Tag Archive: 4 star


unorthodox  Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman

Published: January 1st, 2012

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

 

Synopsis:

The instant New York Times bestselling memoir of a young Jewish woman’s escape from a religious sect, in the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel and Carolyn Jessop’s Escape, featuring a new epilogue by the author. As a member of the strictly religious Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, Deborah Feldman grew up under a code of relentlessly enforced customs governing everything from what she could wear and to whom she could speak to what she was allowed to read. It was stolen moments spent with the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott that helped her to imagine an alternative way of life. Trapped as a teenager in a sexually and emotionally dysfunctional marriage to a man she barely knew, the tension between Deborah’s desires and her responsibilities as a good Satmar girl grew more explosive until she gave birth at nineteen and realized that, for the sake of herself and her son, she had to escape.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

I’ve been a bad bad reviewer. I haven’t managed to read more than a single book this entire year. Okay, one and a half if I’m being honest…I am halfway through another. But, in my defense I did give birth and now have a 5 month old daughter. So I’ve been a teensy bit busy. But I found time to read! While I’m at work pumping milk for my baby, that’s a whole half hour that could be spent reading instead of browsing Facebook or playing Candy Crush.

This was a quick read but a good one. Feldman paints a vivid picture with her words and transports you directly to her world. I was engrossed in the story. One would like to think that things like this don’t happen in a free country, but alas it does. I lived through a similar religious experience (with a different religion of course) and was interested to see how much these experiences overlap. Not surprisingly, the answer is quite a lot. Religious abuse is a real thing.

While I am aware of the accusations of exaggeration and lying by the author, I personally choose to give the benefit of the doubt. People do behave this way. People in such strict religions do these kinds of things. And when someone dares to leave the flock, their former community throws mud all day long to try and discredit them. I can’t say for sure that is what is happening in this case, but it seems logical.

As a woman and a mother, I found the book infuriating. I can sympathize with how utterly out of the place the author felt in the world that she had been born into. Her yearnings for more were palpable. I found myself rooting for her to succeed and break free from what felt like such a confining life. I can’t say much more about this book except that I found it very compelling.

And now I hear someone yelling at daddy for a nursing, so I will wrap up. Hopefully I can make at least one more review this year…we’ll see lol.

Scars by Kiru Taye

scarsScars by Kiru Taye

Published August 1st, 2013 by Evernight Publishing

Buy this story at: Amazon / B&N

 

Synopsis:

She clutches at control to cover her flaws.
He wants to strip her bare because she’s beautiful.

Selina Moss hides a secret beneath her controlled happy exterior. Her body is covered in scars and she’s never revealed them to anyone. She’s not beautiful and she doesn’t want pity.
However, it’s her wedding night and husband, Benjamin Moss, is determined to strip down her barriers.
Benjamin is not playing fair, not when he’s deploying breath-stealing seduction as well as mind-melting sex toys. But will he still want her when she bares all?

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you Evernight Publishing!

Warning: This short story is an erotica and features sexual content including light BDSM.

 

This little story was delightful. I have never heard of the author previously but I will seek out more of her work now. It was sexy and fun and well put together.

This is an author who knows what they are talking about when it comes to BDSM. While they did not touch upon this couples’ agreement in particular, but the context of the story lets you know that they are well aware of each other’s rules in this game. And the small snippet of the other story we got even used the BDSM mantra, SSC. That delighted me. There’s even a moment of aftercare! I think I swooned.

This main character is also great. She is a strong, determined, smart fighter of a woman. I kind of cringed when I saw she had a violent past, but it is not typically what you would see and honestly had nothing to do with her interest in BDSM. That was really refreshing since most female characters in BDSM are reliving some past abuse all of the time.

Overall it was a short little story but one that was excellently executed.

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.

 

broken wingsBroken Wings by Shannon Dittemore

Expected publication: February 19th, 2013 by Thomas Nelson

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

 

Synopsis:

Giant angels with metal wings and visible song. A blind demon restored from the pit of darkness. And a girl who has never felt more broken.

