The story starts off with an old-film connoisseur who ends up blind after viewing his most recent acquisition, an odd film from the 50's.  While his ex-girlfriend investigates his blindness, she discovers that the film is connected with 5 bodies that were recently discovered in the woods.  This murder-thriller is filled with shocking plot twist that will have you travelling from France to Canada, Egypt and Rwanda and keep you guessing right until the very last sentence and beyond.

5 Penguins

#3) Bred to Kill By Franck Thilliez (translated from French into English by Mark Polizzotti)
The sequel to Syndrome E.  While investigating the brutal animal attack of a graduate student, it is discovered that she was actually murdered.  The investigation leads us into the Alps only to discover that a thirty-thousand-year-old virus has been discovered and their are plans to unleash it on the world.    

Bred to Kill picks up about a year after the events in Syndrome E.  While the murder mystery of Bred to Kill isn't quite as gripping as Syndrome E, the personal development of the police detectives more than makes up for it.  I wish that I could either read French or that more of Franck Thilliez's novels were translated into English.

5 Penguins

#4) American Gods by Neil Gaiman
The main idea behind American Gods are that gods exist because people believe in them.  American Gods centres around Shadow and his work as an errand boy for Mr. Wednesday.  

A cross between fantasy, fiction and ancient mythology American Gods is Neil Gaiman at his best.  It's a real shame that I just don't really like Neil Gaiman.  I read the book because the show was coming out and I wanted to see what it was all about.  For 3/4 of the book, I found it just barely interesting enough to keep reading and it wasn't until the last quarter of the book that I was final hooked.  This book took be 12 days to read, which may not seem like a lot to some, but when I finish a book on average every 2-3 days, this was an extremely long time for me.

1 Penguins

#5) Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson
This short novella is a science fiction detective mystery.   At some undetermined point in the future we gain the ability to produce a "snapshot" of the day.  An exact recreation of any given date.  Detectives use the snapshot to help solves murders.  

I really enjoyed this novella.  The idea of a snapshot was quite creative.  I'm not a huge fan of short stories or novellas because just as I'm really getting into them, the story is over.  I felt that Brandon Sanderson did an excellent job of balancing the shortness of Snapshot while still providing the details needed for me to enjoy.

4 Penguins

#6) The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
Some point in the future, after a great tribulation, earths humanity only has a dim relocation of humanity before, a small village roots out "deviations" and destroys them as abominations.  The Cyrysalids focuses on one boy, who hides that he his a deviation.  

I enjoyed reading The Chrysalids.  This is one of the books that tends to be on the high-school syllabus, but I always had the English teacher that taught the "other" books on the syllabus, so I never read this in school.  I was entertained throughout, my only complaint being that the ending of the book seemed a little rushed and I would like to have know what happens afterwards.

4 Penguins

#7) Thrawn by Timothy Zhan
Grand Admiral Thrawn was first introduced in Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire Series.  Now considered to be Legends and no longer cannon in the Star Wars world, many believe that it was this series and it's captivating antagonist that brought Star Wars back into mainstream and paved the way for the re-releases and prequels, and now an entire world of movies.  Disney was very smart to bring Grand Admiral Thrawn into Cannon and they were even smarter to have Timothy Zhan write Thrawn's history.  I grew up reading the now legends Star Wars novels, and while a lot of them were and are quite terrible stories, there were also a ton of them that were quite amazing, including the Heir to the Empire Series.  Thrawn is the first book in the new canon that I have really enjoyed.  It reintroduces us to the blue skinned, red eyed Chiss commander and documents his rise through the Galactic Empire to become a Grand Admiral.  If you've only ever seen the movies, you can easily read Thrawn and be captivated by this master of military strategy.  

4 Penguins

#8) Calamity (Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson
The third and final book in the Reckoners Series by Brandon Sanderson, and my favourite of the three.  The professor has gone rogue and it's up to David and the rest of the Reckoners to save him from himself.  These stories are about the corruption that the people who've gained special powers have to face.  

I found the first two books in this series filled with a lot of teen angst, and if put me off reading the final book for a long time.  The teen angst is gone from this book which I was very relieved.  Overall, it's a good wrap-up for the series, although the ending and final climatic event felt a little rushed.

3.5 Penguins

#9) Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton
During the late 1800's while the gold-rush towns are popping up everywhere, two rival palaeontologists, Marsh and Cope, are on the hunt for dinosaur fossils.  William Johnson, a Yale student with more privilege than common-sense makes a bet with one of his school-mates and finds himself in the West assisting on a dig.  When he is abandoned by the paranoid Marsh he joins forces with Cope and discovers a grave of huge historical significance.   With this find comes grave danger and his life is on the line.  

