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

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

Night’s Darkest Embrace by Jeaniene Frost

Book Review

 


Night's Darkest EmbraceBook Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Audio

Book Series: N/A

Released: 11/13/2012 by Pocket

Pages:100  Price: $1.99 E-Book

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Enter the dark realm of Nocturna in Jeaniene Frost’s redhot tale, where blisteringly sexy Raphael dominates the demons of a lawless dimension and tries to help a beautiful young woman avenge her cousin’s disappearance. Originally appeared in the Haunted By Your Touch anthology.

My Review:

This was a good listen for an afternoon spent removing tar paper from a hardwood floor.  Entertaining, short, and kept one’s mind occupied while doing a tedious task.  My only complaint is that this isn’t a series!  I thought this world was quite interesting and full of potential.  Maybe Ms. Frost will decide to revisit this demon dimension in the future, finger’s crossed.

While being short there was adequate world building and I didn’t feel lost. The story is fairly typical for paranormal romance there is a sexy alpha hero and an instant romance connection between him and the heroine who has to be rescued from the bad guy.  You know what to expect but that isn’t always a bad thing.  Sometimes you are just in the mood for a certain type of book and Ms. Frost constantly delivers an exciting steamy read.

Not a lot more to say being it was so short.  I enjoyed it and if you ever need to kill three hours then this would be a great audiobook to pick for you!

My Rating: Three Stars

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Book Review

 


Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)Book Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Book Series: Kate Daniels #1

Released: 4/1/2007 by Ace

Pages: 260  Price: $7.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed the audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic…

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

My Review:

No, just no.  This book was not for me.  I like my supernatural/paranormal creatures to be the ‘good guys’, not monsters and especially not creepy monsters.  I am also not into this whole zombie or necromancer theme.  This book reminded me a lot of the Anita Blake series and while I stuck that one out for like five books this is where I leave this world.  I know it will not work for me no matter how long I stick it out.

I know that this is a popular series with many of you so please no hate mail but I just don’t get the appeal.  I don’t mind gritty but this was disturbing in places near the end.  I actually ended up DNFing the book but am counting it since I listened to all but an hour of it.  I just didn’t care and the plot kept getting increasingly more twisted and dark.  So I decided to tap out.

The main character also rubbed me the wrong way.  I just couldn’t get behind her in the plot.  She was too self-deprecating at times which I find super annoying.  One of my bookish turn offs is characters that don’t like themselves. She also felt like she had a chip on her shoulder much of the time.   I will tolerate it for a few books usually but throw in the creepy factor on top and I’m done.

If you are a fan of the Anita Blake series than this one will probably be right up your alley.  For me there just isn’t anything I enjoyed enough to finish the first book or bring me back for another.

My Rating:1 Star

Sleeping Giant by Sylvain Neuvel

Book Review

 


Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Audio Book

Book Series: Themis Files #1

Released: 4/26/16 by Del Rey

Pages:304  Price: $26.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.  

 

 

Book Synopsis:

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

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian, told in interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by a quest for truth—and a fight for control of earthshaking power.

My Review:

This is actually my second attempt at this book.  I was approved for an Arc when it was released last year and DNF the book because I found it too dry.  The story is made up of a bunch of case files recounting events of the plot after they had happened.  Just not something I could get into in print.  Now the audiobook is a whole other matter and the actors narrating the story made all the difference.  This version I could get into and was able to finish the book. I even think I’ll stick around for book two.

The book was a little slow to start with most of the action happening in the past tense.  The classified documents only giving small glimpses of what is happening through interviews and debriefing.  I think the book could have worked better for me if it had been more action as the events unfolded with a few case files mixed in with background information.  However, when listening to the book the actors do a great job of animating the story and giving perspective and life to the story through the emotion that comes through in their voice.  They truly saved this book for me.  Livened up what was a pretty dry read in print.  I applaud the choice of having a different actor for each character in the story.