Brielle sees the world as it really is: a place where the Celestial exists side by side with human reality. But in the aftermath of a supernatural showdown, her life begins to crumble. Her boyfriend, Jake, is keeping something from her—something important. Her overprotective father has started drinking again. He’s dating a much younger woman who makes Brielle’s skin crawl, and he’s downright hostile toward Jake. Haunting nightmares keep Brielle from sleeping, and flashes of Celestial vision keep her off kilter.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s been targeted. The Prince of Darkness himself has heard of the boy with healing in his hands and of the girl who sees through the Terrestrial Veil. When he plucks the blind demon, Damien, from the fiery chasm and sends him back to Earth with new eyes, the stage is set for a cataclysmic battle of good versus evil.

Then Brielle unearths the truth about her mother’s death and she must question everything she ever thought was true.

Brielle has no choice. She knows evil forces are converging and will soon rain their terror down upon the town of Stratus. She must master the weapons she’s been given. She must fight.

But can she fly with broken wings?

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

In the interest of full disclosure let me start by saying that I did not realize this book was the second in a series when I accepted the ARC. So there are some things I didn’t quite grasp and was confused by, which I believe was because I have not read the first book. But, on the other hand, I enjoyed the book so much I didn’t care.

I loved Brielle so much, I kind of wanted to kiss her. She is such a fantastic heroine. She is pretty but she is neither conceited about it nor denies it. She is talented and multi-faceted, her love of dance reminded me of my own love of singing. Elle is not reliant on some guy to make herself feel valuable, rather her boyfriend is a compliment to her but she doesn’t wait around for him to rescue her because she is a capable young woman all on her own. I loved her, I want to be able to write characters this well.

On the opposite side of Elle is her boyfriend, Jake. I didn’t really feel like we got to know Jake that well and it disappointed me because he seemed like a great guy. We mostly see him in the context of spending time with Elle. So it was difficult to judge him on his own because we honestly only see him without her maybe twice. Jake has the ability to heal with his hands, apparently this makes him a target for the Prince of Darkness and his demons. And since Brielle can see the “celestial” world and God himself has decreed that the two will be married then they are a great two for one deal. So this is how we get introduced to them in this book and it was interesting.

I was hoping that we would see more of Helen and Canaan, but they were very fleeting characters. They came and went and then came back just in time to explain things…like why God wanted to thin the veil over this little town. Honestly I’m still not sure I understand that but maybe that’s the subject of another book in the future.

I really likes the plot but I felt like we were going in circles at times. The entire idea was trying to figure out what Jake was being warned about and fearing that Elle might be killed and taken away from him. Bad people arrive in town and then bad things happen. Somewhere along the line we learn shocking things about the death of Elle’s mother. I am, again, not sure what the point of that was but I hope it will be explained later.

All in all, this was a great book. It had everything going for it and hopefully the things I didn’t quite get answered will be the subject of the next book.

Restoration by Elaine D. Walsh

?????????????????????????????Restoration by Elaine D. Walsh

Published September 18th, 2013 by Barks Out Loud

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

Synopsis:

When your life is shattered you can live damaged or repair it.

With a signed death warrant and final appeals running out, Tess Olsen anticipates the execution of the man her mother deserted her family for thirteen years ago. Randall Wright s death will expel his disturbing legacy and return her mother to her; it s as simple as that, or so she believes. But Wright robbed her life of more than just her mother and like a splinter slowly and painfully working its way to the surface, those stolen pieces begin emerging.

Working as an art conservator in New York City, Tess keeps an emotional distance from co-workers. She has no close ties since isolating herself during her teen years when the tale of Wright s crimes, trial, and marriage to her mother was published in a Pulitzer Prize winning article. She yearns for the family she had and is unable to accept who they are now.

Tess is dating Ben Elliot, an art critic for the New York Times. The relationship both intrigues and unnerves her. Unlike men she s dated in the past, he is more interested in her than her physical attributes and any sex she can offer. Although drawn to Ben, she is more comfortable with men like Kenyon LeMere, a brazen artist Ben introduces her to who has a reputation for translating his sexual liaisons into art.

