Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

Product DetailsI loved Dune and I, initially, had no idea that it was part of a series.  Once I did know it was a series, I thought it had been carried on by Frank Herbert's children - which is true of the later books - but the first three were written by Frank Herbert, himself.

This story picks up slightly after Dune left off.  Paul Atreides is now Imperial Emperor.  He sets himself up as heir to everything that he originally hated.   He is struggling to obtain an heir.  The Bene Gesserit want him to father a child with the Harrkonen princess Irulan.   Paul wants his love, Chani, to be the mother of the future.  

There's a lot of politics and philosophy in this book.  Maud'dib experiences much self doubt and reflection.  I love the questions that Herbert raises about cloning, souls,  and the very nature of Heroes and gods.  If you enjoyed Dune, this adds to the understanding of their characters but in some ways also muddies the waters.

I gave it three stars.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Product DetailsI loved in  a Dark, Dark Wood so much that I pre-ordered this title.

All I can say is,  it's difficult to believe that the books were written by the same person.   While both books rely upon an unreliable narrator, that is where the similarities end.

In this book,  Lo is a reporter for a travel magazine.   Because her boss is on maternity leave, Lo gets the opportunity that she has been waiting for - an exclusive cruise with the higher ups that she can interview and showcase on a cover story.

Just before Lo leaves for her trip, she is burglarized.  Don't ask me why this is relevant, let's just say that it sends her on an emotional and alcoholic bender from which it is difficult to recover.  Finally, she joins the crew and passengers of the Aurora Beorealis on it's maiden voyage.   Once there, she asks the woman in Cabin 10 if she can borrow her mascara.  

After a night of drinking, she hears a woman scream, a crash and a splash.   She becomes convinced that the woman next door has been thrown overboard.   She reports this to boat security, only to find out there is no woman in cabin 10.  Duh, duh. duh.......

I won't go in to the insanity that follows.  I can best describe it as this. 2/3 slugfest ( Slow...... slow.......S--------L---------O--------------------------------W)   followed by 1/3 insanity.  All three thirds were not my cup of tea.  If you liked the completely overrated The Girl on the Train then you will probably like this book too.  If you, like me, think that book was complete garbage, then you should probably avoid this book as well.  I gave it two stars and that was a gift.

I think this author is very talented but this book was just awful.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Product Details  I love stories about the Fae and this one really had a creative twist.  This is the story of Ivy,  a member of the Order that protects humanity from the Fae and helps to keep the doorways to the Otherworld firmly closed.   Lately though, there seems to be an increase in Fae activity in New Orleans and Ivy must get to the bottom of it. 

Enter Ren - a member of the Elite - a special branch of the Order from Colorado.  It's Ren's job to track down Ancient Fae - those who can not be killed with Iron.  He teams up with Ivy and discovers that the two of them have a rather remarkable chemistry.

Can they figure out what lies between them and save humanity?   Or are there just too many secrets they feel that they can not share?   This is a trilogy, of which currently only two books have been released.   I will read the other two books and I look forward to seeing how the conflicts will be resolved.  I have read other works by this author that I have also enjoyed.  If you enjoy books about the Fae or supernatural romance,  give this book a try.   Three stars.

Ignite by Sara J. Larson

Product Details  This is the second book in the Defy series.   Here we find Alex still standing by and protecting King Damien.  Their hard one peace is being attacked and together, they must find out who is really behind the onslaught.

I really enjoy Sara J. Maas's  books because she writes such strong female characters.  I love that Alex  is the head of Damien's guard.   She works hard to fight her feelings for him, in order to do what is right for herself and her country.  She is selfless, loving and brave - everything that a good heroine should be. 

The story moves the plot from book 1  ( Defy) onto book 3 (Endure)  therefore there is no real resolution to the conflict in this book.  It definitely leaves you hanging in a big way.  I look forward to the conclusion of the series.  I gave this one four stars.

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Product DetailsThis one has been on my TBR pile for some time and was part of this summer's Barnes and Noble lawsuit haul.  

This is the story about one summer in Minneapolis, 1961.   It was a summer of death and mystery.   Many things happen to many people.  Strange for a place that seems as if not much actually does happen there.  This is the story of Frank and his family.  His father is the local preacher.  His mother,  a talented musician who fell in love with a law student and ended up with a life much different than she anticipated.  His older sister, who shares his mother's musical gift, if off to Juilliard and his younger brother - a bit of a misfit with a stutter.

It's an ordinary book about an ordinary place and yet, really it is more than that.  I love when a book has a meaningful title and this one certainly does.   I would recommend it to a friend - particularly those who enjoy mysteries. 

I gave it four stars.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Product DetailsI found the cover intriguing and anyone who reads my blog knows that I have a weakness for YA novels.

This is the story of Elizabeth, aka Daisy.   She is sent by her father, from New York, to live with her Aunt and cousins in the UK.    The world appears to be on the brink of war, but far off in the English countryside, Daisy and her cousins seem largely unconcerned by the world's problems.  Her Aunt has to travel for work and is away when the bombs start to hit.  Although the countryside remains largely unaffected,  Daisy's Aunt is unable to make it home, leaving the children to their own devices.

