Book Review: Foe (Iain Reid)

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 6.28.17 PM.pngLately, I have really be interested in novels with a science fiction/dystopian type of spin, so, when I read the back of Foe, the newest release by Iain Reid, I decided to dive in immediately.  Luckily for me, Chelsea, from The Suspense Is Thrilling Me, was reading this one too!

The novel opens with the introduction of Junior and Hen, a quiet married couple, who are thrown for a loop when Junior is approached by a man who tells him he has been randomly selected to travel to space.

Random, right?

I had read this author’s previous novel was, truth be told, I wasn’t a huge fan.  I found the plot to be little bit confusing but, at the same time, I was unable to put it down.   Reid has a timeless effect to his writing and it reminds me of William Faulker or Flannery O’Conner; it reminds me of the classic gothic authors that I teach my classes.  His voice is strong and distinct and, regardless of how confusing I find some of the plot to be in his work, I really do find myself unable to put it down.

Worth the read?  I think so.  Especially if you are looking for a straightforward type of read.  It is written beautifully.

Book Review: The Clarity (Keith Thomas)

screen-shot-2018-02-28-at-8-44-58-pm.pngI don’t often read science fiction but I am a sucker for a medical thriller so when #cjsreads decided to read Clarity, by Keith Thomas, I was on board. Experimentation, conspiracies, past lives and “night doctors” collide to create a fast paced, action packed novel. Truly, I loved the concept but, in the end, I struggled with the execution.

Let me explain.

The novel opens with the introduction of several different characters including Matilda, a psychologist who specializes in memories and Ashanique, an eleven-year-old girl who has violent and traumatic memories of being in WWI. Right away, I was hooked. The “past lives phenomenon” thread moving throughout the plot was extremely interesting. I don’t know how I feel about this issue, or if I believe in it, but reading about it was fascinating! Especially the little bits of medical jargon and lectures that Matilda’s character brings to the plot.

However, what started to irk me with this novel was the delivery. For starters, several things had me a little bit confused. It took me a long time to figure out who each character was (once I understood the role of everyone it was fine) but it took about 30% of the plot for me to be able to identify the main character and the sub characters and acknowledge their roles. And, for me, after about 30% of the book completed, I wanted to be able to settle in and enjoy the story instead of trying to navigate characters.

Overall, an interesting and compelling read for conspiracy and sci-fi fans; perhaps I wasn’t the right reader!

2.5/5 stars.

Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for a digital copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

We read The Clarity for a #cjsreads pick; want to see what Jessica and Chandra thought of this one?  Keep reading to see!

Continue reading “Book Review: The Clarity (Keith Thomas)”

Book Review: Rolling in the Deep/Into the Drowning Deep (Mira Grant)

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I am a creature of habit, what can I say? I am continuously drawn to the same types of books with the same types of antagonists. I read serial killer thrillers and psychological thrillers by the bagful and relish in their twisty plots and realistic horror. So, imagine my surprise when one of the knockout books of the year for me came from Mira Grant and featured killer mermaids.

That’s right people. Killer. Mermaids.

Who knew?!

Chelsea (from The Suspense Is Thrilling Me) actually recommended this book and, I have to admit, I was a little hesitant to pick it up. I don’t generally read a lot of fantasy or science fiction and the premise of the book sort of seemed like a happy marriage of the two. As per Chelsea’s suggestions, I started with the novella prequel, Rolling in the Deep (am I the only one who reads this book title and instantly starts singing the song by Adele?) and, after a crazy time, I was finally able to obtain a copy (Thanks, Chandra!).

The prequel, Rolling in the Deep, opens with the introduction of Imagine Film Company, known for their “mockumentary” style films, as they head out into the great blue sea to create a film about mermaids.   As the ship sets out to create their “found footage” and “eyewitness accounts” for their film, the cast and crew find themselves in grave danger when they actually do discover something in the water. This only took me about an hour to read and I was completely hooked, I continuously messaged Chelsea as I was reading to comment on how REAL it felt. Although I knew I was reading a work of fiction, Grant does an amazing job with her narrative style of making you question your own logic. By the time I was finished, I was more than ready to jump into the first, full novel in the series.

Enter, Into the Drowning Deep. This novel can absolutely be read without having read the prequel (but I do think the prequel does an amazing job at setting the tone). The story opens seven years after the Atargatis was lost at sea and a new crew has been assembled to head back to the Marianas Trench to get to the bottom of the maritime tragedy (or hoax, to others).  This book was just as brilliant as its prequel. Fast-paced, intricately written and filled with chilling prose, I was on the edge of my seat and recommending this book to everyone who would listen!

I will not go into any true details because I do feel like you’d have to read it to appreciate it, but, I am pleased with the open-ended finale that leads me to believe that Grant will be providing me with another book in the series (please!!).

If you are looking for something different to add to your TBR pile, do not be turned off by the randomness of the plot, just trust Mira Grant and dive on it. You will not be disappointed.

