Archive for April, 2014


extinctExtinct by Charles Wilson

Published May 15th, 1997 by St. Martin’s.

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Books a Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

From the Gulf of Mexico’s warm shallow waters…to the deepest parts of the Pacific…terror comes to the surface…

Six-year-old Paul Haines watches as two older boys dive into a coastal river…and don’t come up. His mother, Carolyn, a charter boat captain on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, finds herself embroiled in the tragedy to an extent she could never have imagined.

Carolyn joins the marine biologist Alan Freeman in the hunt for a creature that is terrorizing the waters along the Gulf Coast. But neither of them could have envisioned exactly what kind of danger they are facing.

Yet one man, Admiral Vandiver, does know what this creature is, and how it has come into the shallows. And his secret obsession with it will force him, as well as Paul, Carolyn and Alan, into a race against time…and a race toward death.

 

Rating: 1 star

 

Review:

This book was a serious letdown. I was told that it was different from other books in the “giant shark killing people” genre. But it’s not. It is exactly the same as every other book on the subject out there, but with even more confusion and irritation.

Let me start off with a bit of a rant. I NEVER EVER EEEEVVVVVEEERR want to see any of the following in a monster megalodon shark killing people book/movie again:

 

1. A story about the megamouth shark or coelacanth. Anybody who has ever read a single one of these stories knows those stories already! We already know about how the coelcanth was thought extinct for millions of years until one was caught in 1938. I could recite the story for you word for word with the amount of times I’ve heard it in these books. And we already know that the megamouth shark wasn’t even known to exist until 1976, and so the existence of one giant shark without anyone knowing means it’s possible for the megalodon too. I KNOW THESE THINGS, STOP TELLING ME!

2. Also, can we please stop telling the story of the shark attacks on the Jersey shore in 1916. First, I know the story like the back of my hand. But also, can we please stop saying that it was a great white shark that was responsible. Some of the attacks took place in a river. The only shark known to mankind who can survive in rivers is the bull shark. The attack pattern fits a bull shark. Most scientists have been split more than 20 years ago that it was not a white shark but a bull shark, even though officially the attacks are still recorded as white shark attacks. But seriously, stop it already.

3. I realize the the Marianas Trench is a fabulous place to say that a 100 foot long shark has been hiding for millions of years, and that’s a find theory. However, then the shark comes back to shallow water and hasn’t evolved in the last however many years to reflect their new environment? They still have exactly the same coloring as a great white, which is a shallow water predator. But I have a feeling that over many millions of years spent in deep trenches with no light, these predators would have changed and evolved their coloring and hunting patterns. Why would they still need to be able to use their eyes for sight? Living in the Marianas Trench they would have no need for sight. Why would they still have dual coloring, they don’t need to disguise themselves from prey because there is no light for their prey to see them.

4. Please please please stop giving killer sharks families that they go on revenge sprees for! Sharks do not have families. Sharks do not have mates. Sharks do not care for their babies. They get pregnant (often violently) and then they give birth and the babies are on their own. Expecting me to believe that a whole family of sharks is out there and getting revenge when one of them is killed is so laughable. Two second on Google would tell you that it was stupid and ludicrous.

 

Alright, now that I’ve had my little rant, lets move on to the flaws in the writing of this book:

 

1. I did not know until 200 pages into this crappy book that it actually was taking place in different places, Florida and Mississippi. That is not the mark of a good author. I thought they were in Florida and all of a sudden someone mentions Mississippi and I had no idea where that came from.

2. I have the ability to suspend my disbelief a great deal, but I couldn’t with this. There was two 25-foot megalodons, one 50 foot megalodon, and two 200-foot megalodons….but they only manage to eat about 10 people total. What the fuck is up with that? And why are these mega-predators eating scrawny bony little humans when there are whales and seals to be had? And if these sharks had so much food to eat in the depths, why come to the surface at all? Again, no logical sense made.

3. Switching between different character POVs literally every 4 paragraphs is not an effective way to tell a story. All it did was confuse me. It took me almost the whole book to figure out who all the characters were because I never spent more than a page with any of them. Boring, and annoying.

 

If I want a giant killer shark book that is at least funny in its stupidity I’ll go back to the MEG series, because this sucked.

 

marrows pitMarrow’s Pit by Keith Deininger

Published March 11th, 2014 by DarkFuse

Buy this story at: Amazon

 

Rating: 1 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you DarkFuse!