Once I was able to get past my hang-ups the story is quite enthralling.  Space, aliens, mystery, secret government agencies, drama, mad scientists.  This story had quite a bit going for it I just wish it hadn’t all been told past-tense.  I will continue with the next book has its hooks in me and I want to see how things play out.  I will probably stick to the audio format.  If you struggled with this book like I had I highly suggest giving the audiobook a try before giving up completely.  It really does help give life to the plot.

My Rating:4 Stars

Prince Charming Doesn’t Live Here by Christine Warren

Book Review

 


Prince Charming Doesn't Live Here (The Others #3)Book Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Audiobook, 

Book Series: The Others #3

Released: 11/2/10

Pages:368  Price: $7.99 by St. Martin’s Press

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Danice Carter is not one for glass slippers. A stilettos-wearing lawyer at one of Manhattan’s most elite establishments, Danice has a very strong grip on reality. So when she’s asked by one the firm’s founding partners to take on a personal case, Danice knows she’s in for the opportunity of a lifetime. All she has to do is convince her top boss’s granddaughter, Rosemary, to file a paternity suit. Sounds simple enough…until Danice arrives at Rosemary’s home and is pounced on by a handsome stranger.

Private investigator McIntyre Callahan’s was only following his powerful client’s orders: Find Rosemary—at all costs. Instead, he’s found a super-hot lawyer prowling around looking for answers he can’t give. The half-human, half-Fae Mac tries to warn Danice that she’s way in over her head—that Rosemary may roam among The Others, and may have dangerous ties to the Unseelie Court—but she won’t be deterred. Even if that means following Mac to the ends of the earth to find Rosemary… or surrendering to his supernatural powers of temptation… until death do they part.

My Review:

I think I’m done.  This is the last book offered through my library in audio format but beyond that, I’m done with series.  It just isn’t working for me and it is time to move on. I have about an hour left to listen to in this book and I don’t even want to finish it.

Most of my problem with this book in the series has to do with that the plot revolves around the Fae.  I’ve never been a fan of the Fae in paranormal stories.  Most of the time they tend to be shallow, easily offended, and only out for themselves.  None of these characteristics describe a race of beings that I want to spend any time with.  Essentially they are the mean girls of the paranormal world.  The plot was also pretty weak and the point I’m at currently makes me want to smack all the characters and tell them to grow up.  Danice needs to get over herself.  Mac is just not all that charismatic and the granddaughter is a spoiled brat.  Ugh.  Why am I listening to this?

I’m just not thrilled with this world.  It focuses too much on the sex and too little on the plot.  So I’m done.

My Rating:1 Star

By Blood by Ellen Ullman

Book Review

 


By BloodBook Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery

Book Series: N/A

Released: 2/24/2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Pages: 378 Price: $16.00 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

San Francisco in the 1970s. Free love has given way to radical feminism, psychedelic ecstasy to hard-edged gloom. The Zodiac Killer stalks the streets. A disgraced professor takes an office in a downtown tower to plot his return. But the walls are thin and he’s distracted by voices from next door—his neighbor is a psychologist, and one of her patients dislikes the hum of the white-noise machine. And so he begins to hear about the patient’s troubles with her female lover, her conflicts with her adoptive, avowedly WASP family, and her quest to track down her birth mother. The professor is not just absorbed but enraptured. And the further he is pulled into the patient’s recounting of her dramas—and the most profound questions of her own identity—the more he needs the story to move forward.

The patient’s questions about her birth family have led her to a Catholic charity that trafficked freshly baptized orphans out of Germany after World War II. But confronted with this new self— “I have no idea what it means to say ‘I’m a Jew’”—the patient finds her search stalled. Armed with the few details he’s gleaned, the professor takes up the quest and quickly finds the patient’s mother in records from a German displaced-persons camp. But he can’t let on that he’s been eavesdropping, so he mocks up a reply from an adoption agency the patient has contacted and drops it in the mail. Through the wall, he hears how his dear patient is energized by the news, and so is he. He unearths more clues and invests more and more in this secret, fraught, triangular relationship: himself, the patient, and her therapist, who is herself German. His research leads them deep into the history of displaced-persons camps, of postwar Zionism, and—most troubling of all—of the Nazi Lebensborn program.With ferocious intelligence and an enthralling, magnetic prose, Ellen Ullman weaves a dark and brilliant, intensely personal novel that feels as big and timeless as it is sharp and timely. It is an ambitious work that establishes her as a major writer.

