Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Book Review

 


Twilight (Twilight, #1)Book Genre: Romance, Paranormal, YA, Fantasy, Audiobook

Book Series: Twilight #1

Released: 9/6/06 by Little, Brown and Company

Pages: 498 Price: $19.99 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

Book Synopsis:

About three things I was absolutely positive.

First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.

And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

In the first book of the Twilight Saga, internationally bestselling author Stephenie Meyer introduces Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, a pair of star-crossed lovers whose forbidden relationship ripens against the backdrop of small-town suspicion and a mysterious coven of vampires. This is a love story with bite

My Review:

I was looking for an audiobook the other day and when this book kept coming up in the different searches I decided to revisit the world of Edward and Bella one last time.   And it will be the last time… I have such fond memories of this story and credit it too with much of my reading taste, paranormal books especially.  I thought it might be interesting to listen to the book instead of reading it myself.  I have to face facts though,  I’m simply over Twilight and revisiting this story again will simply ruin the memories of past enjoyment.

I still enjoyed the story, not so much the actress they had narrating, however.  It isn’t a complex story and I can see more of the faults that others pointed out in their critical reviews, points that were easier for a younger Amy to overlook.  I also found myself becoming confused over the plot differenced in the movie and the book.  I kept finding myself thinking oh wait that part was in the movie, not the book.  I did hear parts this time that I don’t remember reading, parts I must have glazed over while reading.

Twilight is still an enjoyable story about all the warm fuzzy feelings of falling in love for the first time with a beautiful boy.  I get the criticism and tend to agree how it isn’t a healthy example of a first relationship, but then again it is a story about vampires. Simply it is what it is and much credit should be given to a work of fiction that captured the imagination of millions of young and not-so-young women and had them clamoring for more.  Any book that gets people to read and talking deserves some respect.

So this is where I leave this world I used to play in.  I will remember you fondly Twilight.

My Rating: 3 Stars (for audiobook)

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The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Book Review

 


The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)Book Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian

Book Series: The Queen of the Tearling #1

Released: 7/8/14 by Harper

Pages: 448  Price: $26.99 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Her throne awaits . . . if she can live long enough to take it.

It was on her nineteenth birthday that the soldiers came for Kelsea Glynn. They’d come to escort her back to the place of her birth – and to ensure she survives long enough to be able to take possession of what is rightfully hers.

But like many nineteen-year-olds, Kelsea is unruly, has high principles and believes she knows better than her elders. Unlike many nineteen-year-olds, she is about to inherit a kingdom that is on its knees – corrupt, debauched and dangerous.

Kelsea will either become the most fearsome ruler the kingdom has ever known . . . or be dead within the week.

Combining thrilling adventure and action, dark magic, mystery and romance, The Queen of the Tearling is the debut of a born storyteller blessed with a startling imagination.

My Review:

I don’t remember why I put this book on my hold list at the library, the wait was so long I had forgotten.  After listening to the book, though, I’m really glad I did!  It was so good and kind of exactly what I was searching for recently reading-wise.  The book isn’t perfect but the plot did pull me in right away and kept me wanting to know more.  This title is tagged as YA on Goodreads and I’m not sure why as this is definitely an adult fiction book.  Dealing with subject matter that might be a bit sensitive for younger teens to read.

So let’s start with the negative and get that business out-of-the-way.  I found it truly annoying that the author felt the need to pound it into our heads every chance she got that the Kelsea was not a conventional beauty.  So what.  Mention her appearance one and be done with it.  She also had every man Kelsea came across in the beginning of the story be described as handsome and out of her league looks wise.  Enough of that shit.  The only saving grace in this gripe is that this plot point diminishes near the end of the book and the author has given up her obsession with the character’s appearances.

Okay, moving onto what I enjoyed about the book.  All the political and social and class commentary of society!!!  This is what made this book work for me.  It was a bit confusing in the beginning and it took me a bit to figure out that this is set in our world in the future in a newly discovered piece of land.  I think… The author could have done a better job of setting up the world in this regards. Then again maybe I would have understood it better had I been reading it rather than listening to it.   Anyway, there are bits of our world and culture that showed up at times and kept me wondering just where the Tearling was supposed to be located.  Might need to get my hands on a physical copy of the book to see if there are any maps inside.

This is also, at its heart, a story of good vs evil and I always love stories like this.  They give me hope that someday we can overcome the corruption in society.  Inspires me to fight for the greater good and with the current direction, our country is taking this is exactly what I need to read about to keep myself from becoming too depressed.