 

I have some problems with this short story. Actually a lot of problems. But my biggest one is that I’m fairly certain this story is a ripoff of another short story, The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster. Let me just show you what I mean.

Here is the synopsis for Marrow’s Pit:

 

Built to encompass the entire range of lifeless mountains, it had always, relentlessly, clanked on and on. Within, vast halls and endless corridors were filled with the sounds of metal on metal, with hissing steam, with squealing gears. In the eyes of its citizens, it was sacred, deified, omniscient. Enshrined in their mythology for innumerable generations, it had gone by countless designations, but its truest name was perhaps its plainest: the Machine.

For Ballard, the Machine is a place of tedium, and ignorance, and cruelty. He sees little use in his mundane job and secretly questions the purpose of the Machine. When tragedy strikes, Ballard is forced to embark on a paranoid journey that will take him outside of the Machine, and everything he’s ever known, over the edge into darkness, past the point of no return…toward the blackness known as Marrow’s Pit.

 

And here is the synopsis for The Machine Stops:

 

The story describes a world in which most of the human population has lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth. Each individual now lives in isolation below ground in a standard ‘cell’, with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. Travel is permitted but unpopular and rarely necessary. Communication is made via a kind of instant messaging/video conferencing machine called the speaking apparatus, with which people conduct their only activity, the sharing of ideas and knowledge. The two main characters, Vashti and her son Kuno, live on opposite sides of the world. Vashti is content with her life, which, like most inhabitants of the world, she spends producing and endlessly discussing secondhand ‘ideas’. Kuno, however, is a sensualist and a rebel. He persuades a reluctant Vashti to endure the journey (and the resultant unwelcome personal interaction) to his cell. There, he tells her of his disenchantment with the sanitised, mechanical world. He confides to her that he has visited the surface of the Earth without permission and that he saw other humans living outside the world of the Machine. However, the Machine recaptured him, and he has been threatened with ‘Homelessness’, that is, expulsion from the underground environment and presumed death. Vashti, however, dismisses her son’s concerns as dangerous madness and returns to her part of the world.

 

Is it just me or do those two things sound like the exact same story? Yeah, it did to me too. But The Machine Stops did it better.

This could have been more appropriately titled, Desperate Househusbands or a Lifetime Movie called The Cheating Wife. That’s all we hear about. The Machine and Marrow’s Pit are hardly discussed at all. It is never pointed out how Ballard’s tragic mistake is uncovered by the general populace, only that it is. We are never told about why his life is so unsatisfactory, or why that’s the Machine’s fault, but it is. We spend most of the time with Ballard running around having visions of his wife, hearing her voice in his head, and generally being terrified of everything. It was boring.

I cannot recommend this book. Go read The Machine Stops, it is a much better story.

 

of monsters and madnessOf Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

Expected Publication: September 9th, 2014 by EgmontUSA

Pre-Order this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books a Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

A romantic, historical retelling of classic Gothic horror featuring Edgar Allan Poe and his character Annabel Lee, from a New York Times best-selling author.

Summoned to her father’s home in 1820’s Philadelphia, a girl finds herself in the midst of a rash of gruesome murders in which he might be implicated. She is torn romantically between her father’s assistants-one kind and proper, one mysterious and brooding-who share a dark secret and may have more to do with the violent events than they’re letting on.

 

 

Rating: 3 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you EgmontUSA!

 

This book left me feeling very lukewarm. And a bit confused. But let me explain….

When I first read the synopsis of this book, I was intrigued. I am a Poe fan, but I wouldn’t call myself a purist. I was promised a “historical retelling of Gothic horror.” I got a lot of gothic, not a lot of horror. And not exactly a retelling of Poe, unless you count random snippets from his works and a story about how he was inspired. I quickly discovered just what kind of retelling we were dealing with…and frankly it would be obvious to anyone with a brain.

The setting of this novel was exactly what I expected. A dark, dank, gothic Philadelphia complete with thunderstorms to set this mood. I loved this way more than I should have. I was all set for a horrific tale of Edgar Allen Poe! That was not exactly what I ended up with.

Annabel was not a bad character, she was just boring. She was infinitely nice and sweet. But that was about all of the substance that she had. She should have been amazing. She had an interest in medicine, she has scars that she is not entirely clear what they are from, she is living in a new country far from home. How did she end up so unbearably dull?

Apart from that, not much happened. And I do mean that literally. There is a serial killer, and we quickly learn who that is. There are murders but there’s really only one or two “graphic” scenes and they really weren’t that good. I got much bigger heebiejeebies from scenes in Unwind or The Madman’s Daughter. This just paled in comparison.