My Review:

Another full disclosure time. I picked this book because the author’s last name began with a U.  I only need an author with an X to have read a book by an author of every letter in the alphabet.  Feel free to give me your recommendations below.   Now for the review.

I’m not usually a fan of historical fiction.  I’m also not usually one to read about the Holocaust.  Not that I am a denier or have anything but the deepest respect for the suffering that people went through.  I simply tend to be a sensitive person and I have trouble separating myself from the fiction I read.  I get emotionally distraught and it affects my mood and how I behave towards those around me.  So I tend to stay away from topics that could upset me.  Not the correct behavior I know but it is the approach I take in reading.  Life sucks why would I want to read about more suffering.  Still, I selected this book from my library because it sounded interesting and filled a reading requirement I needed.

I’m so glad I did.  This book captivated me.  Much like the narrator of the story, I became obsessed with the life the patient was revealing to her therapist.   I guess I am a bit of a voyeur too.  It was a bit of a strange read, however, and I get some of the criticism that has been posted in other reviews.  I almost find myself dividing the book into two different plots.  One plot thread revolved around the therapist and her patient and the other was the professor and his odd circumstance.    The eavesdropping on the therapist and patient being the more compelling plot.

So let’s deal with the professor first.  He needs help.  Serious help.  I can see why he was put on leave and was described as creepy.  It is exactly what he is, creepy.  Some say that his purpose was not well-defined but I disagree.  I think he probably got in trouble for sexually harassing a student and the institution he works for wanted him to disappear for a few months in hopes that the drama he stirred up would be forgotten or blow over.  While I did find him creepy I have to say I did not totally despise him.  I almost feel bad for him as I truly feel he needs help before he hurts someone.  Or it could be that I feel a tad guilty knowing I have become as obsessed with the patient’s story as he has.

Now for the therapist and her client.  This was a moving story and the sole reason I’m glad I listen to this book.  The patient’s story is that of a young woman in search of her identity.  Like many of us, she did not feel like she fit in and desperately needed to connect with her origins to make sense of the life she now leads.  What she learns is not pleasant and logically speaking should hold no reflection on who she is as a person but I can not say I would feel differently if I was in her shoes.  This part of the story is so worth wading through the creepy professor parts.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Aurora CV-01 by Ryk Brown

Book Review

 


Aurora: CV-01 (The Frontiers Saga #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Audiobook

Book Series: The Frontiers Saga #1:Part 1

Released: 12/19/2011 by Tantor Media

Pages: 301 Price: $29.99 Audiobook

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A world recovering from a devastating plague…
A brutal enemy threatening invasion…
A young man seeking to escape the shadow of his father…
A ship manned by a crew of fresh academy graduates…
A top-secret experimental propulsion system…
A questionable alliance with a mysterious green-eyed woman…

What destiny has in store for the crew of the UES Aurora, is far greater than any of them could ever imagine. And this is only the beginning…

“Aurora: CV-01” is 77,000 word novel, and is Episode 1 of The Frontiers Saga.

My Review:

This was a fun audiobook that I borrowed from my library.  After reading some of the other reviews I have to agree with some of the criticism that yes, it is pretty much a Star Trek rip-off.  Maybe not blatantly but the similarities are hard to deny.  But so what.  It is still an action-packed well plotted read that brought me several hours of enjoyment.

Took me a moment to realize this book was set in the extreme far future after most of humanity had been wiped from existence.  After I caught on to that it surprised me just how familiar this society felt to our own, with the exception of space travel that is.  While entertaining the plot was pretty convenient at times as the author set all his characters into place for the longer story arch.  For me it was easy to overlook because when hasn’t a character been in the right place at the right time in works of fiction.