This is Michael Crichton at best, blending history, science and fiction flawlessly.  The palaeontologists, Marsh and Cope, are based of real people and the history of finding dinosaur fossils in the West are loosely true.  William Johnson is the fictional made up character that allows Crichton to blend history and fiction together in a cohesive story.  

4 Penguins

#10) Spin (Spin Saga #1) by Robert Charles Wilson
When the stars disappear, replaced by a black membrane, three friends will be forever changed once it's discovered that the black membrane has placed the Earth in a temporal stasis.  

With a cast of well developed characters, I was drawn into the story right from the get-go.  The narration takes place in both the past and present.  The present day narration takes some time before you understand what's going on and only until the past narration catches up do you fully get the scope of the story.  I very much enjoyed this science fiction story and at the time of writing this review I'm currently reading the second one in the series, Aixs.

5 Penguins

#11) Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn
Human Martian, Polly Newton, is sent to her with her brother Charles to the pretentious Galileo Academy on Earth.  While there Polly and Charles struggle to fit in with the privilege Earth teenagers as strange accidents start to happen.  

I really wanted to enjoy this story as it seemed very intriguing, a fish out of water type story, but I didn't.  I hated the main character, Polly.  I found her to be a whiny person filled with teen angst and never learned from her mistakes.  The story itself was well written though, which is why I was able to finish it and not give up half way through.

2 Penguins

Review ~ The Wizard Killer: Season 1

The Wizard Killer ~ Season 1
Author: Adam Dreece

Prepare yourself for an adventure in this post-apocalyptic futuristic fantasy story penned by indie author Adam Dreece. The Wizard Killer ~ Season 1 is written in an episodic, serialized style that makes this a quick and engaging read.  Each chapter is a little adventure in of itself, will all the chapters making up the overall story arc.  From the opening sentence when the protagonist wakes up in the forest, discovering that he has been impaled with a sword to the final passage where...well I won’t tell you since that would be a spoiler, needless to say I was thoroughly engaged.   

The protagonist, whose name you never do find out in Season 1, wakes up with a cloudy memory of who he is and what has happened to him.  As he sets out to find some semblance of civilization among all the desolation of this world, memories start to come back to him.  When he encounters a commune of people that have a hidden agenda the action really starts to take off.

My only real complaint with The Wizard Killer ~ Season 1 is that I can’t help but be disappointed that this story is written in an episodic serialized style.  This world that Decree has created is so fascinating.  I was so intrigued that I really wanted a longer story with more character and world development, and where I wasn’t left with quite so many questions.  What happened to this world?  Who is this protagonist?  What kind of powers does he have?  Where is everyone? Magic guns powered by mana?  Levitating Cars that no longer run?  So many questions and definitely not enough answers.  Even with my complaint of The Wizard Killer ~ Season 1 not being long enough I can’t wait to read Season 2.  Hopefully my questions will be answered, while also providing new questions to ask.  Think of The Wizard Killer ~ Season 1 as a graphic novel without the pictures and you will thoroughly enjoy it too.

4 Penguins

 

Review ~ The Frozen Sky

The Frozen Sky (Frozen Sky #1)
Author: Jeff Carlson

A far off place, two hundred years in the future, humans will venture out into space and harvest ice from the Jupiter's sixth moon, Europa.  From the Author that brought you Plague Year, Jeff Carlson’s First Contact space adventure thriller, The Frozen Sky,  will take you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions.  From the opening chase scene where your heart is beating to the political structure of Earth and the moral questions regarding first contact, The Frozen Sky will keep you guessing what’s going to happen, throughout the entire book.  

Robotic probes have discovered ancient carvings in a deep cave system on Europa.  Investigating first hand, Alexis Vonderach, aka Von, and her teammates have discovered an ancient buried civilization on Europa. After an accident causes a cave-in, which kills Von’s teammates, Von ends up on the front door-steps of the native population.  As First Contact with the "sunfish" goes horribly wrong, Von is chased through the caverns of Europa by the sunfish as she tries to survive.

I wanted to like this book more than I did.  The story itself is actually very intriguing and it made me think about how awful humans can be.  What rights do we humans have to the resources on another planet?  Profit is what drives Earth politics in this story (and in real life), it may be profitable to destroy another sentient life forms home, but is it moral?  

