Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

Book Review

 


Reincarnation BluesBook Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Humor

Book Series: N/A

Released: 8/22/17 by Del Rey Books

Pages: 384 Price: $27.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads,

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A magically inspiring tale of a man who is reincarnated through many lifetimes so that he can be with his one true love: Death herself.

What if you could live forever—but without your one true love? Reincarnation Blues is the story of a man who has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times, in search of the secret to immortality so that he can be with his beloved, the incarnation of Death. Neil Gaiman meets Kurt Vonnegut in this darkly whimsical, hilariously profound, and wildly imaginative comedy of the secrets of life and love. Transporting us from ancient India to outer space to Renaissance Italy to the present day, is a journey through time, space, and the human heart.

My Review:

I absolutely loved this book.  Completely.  I actually believe in reincarnation, much like what was described in this book.  My belief is that we come back to Earth time and time again in order to experience every part of humanity and evolve as a soul.  I also believe we plan each life, to some extent, in order to reach our goals so while this is a great story of human nature and love there was also the added bonus, for me, that so much of the plot fed into my belief system of life and death and reincarnation.  Score!

Okay putting that aside for those of you who don’t share my beliefs this is still an amazingly good book.  The story is entertaining, the characters not taking themselves too seriously, willing to poke fun at themselves.  They were also full of depth, complex and unique.  Some of their quirks had me laughing but the author also knew how to set the fun aside and get serious for a chapter or two.  There were such profound moments in this book that it made my heart wrench for the characters.  The author did an excellent job of showing the human race for what we are, blemishes and all.  He also showed us the potential for what we could become, though.  That in each of us we have the potential to do great things and some pretty crappy things too.  Of course, then there is karma which will get us in the end and rewards us for our actions be them good or bad.

The synopsis leads one to believe this is a story about love and it is but it is also so much more.  I would have to say that the love plot line almost took a back burner for me.  Oh sure I wanted to see those two crazy kids get together and have their H.E.A (e standing for eternity here) but it isn’t what kept me engaged in the story.  The observations on humanity are what kept me turning the page.  The jumping back and forth in time, done well by the way and not confusing at all, to observe how the human race evolved over time and how one small act can ripple through out time and change the course of humanity for years to come.

This is simply a great read done by a talented author who can weave a complex and fresh story that not only entertains but makes one stop and think for a moment.  It is one of those books that I’m better for having read it and you will be too.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Dragonmark by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Book Review

 


Dragonmark (Dark-Hunter, #26; Dragons Rising, #1; Lords of Avalon, #5)Book Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Book Series: Dark-Hunter Universe #27

Released: 8/2/2016 by St. Marin’s Press

Pages: 344 Price: $14.99 e-book

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a copy of this book

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Centuries ago, Illarion was betrayed– a dragon made human against his will, then forced to serve humanity as a dragonmount in their army, and to fight for them in barbaric wars, even while he hated everything about them. Enslaved and separated from everyone he knew and from his own dragon brothers, he was forced into exile in a fey realm where he lost the only thing he ever really loved.

Now he has a chance to regain what’s been lost— to have the one thing he covets most. But only if he gives up his brothers and forsakes the oaths he holds most dear. Yet what terrifies him most isn’t the cost his happiness might incur, it’s the fact that there is just enough human in his dragon’s heart that he might actually be willing to pay it and betray everything and everyone– to see the entire world burn…

My Review:

I have put off reading this book for an entire year.  I purchased it the week, if not day, it released but needed to finish a review book or two before diving in.  Then I saw the reviews on Goodreads… A lot of one and two-star ratings.  Crap.  This is my favorite author and my favorite series and it looked like and a lot of people were not happy with the book.  I don’t actually read reviews ahead of time but I do take a poll of star ratings.  I didn’t know exactly what people were complaining about but I knew they were not happy. So I decided to put the book off. I almost picked it up several times over the year but the ratings always held me back, I didn’t want to be disappointed.

A year passed and the next book in the series hit the shelves and I once again picked it up release week and decided I had put off this title long enough.  I dove in not knowing what I would find.