The characters were diverse and likable I would have enjoyed seeing where some of the relationships led towards.  I would have also liked to learn more about what happen to Earth in the past as well as the other colonies that were talked about.  But I’m afraid this is where I leave this universe.

While I truly enjoyed this book it is the only one available through my library so I will not be continuing on because with so many parts out (19), and yet to come (75 total!), this series is simply too expensive for me to continue with… I have suggested my library purchase the next three parts but it is highly unlikely that will happen.  Makes me kind of wish I had looked into the series availability before I borrowed it. I would have skipped it had I know how difficult and costly getting my hands on future parts would be.  Oh, well.  Live and learn.

My Rating:4 Stars

Spock Vs Q: The Sequel by Cecilia Fannon

Book Review

 


Spock Vs Q: The Sequel (Star Trek: Spock Vs. Q, #2)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Audiobook, Media Tie-In

Book Series: Star Trek

Released: 12/1/2000 by Simon & Schuster Audio

Pages: 1 Hour Price: Unknown

Links:  Goodreads,

Source: I borrowed this from my library

Book Synopsis:

Following their debate over the fate of mankind, Spock and Q have continued their discussions over a meal. After dining, the two return to the stage to recount their repast, which included encounters with several of Spock’s former shipmates.
However, at the moment the two verbal sparring partners shake hands, a power surge places them in total darkness. Suddenly, Spock and Q are no longer on stage, but somewhere in deep space.
As they struggle to determine what has happened, a curious personality change takes hold. Spock is overcome with giddy delight. Q is much more serious, even…logical.
Masterfully performed by Leonard Nimoy and John de Lancie, Star Trek® Spock vs. Q: The Sequel is a fascinating and often hilarious role reversal that reveals previously unknown sides of Spock and Q. It is a program so original it could only come from Alien Voices®

My Review:

Another fun recording featuring my two favorite Star Trek characters.  This one takes a bit of a twist in that they must now answer for their actions in the previous recording.  Their punishment is to switch personalities. While it was fascinating and highly entertaining to listen to a straight-laced Q and  a flippant Spock I have to say the first performance was better.  This one made me uncomfortable at times but it was still worth a listen.  If you are a Trekkie and love these two as much as I do then you should most definitely give this one a listen. It still managed to make me laugh out loud and had me smiling for the entire hour.  I just wish I could have been there to see this performed I bet it was out of this world.  LLAP

My Rating:3 Stars

2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

Book Review

 


2 A.M. at The Cat's PajamasBook Genre: Contemporary Fiction, audiobook

Book Series: N/A

Released: 8/5/14 by Crown

Pages: 272 Price: $25.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, precocious nine-year-old and an aspiring jazz singer. As she mourns the recent death of her mother, she doesn’t realize that on Christmas Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia’s legendary jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat’s Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it.

As these three lost souls search for love, music and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia, together they will discover life’s endless possibilities over the course of one magical night. A vivacious, charming and moving debut, 2 Am At The Cat’s Pajamas will capture your heart and have you laughing out loud.

My Review:

This was an interesting little story.  Not quite sure what I thought of it.  It was an audiobook selection for me and those tend to be books I wouldn’t normally read due to limited selection through the library system. So I’m sitting here wondering how to review this story…

It was sweet and clever and sad and funny all at different parts.  It had me laughing at one moment and feeling awkward the next.  The story was difficult to follow at times thanks to flashbacks into the character’s past.  We follow Madeleine through much of the story but also delve into the history of supporting characters.

I like the idea of following a set of character’s over the span of a day and watch how their lives cross and intertwine but at times this one got to be a bit confusing as we would move back and forth in time throughout the day depending on who we were dealing with at the moment.  I think it might have been less confusing if I had been reading it instead of listening because I sometimes lose focus on the story as I concentrate on whatever chore I am working on.

Basically, it is a sweet story that I don’t regret listening to but never got terribly excited about. But then it isn’t a typical read for me.  If you are big into contemporary fiction revolving around music then this one will probably be one you enjoy.  If you like smart-ass characters then you might also enjoy this story.  That was the part that I enjoyed the most.

My Rating:3 Stars