Bottom line this story isn’t perfect but it is good.  I liked the fire inside Kelsea with her strict moral code and sense of justice Kelsea is a strong female lead and a true hero.  I absolutely can not wait to hear the next two books in this trilogy!

My Rating: 4 Stars

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

Book Review

 


The ChemistBook Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Romance, Mystery, audiobook

Book Series: N/A

Released: 7/11/17 by Back Bay Books

Pages: 528 Price: $28.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. 

Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon. 

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous. 

Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of. 

In this tautly plotted novel, Meyer creates a fierce and fascinating new heroine with a very specialized skill set. And she shows once again why she’s one of the world’s bestselling authors. 

My Review:

After having to return this book to the library and wait for another shot at it I finally was able to finish listening to it this week.  I was a big fan of Meyer’s Twilight an The Host and waited for ages for her to publish another book.  By the time she got around to releasing this title I had moved on from the author and lost interest in her work.  I have changed as a reader and had planned on skipping this book.  Then I needed something to listen to so I decided to give the audiobook a chance.  I’m glad I did but once this story was done I think this might be the last time I pick up one of her works.

I didn’t hate the story but felt it started out stronger than it finished.  While quite a bit darker than Twilight it does share many of the same traits. The first thing that started to bother me about the story is the truly bad example of a relationship between the lead characters.  At the time I didn’t have a problem with Bella and Edward’s disturbing relationship tendencies that many people criticised it for, after all, vampires don’t exist, I was able to suspend reality and accept an unhealthy relationship.  This did not work for me in The Chemist.  When you remove the paranormal element I expect something different and a person falling for their torturer just isn’t acceptable to me.  Then there was the pacing, the beginning and end of the book were action packed but the middle had a whole lot of nothing with all the dry bits about the dogs and helping Daniel adjust to this new life.  It just fell flat and a little too much like YA romance that felt like it could have been taken out of Twilight.

What didn’t feel like her most well-known series felt too much like her second series (that ended with one book…) The Host.  I kept thinking while the characters traveled that it felt like scenes pulled right from that other book.  I wanted something new but, not trying to be harsh, that Ms. Meyers has a certain type of story she likes to tell and while the characters might change and the conflict might come from a different source these are essentially the same story rehashed to fit another genre.  First, it was a girl falling for a dangerous sparkly paranormal boy, followed by a tough boy falling for a less dangerous alien girl science fiction, and now a good boy falling for a deadly spy in a suspense thriller.  I enjoyed all of these books but want something new now and I just don’t think Ms. Meyer will deliver.

That’s okay.  This is what works for her, more power to her especially if people continue to want to read her stories.  I, however, am not one of them.  So this is where I will say thanks for everything and move on.  It was great while it lasted.  I would be curious to reread Twilight someday and see what I thought of the story now.  Or perhaps not…  Why ruin the fond memories I have of a book that opened up a whole world of reading to me.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Book Review

 


Astrophysics for People in a HurryBook Genre: Non-Fiction, Science, Audiobook, Physics

Book Series: N/A

Released: 5/2/17 by W.W. Norton

Pages: 222  Price: $18.95 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the book: Amazon Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Source: I borrowed this book from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist.

What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe. 

My Review:

Not quite sure why I put this on my library wish list.  Oh sure I like science fiction but this is science fact and quite frankly I’m not that smart.  Still, I’m a fan of smart people and have enjoyed this author’s cameos on some of my favorite shows like The Big Bang Theory.  I must have been drawn to the beautiful cover of this book and hoped that it wouldn’t be too far above my ability to understand.

Good news!  It wasn’t.  Thanks to some of my favorite shows for basing their plots on real science I did find myself familiar with much of the terms and ideas in this set of essays.  It also helped that Mr. Tyson does an excellent job of making the topics discussed in this book accessible to most people.

The author narrates the book as well in the audio format which was delightful and really made the dad humor come to life.  I found my self both chuckling and groaning while I listened to this fairly short book.  It was just under 4 hours long and I was able to finish it on a quiet morning before work.

There are also some great quotable lines in the book too.  Not to give too much away but these are some of my favorites: ” The Universe is under no Obligation to make sense to you“, “We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out” (this one really spoke to me today), and perhaps the most fun quote ” Yes, Einstein was a badass.