I get it now.  I get why all the low ratings. I also agree with the reason behind them and while I’m not going to go as far as leaving one or two stars I am going to deduct two stars because quite frankly I’m disappointed too.  Ms. Kenyon, I love you.  You are my favorite author but you are so much better than this.

The problem with the book, in case you don’t know is that only about one-third of it is a new plot.  Two-thirds of it is pulled directly from the previous books.  I would have to go back and double-check but it didn’t feel like it was even updated and parts of this story were not told from Illarion’s point of view and Edilyn disappears completely for much of the book.  Now I understand that these three book’s action takes place at the same time but there had to be a better way to handle this. How about some interesting new perspective? Or we get a glimpse of what is happening elsewhere in the universe in those moments?  I know you can’t rewrite a scene that has already taken place but instead of plotting with past characters how about a peek at what is going on with Edilyn?  I’ve noticed that this rehashing of storyline is becoming pretty common in Kenyon’s other series The League. It almost makes me wonder if it is time for the author to take a break and pursue other projects for a couple of years and then come back.

For the one-third of fresh storyline, it was amazing and everything I love about Ms. Kenyon.  lllarion and Edilyn were great characters that got jipped from having their story be the focus of their book.  I loved how they came together and when they were separated it broke my heart.  When the book brought us back to their plot I cheered to see how they ended up together.  I sincerely wish we had more time with these two they had such integrity and honor that they deserved better.  Most likely we will get more of their tale.  I think that Edilyn’s brother who plays a “bad” guy in this book might end up redeemed in his own book it is something this author loves to do.

While disappointed this doesn’t turn me off of the series I’m in it for the long haul.  I just hope the next book is better or at least more focused on the main characters.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Month in Review: July 2017

Month in Review

Read this month: 6 Books, 1773 Pages 

Read this year: 54 Books, 14,170 Pages 

Dark Matter Reincarnation Blues Lady Stuff: Secrets to Being a Woman

 Tomorrow's Kin (Yesterday's Kin Trilogy, #1) Waking Gods (Themis Files, #2) Kato (Stone Warriors, #2)

Looking Back:

I did better than I thought I would for a busy month.  Only two audiobooks this month and most of the others are review books. Most of them I enjoyed only one disappointment, Dark Matter, which wasn’t even that bad just didn’t live up to the hype.  The second half of the month petered out and I slacked off with my reading.  I’ve met my “goal” for the year so I’m not too worried.  I wish I could find time to sit down and focus on my current review book which is Andy Weir’s upcoming release.

Looking Ahead:

I have a TON of doctor’s appointments for the month of August and a surprise book talk at work.  I’m going to try to read that one so I can participate and try to finish up my review books.  My favorite author released a book today that I couldn’t get my hands on, will try again this weekend.  I haven’t read the book before yet so I might binge read some Kenyon titles or not.  I’m a mood reader so I’m going to just see where that takes me.  With the health issues I’m dealing with I’m not going to put any conditions or requirements as far as blogging or reading goes this month.

Happy Reading ~Amy

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Book Review

 


Dark MatterBook Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller, Mystery

Book Series: N/A

Released: 7/26/16 by Crown

Pages:342  Price: $26.99 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this as an audiobook from my library.  

 

 

Book Synopsis:

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of. 

My Review:

Unpopular opinion time.  Just thought I would warn you up front that I did not love this book like so many others have.  I didn’t hate it, however, it was just alright in my opinion.  It felt like someone watched Interstellar and thought the part near the end would make a great book.  I know it isn’t exactly what happen in the movie but I couldn’t help being reminded of that scene so the parallels are there.

After reading some of the other reviews I have to agree this book read like it was written to be turned into a movie.  The lead character felt flat and I struggled to connect with him.  The action was top-notch but I feel like that was at the sacrifice of world building.  I also felt some parts of the plot were added in for pure shock value and that turned me off a bit.

So what did I find interesting, what kept me listening to this audiobook. The idea behind the plot was interesting and some of the dumbed down science as well.  If you are looking to read a pure hard science fiction novel you might want to look elsewhere as there are better ones out there.