There were a lot of really interesting concepts in this novel, how space travel will work, futuristic medicine with cloned materials, communicating with an alien species, artificial intelligence.  You can tell that Carlson must have put in a ton of hours researching these concepts.  Overall the story was well done, but it took me quite some time to get into it.  I read on a Kindle, so I can’t tell you the page number, but the first 20% of the book was the initial chase scene with Von and the sunfish.  I struggled to read this part of the book, it was just too long and I was bored.  The beginning was great, you were wondering what was going on, was Von going to survive this chase, who were these creatures chasing her on this desolate and supposedly uninhabited moon? Then the chase scene kept going on and on and on, like the energizer bunny.  Eventually the story progresses from a one woman survival situation to include more characters.  Once there was interaction between other characters I was a lot more entertained and found the book easier to read.

At this time I have no plans on reading the rest of this trilogy.  

3 Penguins

Review ~ The Devotion of Suspect X

devotionsuspectxbookcover

The Devotion of Suspect X
Author: Keigo Higashino
Translator: Alexander O. Smith

From the opening pages of The Devotion of Suspect X to the final line in the book I was hooked on this murder mystery thriller with a twist.  

This is the third book in the “Detective Galielo” series, and the first one in the series to be translated from Japanese to English.  Don’t let the fact that this is the third book in the series dissuade you from reading this book, you will not feel lost at all.  The author, Keigo Higashino, has done an excellent job of providing you with any details you need to follow along in the story and not feel like you’re missing out on something.  If anything, after reading this story, you will wish that the first two books were also translated into English.  

The plot is fairly straightforward.  Yasuko Hanaoka, a single mother, has murdered her abusive ex-husband, Togashi.  Don’t worry, this isn’t a spoiler.  In this classic who-done-it with a twist, you know exactly who the killer is.  At the very beginning of this book you read how Yasuko has murdered her ex-husband, and you know it’s her doing it at the time of reading.  The best part of this novel is that Higashino is able to keep you interested in the story when you already know who the killer is, and why she killed him.

Hearing the commotion of murder, her next-door neighbour, Ishigami, a middled-aged high school math teacher, offers his help in covering up the murder.  Having a bit of a crush on Yasuko, Ishigami, doesn’t want her to get into trouble with the police.   

When Togashi’s body is eventually found, and identified as Yasuko’s ex-husband, Yasuko comes under suspicion for murder by Detective Kusangi.  During the course of his investigation, Kusangi comes to speak with Ishigami.  At this time it is discovered that Ishigami once went to school with a personal friend and sometimes police consultant of Kusanagi's, Dr. Manabu Yukawa, otherwise known as Professor Galielo.  Kusangi becomes convinced that Yasuko is responsible for Togashi’s murder, and unable to convince his partner, he goes to speak with Professor Galielo to gain some insight.  When Professor Galielo finds out Ishigami is loosely involved he becomes embroiled in the investigation with Kusangi and a battle of wits ensues between him and Ishigami.  Was Ishigami’s help in covering up the death of Togashi enough for Yasuko get away with murder?  

I was captivated with this novel.  I found that the brilliance with this novel is that Higashino is able to keep you interested and engaged in the story even though you knew already who the killer is.  From the opening paragraph and then throughout the entire story I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next.  What part of the alibi that Ishigami helped concoct would fall apart and get Yasuko caught.  How was Detective Kusanagi going to figure out that Yasuko was the murderer?  

As the story developed I started to feel really bad for Yasuko.  Here is this woman who is struggling to get by and provide a good life for her daughter, she murders her ex-husband in self defence and is caught in a terrible place.  I’m not familiar with Japanese criminal law, but I had the impression reading the book that Yasuko would not be able to claim self-defense as a reason for the murder and desperate to hide the crime she accepted Ishigami’s help with covering up the murder.  The more you read about her life and her abusive ex-husband, and all you want is for her to get away with it.

It’s impossible for me to say more about the story without unintentionally revealing spoilers.  The interaction between the various characters seemed very real and you could imagine yourself having the same sort of conversations or thinking the same thoughts if you were in Yasuko’s place.  Reading as the murder investigation unfolded, following step-by-step as Detective Kusangi goes through the paces to prove his hunch gives you a sense of the drudgery that must happen during police investigations, as they ask the same questions over and over, trying to find the lie.  

The Devotion of Suspect X is an incredibly smart and intriguing mystery that will keep you guessing right to the very end. I would recommend that anyone read this book, especially if you like mysteries or noir novels.

5 Penguins