As someone who is disheartened with the anti-science tone that The United States is embracing politically and culturally, I simply loved this book.  It is exactly what I needed to give me hope that all is not lost in this country as long as scientists continue to pursue truth.  Hopefully, reason and science will once again reign in this country.  After all “The Power and beauty of physical laws is that they apply everywhere, whether or not you choose to believe in them.  In other words, after the law of physics, everything else is an opinion”.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Pack by Jeaniene Frost

Book Review

 


PackBook Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Short Story, Audio

Book Series: N/A

Released: 8/4/15 

Pages: 54  Price: $1.99

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: Amazon Pack

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

 Previously published in the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance and the Under Her Skin anthologies—now updated to include over 20% more sizzling extra material. 

Marlee isn’t alone in the woods. Daniel is sworn to keep the existence of werewolves a secret. Yet Marlee is awakening Daniel’s most primal urges, and soon, neither one of them will be able to resist the call of the wild.

My Review:

This was a short listen that I download for the drive to my doctor’s appointment on Monday.  Not used to shifter stories from Ms. Frost as she is more widely know for her Bones and Cat vampire series.  This was an enjoyable story felt that the heroine, Marlee, was a little on the weak damsel in distress side but she did have some steel backbone moments in there too.  I liked Daniel but wished we would have seen more of him.  I know it was a short story but it felt that he didn’t get enough page time but maybe that’s just because I liked him better.  I think my only real problem with this story is that it was too short.  This was an interesting world and I wanted to know more.  I wanted to dive into this society and learn how and why things worked.  I wanted to to the supporting character’s better.  Frost teased us with another character being interested in Marlee but it never developed into anything.  Oh well.  If you are in need of something short and sweet then I highly suggest giving this one a try the only disappointment you may face is that it is far too short.

My Rating: 4 Stars

The Rings of Haven by Ryk Brown

Book Review

 


The Rings of Haven (The Frontiers Saga #2)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Audiobook

Book Series: The Frontiers Saga part 1 #2

Released:  2/3/2012 by Ryk Brown

Pages: 241  Price: $2.99

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: Amazon  Ep.2 – “The Rings of Haven” (The Frontiers Saga)

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A ship stranded halfway across the galaxy. A difficult and lengthy journey home. A homeworld in urgent need of their return. And now they are running out of food.

The crew of the Aurora must now trust their new allies in order to survive. But their situation may be far more serious than they imagined. And their actions could have repercussions across the galaxy.

Their journey home may just have gotten slightly more complicated.

My Review:

I was surprised that my library actually purchased the second instalment of this series, there must be someone else that suggested the addition to their online catalog too.  I still don’t have high hopes that I will ever finish the series, as there is something like 19 parts and the only easy way to get a hold of them is an e-book through Amazon limiting their availability.

Took me a moment to piece together what happened in part one but once I remembered I did enjoy the story.  Not quite as much as the first but it is difficult to keep the action going in episodic fiction.  Sometimes you have a slower book than others, wherein a longer piece the slow parts are used to break up the action.  Sometimes when a story is released this way, in parts, you end up with a part that is simply all slow.

The story still feels a lot like an episode of Star Trek where the crew interacts with a potentially hostile new world after being marooned on the other side of the galaxy, Voyager anyone.  Don’t get me wrong I love that aspect of the story.  I would like to know more about what happened to humanity on Earth, we still get teased with the setback to the human race but I don’t feel like we were ever really explained what happened.  A couple more pieces were shared but the events still a great mystery to me.

Bottom line I still like the series.  The author is talented and tells a great science fiction space opera story.  If I get a chance to continue through my library I will but if not then I will probably let this one go.  The price is fair, but for so many parts $3 will add up quickly and prices this story right out of my affordability range.  If you have access to Kindle Unlimited, however, this story is one that you can read for free and would be a great option.

My Rating: 3 Stars

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Book Review

 


The Rosie Project (Don Tillman, #1)Book Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Humor

Book Series: Don Tillman #1

Released: 10/1/2013

Pages:297  Price$24.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: The Rosie Project: A Novel

Source: I borrowed the audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

My Review:

This is my second reading of this book if you wish to see the original review it is linked here.

My library is reading this book for a book talk and I decided to listen to the story this time instead of reading it. It was just as enjoyable the second time around as it was the first. After rereading my earlier review I do not see any changes I would make and stand by my earlier assessment. As to listening to the book vs reading it. The fact that the narrator speaks with an Aussie accent does add a fair bit of charm to the story but might be a bit of a struggle to those who have difficulty understanding accents, my husband for example. If that isn’t an issue for you then I recommend either version as both are enjoyable. Cute story.

My Rating: 4 Stars

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

Buy the Book: Amazon  Dark Matter: A Novel

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

Buy the Book: Amazon Waking Gods: Book 2 of The Themis Files

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