7.21.2014

Review: Pines


Pines
Pines by Blake Crouch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I could not stop turning the pages on this one. I wanted something to shake up my reading weekend with something a little different to what I've been reading of late and this one truly delivered. I'd seen the book over the last couple years but I have to admit I passed it over time and again because the cover just didn't scream "read me now!". The series was featured in an Amazon science fiction newsletter and I took a closer look and decided that now was the time. I didn't have prior expectations and didn't read any reviews so I was very much surprised as I got deeper and deeper into the story. I had to know what Wayward Pines was! I was a little annoyed with Ethan for the first third of the book because it seemed it took him a while to decide to try to leave the town when he knew things were off and wrong. I was very little interested or taken with the portions that dealt with Teresa and his son but I did like how they were ultimately tied into the story. The tension held well as I read and I was not disappointed with the explanation. I knew before I finished the first that I needed to read the second so I bought that on my Kindle straightaway (to begin reading it later today). Now that I've the answer to what Wayward Pines is, I have to know more about what's happening outside it and I like how the setup was done for that.

I'd definitely recommend this if you're looking for a new scifi thriller series and also are the sort that like to series binge (I don't do it often but this one having a complete trilogy out right now was a huge perk for me). The writing lends it to a fast read; I did it in a day, so if you're so inclined and have the time you could likely work through the trilogy on a long weekend or on vacation.



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7.20.2014

Review: Bittersweet


Bittersweet
Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I was taken by the summary for this book and looked forward to reading it and now having finished it, I feel it was just an okay read. I liked it but didn't love it. I figured out fairly early on what one of the main Winslow secrets was and I didn't mind that at all. I think what held me back from really loving this book was Mabel as the narrator. I don't need to like a character but I do need to find them compelling and I found little in Mabel that was compelling. She was cloying and something of a manipulator so that even when those around her were revealed to be severely in lack of redeeming qualities, it really did nothing to make me take on care of her plight or point of view. She very much reminded me of the narrators of Alys, Always and & Sons the only difference I found was that she seemed less unreliable a narrator than they. I freely admit that I'm not much a fan of ingratiating climber types so it really takes a lot for such a character to win me over. In the end, the other nasty Winslow secret is resolved in a way that I found a little unsatisfying though tidy and Mabel does grasp and hold her brass ring and is granted becoming a Winslow. It made me hold her in no higher regard.

I'm glad I read this and I do think it was a good poolside or day at the beach book. I'd recommend it for fans of the the other books I mentioned here and also those who like twisted family tales with the outsider looking in and longing to be a part. It won't change your life but it's not a bad choice to pass a weekend and chat about on Monday morning.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



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7.09.2014

Review: Falling for Hamlet


Falling for Hamlet
Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I liked this and as re-imagined re-tellings go, it was pretty good. Hamlet's my favorite Shakespeare so I tend to expect a lot when I actually read a redo. I liked Ophelia's voice and thought it was neat to have an updated setting where everything played out. Media overload, paparazzo, cell phones and the consequences of having a life reduced down to soundbytes, voice mail messages and talk show gossip fodder was well done. I didn't very much like the chapters ending with the police investigation transcript (I didn't think they added a lot to the overall story) but they went by quickly enough. Oddly, I didn't feel terribly connected to Hamlet or his madness here but as Ophelia was the main character, I likely shouldn't have. The twist ending by which she lives and comes back to tell the tale was nice and I found that I even wanted her to go on and have happiness with Sebastian. Denmark seemed like a glittering backdrop but that may just have been the royal court swaying me. I'm glad I read this and it was a quick read so I'd definitely recommend it to fans of the original work who like re-imagined re-tellings.



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7.06.2014

Review: We Were Liars


We Were Liars
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I read this in a day so it's safe to say that I liked it and it was definitely a page turner or more correctly in my case, a screen tapper. I mostly decided to read it because I kept hearing that there was some secret and the ending had a huge twist. A huge twist that no one would divulge or talk about. So, as book buzz goes, this one not only got me curious enough to read it also delivered.

I won't spoil here but I will say that I the story pulled me right in and I thought Cadence, had a good voice. Unreliable narrators can be tricky but the author pulled this off well. The Sinclares were described in a way that rang true and the relationships between the father and the sisters and the sisters themselves, was one of the more interesting aspects of the story. The way they fought and sniped and were moved around as pawns was uncomfortable in its realness and the ease with which they drafted their children into the power grab was enough to make one shudder. And that's not even to say that their points of view weren't understandable. It made me glad that I'm an only child with parents of a different temperament. I can't say that I found Johnny a strong character and it wasn't until the book was almost over that I could recall his name. Mirren, was a bit more drawn and Gat was most well crafted of the group who comprised the Liars. Admittedly, I'm still not exactly sure why the quad were called the Liars on-island but that conflict doesn't ruin anything. I also liked Cadence's fairytale variations along the way. Finally, I thought the author did a fabulous job showing the clarity teens sometimes have on adults in their lives can be so on point but then take a turn, through youthful folly and arrogance, into rash, reckless actions and irrevocable ends. Well done.

I'd definitely recommend this book. It's great to read over the weekend (you likely won't need that long). Also, if you were one of the people who went to see M. Night Shyamalan's The Village and were put off by the twist at the end, you may want to skip this one.




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7.05.2014

Review: Robogenesis: A Novel


Robogenesis: A Novel
Robogenesis: A Novel by Daniel H. Wilson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I read this while under the weather so perhaps it was more depressing, gruesome and bleak than I normally would have taken it. That said, the setting is the apocalypse so it's not supposed to be unicorns pooping candy and sunshine. I liked the human-robot hybrid perspective and quite took to Lark and his point of view. The complexity of what to do with those now so changed and where the lines of humanity and robot were exactly, blurred a lot. I think this was my favorite aspect of the book overall. The question being posed over and over again as the two merged in different ways. There wasn't a lot of resolution here and I did feel that, as with many second or middle of series books, there was some meandering about in anticipation of things to come in the next. I did feel that overall, the pace of the story moved along well and there was plenty of well done action to be had. All things considered, I do look forward to reading the next in the series. I'd recommend this for sure if you're a scifi fan (whether you've read the first in the series or not) or are looking for a new apocalypse world in which to immerse yourself. I might not tote this one to the beach but it's a good read poolside over a weekend.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.



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