Again it was a good book but not a great book.  Still, the book felt gimmicky to me at times and would fit better in the thriller category than the science fiction one in my opinion.  I guess I was looking for more science, less drama.  More character depth, less violence.  More exploring of the multi-verse, less personal obsession.  I also didn’t care for the ending.  I wish he had come up with something else that what he delivered because it started to get a little creepy and cliché. I’ll stop here because the more I think about the story the less I like it…

My Rating: 3 (being kind) Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: I give up…

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

July 25, 2017: Series I am giving up on. 

There comes a time when we all have to face facts, tastes change. We evolve as readers and books or series we once enjoyed might not work for us anymore.  Or perhaps too much time has past and we don’t remember what is going on anymore.  Whatever the reason sometimes we just stop turning to authors or series we once enjoyed in favor of something shiny and new.  Below are ten series that I am removing from to-read list today.  I’m not saying that I will never consider picking up the next book in these series but it is becoming more and more unlikely.  It was fun while it lasted but it is time to move on.

Ten series that I am putting out to pasture.

  1. Broken Heart Tails (Broken Heart, #10) Broken Heart Series: This was such a fun series that I enjoyed once upon a time.  The author is quite funny and the series was hilarious at times.  I was keeping up with this one and then the author didn’t publish any new books for a while and I moved on to other series.  I tried to go back but the book I attempted just didn’t work for me and so I fell even further behind.  I need to just own up that I probably won’t be returning to this world. Weeded.
  2. Tracking the Tempest (Jane True, #2) Jane True Series: Read the first book in this series and just never got around to picking up the second.  Now I don’t even remember what happen in the first book.  Time to let it go. Weeded.
  3. Defy the Dawn (Midnight Breed, #14) Midnight Breed Series: This one pains me to say goodbye to.  I really enjoyed this series and it is still the best example of a series reinventing itself that I’ve seen.  Another case of I didn’t get review book and put off requesting and Inter Library Loan to keep up and then I see that many of the next works are actually novellas inside anthologies.  I’m afraid I just don’t have the time to keep track of what book I need to request anymore.  Goodbye dear friend.  Weeded.
  4. Eternal Sin (Mark of the Vampire, #6) Mark of the Vampire Series:  I think this is a case of the author moved on without me.  She hasn’t published a book in this series in some time.  So I don’t feel too bad about letting this one go.  It was a great series while it lasted.  Weeded.
  5. Dragon Storm (Dragon Falls, #2) Dragon Falls: This one I feel a tad bit guilty over.  I was gifted the first two books in the series and then bought the third… I read the first one and attempted the second and it just didn’t work for me.  I think it might be time to break up with this author in a case of it isn’t you it is me.  I’m not into the fluffy fun paranormal romance as much as I used to be.  Only a few authors do I actually enjoy anymore.  Weeded, but not deleted from my Nook I might go back some day with this one.
  6. The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire (Half-Moon Hollow, #3) Half-Moon Hollow Series: I’ve tried time and time again to request review books in this series and have been turned down repeatedly.  Not big deal except that it means the series doesn’t often make it into my reading priority list, top that with the need to request the books through inter library loan through my library and it means that I am now three books behind in this world.  I’m giving up.  No mater how much I enjoy the series it obviously isn’t a priority for me and I’m going to move on.  Weeded.
  7. Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) Throne of Glass Series: This was a kick-ass series and so popular that I could never get my hands on it at the library.  So I waited and waited and now there are two or three books out and I don’t care anymore how it ends up.  So I’m moving on.  Maybe someday when the series is done I’ll come across them while thrifting and pick the series back up again.  Weeded.
  8. Cain's Identity (Scanguards Vampires, #9) Scanguards Vampires Series:  I DNF one of these books a long time ago and meant to pick up the next in series to see if the story still worked for me.  Didn’t happen so now its time to let this world go.  Weeded.
  9. Accidentally...Cimil? (Accidentally Yours, #4.5) Accidentally Yours Series: I think I might own at least two of the remaining three books in this series…. I’ve not made time to get to them and I don’t think I ever will.  I enjoyed this one while it lasted but it fell victim to too long of a wait between releases.  Weeded, but not deleted.
  10. Outlander (Outlander #1) Outlander Series: Several people have recommended this series to me.  I’ve not started it and I probably won’t ever get around to reading it.  Why?  I’m not a huge fan of historical romance and there are a ton of books in the series and they are all bricks.  My reading pace has slowed down considerably.  I hate to say it but a thousand some page book by an author I’ve never tried before just isn’t in the cards for me currently.  Maybe I will look into this one as an audiobook selection from my library.  Weeded before even starting.