The war in the story is very vague.  Who is the enemy?  Why are they fighting?   And the relationships are convoluted at best.   I thought that this story had a really interesting premise but I couldn't get past some of the issues that appear in the plot line.   Daisy and Poppy get separated from the others.   They belabor them getting back to the farm FOREVER and then, once that happens, the plot line skips entirely.   I was very disappointed in this one.  2 stars.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hyacinth Girls by Lauren Frankel

Product Details

Joyce and Rebecca were best friends growing up.  They shared everything until Joyce falls in love with Curtis.  Through a series of unforeseen circumstances,  Rebecca ends up raising Joyce and Curtis's little girl, Callie.

Like all mothers,  Rebecca wants to believe that Callie is perfect.  But what if she isn't?   One day while at work, she gets a phone call saying that there has been a bullying incident at school.   The principal and the teacher tell Rebecca that Callie has been bullying another girl.  Callie and her friends say it's the other way around.  Who is telling the truth?  What is really going on between the two girls?  

This book raises some great questions about the power of social media to negatively impact our lives and more importantly, do we really know our children??

I gave it 4 stars.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Product DetailsI needed to read a book about my heritage for one of the three book challenges I am doing.   I had never read anything by this author before.

The story seemed very realistic to me.  It's the story of a young girl who has difficulty finding accounting work in her native Ireland.  Her mother and her sister make plans with the village priest to send her to America.   She is sponsored by Father Flood and heads to Brooklyn.

It's 1950's America.  She ends up working at a department store and going to school at night.   She meets and falls in love with an Italian boy - something that wasn't really encouraged, especially in those times.

Even though the story doesn't have a lot of action, it is beautifully written and an accurate reflection of the times.   I gave it four stars.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Court of Nightfall by Karpov Kinrade

Product DetailsI loved the blurb for this book.  

You think you know what is right and what is wrong? Then tell me if this man should die. He is my enemy. He is to be my end.

He is the one I love.

I have spent my life in shades of grey. I have died and returned to a world of color. I have fought an Angel and lived. I have kissed the Prince of Ravens. I have faced the Lord of Night and made him kneel. I was accepted into the Four Orders, and I created the fifth. I freed the Shadow of Rome. I sat upon the Twilight Throne.

The man asks for my surrender. He asks for peace. He is too late. The girl he knew is gone, and death is in her place. I am Nightfall, and this is my story. You think you know it?

Think again.

This is the story of Scarlett - a normal girl of normal parents - or so she thought.   Her only oddity appears to be that she can't see in color and she so badly wants to fly - not just in a plane, but with her own wings!   Her best friend is Jaxson Lux.   Together, they meet two girls who are Zeniths.  Zeniths are people who have extraordinary powers because they are part Nephilim.  They are shunned and controlled by society.  

Scarlett grows up raised to believe that the way the Zeniths are treated is wrong.  This story is the culmination of what happens to those beliefs when they are challenged. 

It's a very creative story.  I look forward to reading the rest of the series. I gave it 3 stars.

Friday, August 5, 2016

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

So excited to present my summer 2016 reading list featuring some books I bought a year ago and still haven't gotten to.:    If you have read my blog for any length of time, then you already know that I am a HUGE Colleen Hoover fan.   Her books have all the feels and this one is no exception!  It was worth every minute of the wait....

This is the story of  Lily.   She grows up in a home that isn't always ideal and she forms opinions about her life and how it should be.   She has an intense teenage relationship with a boy that guides what she thinks love really is.   She moves to Boston and meets Ryle.  That's when things get confusing and complicated.

I don't want to give the plot of this one away.  Not at all.  I want you to read it for yourself because it is one of the most amazing books I have ever read - life changing.   It has a very important message - a message that every person needs to hear and internalize.  I love all of Ms. Hoover's books.... but this one?   This one is so far above all the others.   Real characters with real problems who do the best that they can.  I loved every minute of it.  If I could give it 20 stars I would.   It's THAT good.  If you haven't read it, stop reading this, and get your hands on it .  If you are wondering buy or borrow?   BUY!!!  You won't be sorry!   Once again, 5 stars for Ms. Hoover and a standing ovation, as well.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

  This just came out last week and I finished it last night.   Talk about a real mind bender.  Blake Crouch seems to have a real talent for it, perhaps that is why I love his writing so much.

This is the story of Jason.  A particle physicist who teaches at a local college.  He's married to the love of his life and together, they have a 15 year old son.   Jason has regrets about choices that he could have made regarding his work, but overall he is satisfied with his life.  One night, he goes to a party to congratulate a college friend on his latest career achievement.  On his way home, he is abducted at gun point, injected with some narcotic and wakes up in a world that does not belong to him.

Imagine that for every decision that you make in your life, another version of yourself - out there in the multiverse - has made a different decision.  The potential yous are endless.   Somewhere out there,  I went to law school.  Somewhere out there, I walked away from my husband.  Somewhere out there I never had a second child.   Someone told me once that the wishes that we make here in this life, are granted to another version of ourselves.  I like to think that's true and also, it makes me wonder why another version of me didn't wish for a pink, winged unicorn to ride to school?

I enjoy this author so much because he really makes you think.  I haven't had this much fun questioning why since Cloud Atlas.   Five out of five stars.