Now for my biggest issue with this book, the ending. Actually I don’t even think I can call it an ending. It was just starting to get exciting! We were approaching the pinnacle of the plot! The climax of the story! And then I was at the last page….I don’t even understand it. What happened to the second half of the story? After the climax there is supposed to be a resolution! I was denied a resolution! Why was I denied a resolution!?

On a side note, kimonos don’t come from Thailand, two seconds on Google told me that. Also  Annabel kept describing her kimono in ways that made me think of a shawl that wrapped around her shoulders, so I am not even sure it was a kimono.

Overall I enjoyed the story, though it was a little dull. And I was set to give it four stars, but then the ending happened and I just can’t forgive that. Still enjoyable but the ending left me feeling cold.

tabula rosaTabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin

Expected publication: September 23rd, 2014 by EgmontUSA

Pre-order this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books A Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this heart-pounding debut.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah has a rare chance at a new life. Or so the doctors tell her. She’s been undergoing a cutting-edge procedure that will render her a tabula rasa—a blank slate. Memory by memory her troubled past is being taken away.

But when her final surgery is interrupted and a team of elite soldiers invades the isolated hospital under cover of a massive blizzard, her fresh start could be her end.

Navigating familiar halls that have become a dangerous maze with the help of a teen computer hacker who’s trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, Sarah starts to piece together who she is and why someone would want her erased. And she won’t be silenced again.

A high-stakes thriller featuring a non-stop race for survival and a smart heroine who will risk everything, Tabula Rasa is, in short, unforgettable.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence by opinions in any way. Thank you EgmontUSA!

 

I must say that I really loved this book. I had a droolfest over the cover when I saw it the first time. I read the synopsis and drooled some more. And then I got the ARC and just about had a happiness seizure. Ask my hubby, he remembers that day. It was not perfect however, but the faults were minor at best.

The book opens with Sarah being prepared for surgery on her brain. They go through all the details, keeping her head still, running her through a few memory exercises, making sure she isn’t cold. They get prepared for the surgery and….the lights go out. In that short moment, someone presses something into Sarah’s palm and then her surgery is called off. At first she is annoyed. This was her final surgery. After this she was going to get a new life! Be a blank slate! And it all got postponed. But when she looks at what was in her hand, all of it changes.

The most fascinating thing about this book is that we know as little about the world Sarah lives in as she does. We don’t know if she was a victim of a horrible crime or the perpetrator or something else entirely, and neither does she. She only knows what she’s been told. After this she’ll have a new life and she shouldn’t ask too many questions about her old life because it might undo what the surgeons have tried to fix. That made for a great journey as a reader.

As far as the action sequences went, I had no complaints. I felt they were well written and engaging. This book gave me someone to root for, which I think is always necessary. But I did feel that we spent too long on one particular aspect of the plot when we could have been exploring what was hidden in Sarah’s brain. The romance was unnecessary but it didn’t come off too strong so in the end I didn’t mind too much.

My only real problem with this book was the ending. It just was sooooooooo sappy and sweet, I think I got a cavity honestly. Compared to the rest of that book being dark, foreboding, action packed, and occasionally funny the ending was sickly. It was a nice enough ending but it clashed with the rest of the book.

 

Review: Chance by Kem Nunn

chance Chance by Kem Nunn

Published February 18th, 2014 by Scribner

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository / Books a Million

 

Synopsis:

In an intense tale of psychological suspense, a San Francisco psychiatrist becomes sexually involved with a female patient who suffers from multiple personality disorder, and whose pathological ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective—from a Los Angeles Times Book Prize-winning author.Dr. Eldon Chance is a brilliant, lonely, forensic neuropsychologist with a long track record of getting involved with damaged, complicated women. While apartment hunting after separating from his wife, a series of bad decisions leads to Chance sleeping with a patient named Jaclyn Blackstone. Unfortunately her ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective and the jealous type. Meanwhile, Dr. Chance meets a young man who goes by “D”; Chance believes he is a war-veteran, but he is in fact a deranged loner and self-styled Samurai skilled in the art of the blade. D is fascinated by Chance’s tales of his tormented and increasingly dangerous affair with Jaclyn and advises him that her ex-husband will find a way to destroy Chance.