 

There you have my list for this week.  What series have you moved on from recently?

Monday Morning Check-In: Me Day

Good Monday morning everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  I am coming off of fair week and a late night where we stayed up to try to see the Northern Lights last night.  We gave up because it became apparent that thanks to our yard light and the FS tank yards that is lit up like the surface of the freaken sun there was too much light pollution on our property to see much of anything.

On tap for today is anything I want to do because it is my birthday today.  If I want to nap or play with my birds or read or even do the dishes (because I want to use the sink) or play with my kittens (who are almost a year old) then I am going try to get some reading in and wait for a call from my doctors with blood work results that I had taken on Friday.  If you want to know what that’s all about you can check out my other blog, What I’m Dealing With.

I hope you all have a great week and enjoy this beautiful summer day, even though it is Monday.  Happy Reading!

Tomorrow’s Kin by Nancy Kress

Book Review

 


Tomorrow's Kin (Yesterday's Kin Trilogy, #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Book Series: Yesterday’s Kin Trilogy #1

Released: 7/11/17 by Tor Books

Pages: 288 Price: $25.99 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Tomorrow’s Kin is the first volume in and all new hard SF trilogy by Nancy Kress based on the Nebula Award-winning Yesterday’s Kin.

The aliens have arrived… they’ve landed their Embassy ship on a platform in New York Harbor, and will only speak with the United Nations. They say that their world is so different from Earth, in terms of gravity and atmosphere, that they cannot leave their ship. The population of Earth has erupted in fear and speculation.

One day Dr. Marianne Jenner, an obscure scientist working with the human genome, receives an invitation that she cannot refuse. The Secret Service arrives at her college to escort her to New York, for she has been invited, along with the Secretary General of the UN and a few other ambassadors, to visit the alien Embassy.

The truth is about to be revealed. Earth s most elite scientists have ten months to prevent a disaster and not everyone is willing to wait.

My Review:

I’ve read a couple of books by this author and thoroughly enjoyed both of them, in fact, the first book that I read was Yesterday’s Kin.  The book that this series is based upon or is a continuation of.  I thought the cover looked familiar when requesting it so I dug a little deeper and discovered the connection and became concerned for a moment that I was about to read the same book twice.  The page count was different so I decided to continue and see what was different.

I have to confess I did skip the first third of the book which felt like it was either the same as Yesterday’s Kin or close enough that I would probably be fine if I jumped to the new material.  The book was divided into three parts and starting in part two the story picks up where the first novella left off.  If you want to read what I thought of that first third of the story you can do so here, Yesterday’s Kin Review.

So what did I think of this revamped or continued story?  I think it was bloody brilliant!  In my review of the previous story, I held back one star, mentioning closure for two of the characters but perhaps it was more of I needed closure.  I wanted to know more, what happened next.  In this book, the author delivers, big time.  The second part of the book picks up a few years after the first part ends and we get to see the aftermath of what happened on Earth when the aliens left and the disaster struck. It wasn’t pretty, but I think it was pretty accurate in what the author envisioned.  Like The Martian, Ms. Kress uses real science to weave a captivating and thoughtful story about human nature and human’s place in the world.  There was so much I hadn’t thought of if a disaster like this struck.  What the ramifications would be not only to our environment but our way of life and even our evolution.  It was truly fascinating.

The book does feel fairly science accurate but it was never stuffy or boring.  The author never lectures but simply illuminates and uses science to give her story teeth.  Ms. Kress is truly a gifted story-teller and I loved this book.  I am excited that there are two more tales to come as I can not wait to see where she takes these characters next.

If you want a smart yet thrilling science fiction story that echoes current environmental, political, and cultural struggles we face today while throwing an interesting twist then this is a book you are going to want to pick up for yourself.  This story has it all!