5/5 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, the author and Netgalley for a digital copy of this novel.  It was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

Book Review: Gather the Daughters (Jennie Melamed)

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 2.53.59 PM.pngWhen I first read the synopsis for Gather the Daughters, the debut novel by Jennie Melamed, I was instantly intrigued. I am a sucker for anything that surrounds a cult or had any cult vibes, so, based on other reviews, I figured this would be right up my alley. Although this novel ended up being quite different from what I was expecting when I began, I ended up really enjoying Gather the Daughters.

Set on an isolated island, where ten men and their families built a society of controlled breeding and domination. Taking part in ritualistic behaviour, the daughters of the island take part in scenarios that drag them from adolescence into adulthood before their teenage years are over. However, after one daughter sees something she cannot forget, she must share it with the others and suffer the consequences. Told in alternating chapters between different daughters of the island, this dark debut will leave you disturbed and bewildered.

The first thing that stuck out to me was the tone of the novel. This one read like a mix between Lord of the Flies and the Handmaid’s Tale. I thought this was really interesting. The language choice of Melamed makes it feel like a classic and, due to the content of the novel, I felt like this was a really smart choice. It made the time period of the novel feel ambiguous and, I feel, it added another layer of unrest and eeriness to the text.
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Book Review: The Dark Net (Benjamin Percy) @Benjamin_Percy @HMHbooks

Screen Shot 2017-07-31 at 2.17.51 PM.pngWhen I first stumbled across The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy on a list of summer releases, it jumped right up to the top of my TBR pile and became one of my most anticipated reads for August. After reading a few other novels that discussed the dark net and the secret underbelly of the web, I couldn’t wait to dive into this one and creep myself out reading about this anonymous and criminal arena.

This book ended up being 100% completely different from what I was expecting.

The novel follows several characters: a young girl, Hannah, who is blind. She is being fitted for a high-tech visual prosthetic that is supposed to help her see. There is a journalist, Lela, who stumbles across a dark story that should have been kept hidden. There is Mike Juniper, a man who runs a homeless shelter to try and make up for the sins of his past and Derek, a hacker.   This random array of people comes together to try and fight literal demons that are hiding within the web.  Continue reading “Book Review: The Dark Net (Benjamin Percy) @Benjamin_Percy @HMHbooks”

Book Review: Area 62 (Michael R. Martin) @MRMartin_Author

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When Colin purchases an abandoned building near his home to expand his business, he is excited at his new venture. However, after speaking to those around him, he begins to hear stories of strange occurrences that happened there years before.   As he digs deeper and deeper into the past, he begins to uncover and awaken the darkest of government secrets. Area 62 by Michael R. Martin is dark, intricate and forces the reader to throw out anything they have been told.

The general plot of the book I loved. A man entering an abandoned space, creepy things begin to happen, and he uncovers a conspiracy.  As soon as the storyline became clear, I was intrigued. UFOs creep me out. I am not sure if I believe in them but I’m not taking any chances ya know?   However, as much as I loved the UFO aspect, there was a lot that was right over my head. There were several parts that were saturated with physics and technical sci-fi elements that I found myself skimming over until I could back to the actual plot.    Continue reading “Book Review: Area 62 (Michael R. Martin) @MRMartin_Author”

BOMG Book Review: Company Town (Madeline Ashby) @torbooks

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In the near, but distant future, Hwa is one of the last people in her community without any genetic or bio-engineered enhancements. Starting as a bodyguard in with the United Sex Workers of Canada and moving up the ranks as the personal bodyguard to the child of the wealthiest family around, Hwa is forced to question everything she knows when a series of interconnected murders begin to plague their community. Company Town, by Madeline Ashby, was an interesting read.

As a Canada Reads contender (and a choice for my book club), this novel intrigued me. I had heard so many things about this book, so, even though it was completely outside of my comfort zone, I purchased this book and dove in.

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Book Review: Change Agent (Daniel Suarez) @itsDanielSuarez @DuttonBooks

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 2.09.28 PMIn the year 2045, Kenneth Durand, an Interpol agent who leads a team against genetic crime, feels the sting of a needle and his transformation begins.   Durand finds himself identified by a cartel in charge of some of the most exclusive black market genetic labs and wakes up in the hospital, completely transformed as Interpol’s most wanted suspect. Now a fugitive, Durand must go deep into the underground world and evade police capture to try and retain his own DNA.

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Book Outside My Genre: Book Review- All Our Wrong Todays (@elanmastai @DuttonBooks)

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The future that people figured in the 1950s that we’d have? It happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, people ride around in flying cars and walk on moving sidewalks. Everyone works in laboratories and food never goes bad. Even though Tom lives in a utopia, he feels as if he cannot find his way. Through a hasty decision, Tom ends up in a time travel mishap and ends up in our 2016: the world that we know. Here, his career is different, his family is different and from his utopian background, this new reality feels like a dystopian wasteland. Torn between his desire to forge a new life in this new reality and fixing the flow of history, Tom finds himself on a search for answers to figure out what the future is truly supposed to be….
Continue reading “Book Outside My Genre: Book Review- All Our Wrong Todays (@elanmastai @DuttonBooks)”