As Detective Blackstone does indeed threaten the doctor, Chance and D plan a counter-strike. Meanwhile Chance continues his steamy affair with Jaclyn Blackstone (or is it one of her multiple personalities?) But the sexually voracious “Jackie Black” has a story that is far more complex and darker than he could have ever imagined…

Gritty, twisted, and impossible to put down, the surprises keep coming in Chance until the final page has been turned.

 

Rating: 1 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Scribner!

 

I feel so deceived by this book, it is a classic case of false advertising. So for my review, I will go through the synopsis sentence by sentence and tell you how it was a lie.

 

 

In an intense tale of psychological suspense, a San Francisco psychiatrist becomes sexually involved with a female patient who suffers from multiple personality disorder, and whose pathological ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective

 

First, that sentence is just too long, 33 words for one sentence. But anyway. Yes, the psychiatrist does sleep with a female patient, twice in the entire book. But it is not really his patient like the sentence implies. He sees her one time before referring her to another therapist. That’s the extent of their relationship until the doctor crosses every professional boundary there is to intentionally inject himself into her life. And ex-husband is subjective because they are still married but separated.

 

 

Dr. Eldon Chance is a brilliant, lonely, forensic neuropsychologist with a long track record of getting involved with damaged, complicated women.

 

I can’t really say whether Chance is lonely or not, all we hear about is his bitch of a soon to be ex-wife, his furniture and his obsession with Jaclyn. And I definitely wouldn’t call him brilliant because he violates the tenets of his profession in such a way as to potentially lose his license forever, puts himself in the line of fire of a maniac, and then commits several crimes. Sounds like something of an idiot actually. And if a track record can be made with a whole two instances over a lifetime, then sure he has a track record. But personally I think twice every does not really a pattern make.

 

While apartment hunting after separating from his wife, a series of bad decisions leads to Chance sleeping with a patient named Jaclyn Blackstone.

 

Apartment hunting…..sort of. He talks a lot about apartment hunting, but he doesn’t actually do it until about 300 pages in.

 

 

Unfortunately her ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective and the jealous type.

 

Again, not an ex-husband….separated only. And Jaclyn claims he was horribly abusive and controlling, that’s just a tad bit different than jealous.

 

Meanwhile, Dr. Chance meets a young man who goes by “D”; Chance believes he is a war-veteran, but he is in fact a deranged loner and self-styled Samurai skilled in the art of the blade.

 

Because Dr. Chance is an idiot and just automatically believes everything that everyone tells him. Also he “meets” him when D creates pieces to attach to Chance’s furniture that will allow him to sell it as authentic instead of the duplicate that it is. We heard about that at length, for many chapters.

 

 

D is fascinated by Chance’s tales of his tormented and increasingly dangerous affair with Jaclyn and advises him that her ex-husband will find a way to destroy Chance.

 

Can you really call it an affair when they actually meet or speak less than 10 times, have sex only twice, and don’t really have any emotion toward each other except Chance’s obsession. Again, not an ex-husband, estranged husband.

 

 

As Detective Blackstone does indeed threaten the doctor, Chance and D plan a counter-strike.

 

Except that they have very little evidence that the detective has done anything except make a few veiled threats. So you have Crazy 1 and Crazy 2 plan to attack someone who hasn’t really done anything that they can prove. Great plan geniuses.

 

 

Meanwhile Chance continues his steamy affair with Jaclyn Blackstone (or is it one of her multiple personalities?)

 

Hardly steamy, the sex scenes were “fade to black…..so this is what happened during the time we didn’t see Chance. Vague details….vague details….his prostate is sore.” Wow, I am so turned on right now! /sarcasm  And who really cares if she has more than one personality, the author barely mentions it so why should it matter to me?

 

 

But the sexually voracious “Jackie Black” has a story that is far more complex and darker than he could have ever imagined…

 

Well….not really. Complex and dark if you imagine that she had a history that she didn’t tell Chance, to whom she spoke only a handful of times. Oh the horror! Also, this pissed me off. It implies that she is setting him up somehow, or has a larger plan at work than what she reveals, or is seducing him for some darker purpose. Except she isn’t. It’s exactly the way it appears to be.

 

 

Gritty, twisted, and impossible to put down, the surprises keep coming in Chance until the final page has been turned.

 

Gritty…not really, try boring and overloaded with details that don’t matter. Twisted, I guess so but only if we’re counting Chance’s psyche. Impossible to put down….actually I couldn’t wait to put it down. Surprises until the last page! The only surprise was that Chance got exactly what he wanted. The story ends and there are no repercussions at all for any of the bad choices he made. Gee, great, feel surprised? A HEA ending for a scumbag.