 

My Rating: 5 Stars

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

Book Review

 


Waking Gods (Themis Files, #2)Book Genre: Science Fiction 

Book Series: Themis Files #2

Released: 4/4/17 by Del Rey

Pages: 325 Price: $28.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

My Review:

I can’t believe it but I liked this book more than the first.  Now that I am used to how the story is written, through these government documents, and that I am listening to it rather than reading I am so into this story.  The different narrators truly help the story come to life.

Unlike many second books in series a ton of plot movement happens in this story.  The story jumps just shy of a decade into the future and all the main characters from the first story now have a new giant robot to contend with.  I don’t want to give anything away and I’m afraid saying too much more will spoil too much for you.  I was shocked and saddened by some of the twists the story took.  Loss of vital characters, theories I didn’t see coming, and the finale that we got to see unfold from multiple perspectives.  All of it wrapped up fairly nicely at the end and I could have walked away being completely satisfied if I had stopped the book before the last five minutes.  But no I stayed to the end and now I’m totally frustrated by the freaken cliffhanger at the end…

I will be back for the next book and might even keep an eye out for a review copy so I can read it before release day.  Or I might wait and listen to the next book too.  I’ve really been enjoying this series that way and why change a good thing, right.  Fingers crossed it isn’t a long wait for the next book because I so want to know what happens next!

My Rating: 5 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Patriotic Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

July 4: Patriotic Quotes

The ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish are taking some much deserved time away from their Top Ten Tuesday list but that doesn’t mean we have to.  If inspiration strikes me over the next few weeks I’m going to continue to share lists here at Read What I Like.

This week since Tuesday is our Independence Day here in The United States I thought it would be fitting to share some patriotic (ish) quotes that I enjoy.  Warning I am a very left-leaning progressive liberal so these quotes are going to reflect my current thoughts about our all Republican lead government.  Not trying to start a fight but just keep in mind any right-wing readers that you bitched and moaned over every single thing Obama did for eight years so suck it up and deal with a little criticism.  Resistance was built into the constitution and is one of the most patriotic things a citizen can do besides vote.

A bonus quote for after my preachy intro there: Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”  ~Bernard M. Baruch

Ten patriotic quotes to inspire resistance to tyranny.

  1. “God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right, even though I think it is hopeless” ~Chester Nimitz
  2. “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth” ~Albert Einstein
  3. “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority” ~Benjamin Franklin
  4. “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed.  If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” ~ William Faulkner
  5. “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people” ~ Alan Moore, V for Vendetta
  6. “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
  7. “No Matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels.  Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.” ~ Barbara Ehrenreich
  8. “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world: My own Government, I can not be Silent.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
  9. “Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.” ~Oscar Wilde
  10. “Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.~George Orwell, 1984

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!  Happy Independence Day.

Monday Morning Check-In: Hello again

Good Monday morning everyone.  What is this?  Am I over my depression?  Is the old Amy back in the swing of things.  Sadly no.  I am feeling a bit better thanks to a relaxing day out across Eastern Iowa but it would be foolish for me to think my depression left so quickly.  I have a doctor’s apt in Iowa City this morning for my first three-month check-up and so I had a little free time where I couldn’t work on a project so I thought I would check in with all you good folks.

On the reading front, I managed to finish a review book about nine days after it released.  There are three other books coming out this month that I need to get my butt in gear and read.  Two of them are due by July 11th.  One of them has an archive date on the 11th so it needs to be started now, but the other has an archive date in August so I’m not as worried about getting that one read by release date.  I have an interesting read by Wesley Snipes the actor from Blade.  It is a vampire urban fantasy book and I’m curious to see how he does.   I also have two audiobooks to listen to, both of them I’m equally excited about so I’m not sure which to start first.

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July and the town I grew up in holds one of the best fireworks displays in the state so husband and I will be headed over there early to get a good parking spot.  I requested we go really early this year because it is also the 30th anniversary of my mother’s death and I would like to take flowers to her grave.  After that, we will have several hours of not a whole lot to do but read as we wait for the show.  Despite losing my mother on that day the Fourth of July remains my favorite holiday.  Probably because of all the fond memories I have of the day with her.

I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday!  Happy Reading ~Amy