Restoration chronicles Tess Olsen s challenge to restore her life, relationships, and dreams back to the promise they held before Randal Wright.

Rating: 4 star

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. This did not affect my opinion of the book, thank you Barks Out Loud!

This book was not long but every word served its purpose perfectly. This little tome follows Tess. Her mother married a serial killer when she was a young girl. She used to be a painter, but she isn’t anymore because she feels that her new stepfather has ruined her gift. She doesn’t speak to her mother and she avoids closeness at all costs. Randall is about to be executed and Tess is overjoyed that she can finally move on with her life. Tess is a very damaged woman who is clearly living in the past, this is obvious to the reader but not to Tess.

I was not exactly sure what to expect when I started this book. Yes, I had read the synopsis but I still didn’t know just what kind of story I was getting into.It was an emotional ride. My heart broke for Tess. I cried for her. I wanted to help her. I hurt for her and wanted to protect the little girl that she used to be. I followed her journey to figuring out some of her issues and felt the pain right along with her.

This story though is not about Tess and her acceptance that Randall’s execution won’t fix her life. It’s about her and her relationship with her mother. It was about Tess realizing that her mother was much more responsible for ruining her childhood than Randall. Because her mother consciously made the choice to let evil into her children’s lives and did nothing to stop it. The book is about realizing the part that her mother played in all of the things she blamed Randall for. I could sympathize with Tess on this front. We don’t want to believe that our parents are flawed and make mistakes, and sometimes they choose evil over their children. It can be a very painful thing to finally make that leap in your mind. But it is incredibly freeing once you finally get there.

The biggest complaint I had about this book was the Francesca storyline. While I liked Francesca as a character, I didn’t like what the author did with her story. I realize that they were trying to parallel Tess and her mother with this one, but I just didn’t get it. In fact I thought that the resolution to that story was a bit selfish on Tess’ part and Francesca’s part. So I just didn’t get it, nor did I agree with how it was handled. But this small complaint aside, this was a great read.

Cracked by Eliza Crewe

crackedCracked by Eliza Crewe

Expected Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Strange Chemistry

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

 

Synopsis:

Meet Meda. She eats people.

Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.

They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.

Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.

The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

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

This book was such a delightful little read, I was very surprised by it. I really have only a handful of complaints and even those are hardly worth mentioning. Cracked is written in the first person, from Meda’s perspective. Sometimes first person can be a problem if the narrating character is not very likeable, so I was a bit apprehensive for a few minutes. But it quickly became apparent to me that this was not going to be the case here. Meda was delightful. Funny, quirky, sarcastic, and wonderfully evil. Her inner dialogue made me laugh so often. For example, narrating an argument between two other characters as a tennis match. It shouldn’t have been as funny as it was but I couldn’t help it.

The plot was intriguing although admittedly it started off a bit thin. I started to get a little bit worried that there wouldn’t be much to it, but about halfway through it started to really pick up. The last part was both slightly surprising but also exactly how the book should have gone. I was a bit surprised that we got a happily ever after with a bit of a bitter aftertaste. To be honest, I figured it would just be a happily ever after,so it was a nice change that it wasn’t entirely so.

Although Meda was fantastic, the other characters started off badly. They seemed a bit unimportant and I had a hard time connecting with them. This resolved itself by the end and so I have to say it was a marginal problem at worst.

My one biggest complaint was this line, “I released a breath I hadn’t known I was holding.”  Ugh, can authors PLEASE stop using that phrase1 Never once in my life have I been holding my breath and thought “well by God, I didn’t realize I was holding that breath!”. It just doesn’t happen so please stop using it. However, at least there were no color changing eyes in this one. And since the rest of the book was so great I have to just overlook that small annoyance.

nightlifeNightlife by Matthew Quinn Martin

Expected publication: October 21st, 2013 by Pocket Star

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

Synopsis:

For centuries an ancient evil has slept beneath the streets of New Harbor. This Halloween, it wakes up.
An action-packed debut horror novel from talented new writer Matthew Quinn Martin, Nightlife pits a feisty bartender and a mysterious loner against bloodthirsty terrors as alluring as they are deadly.

Nightclub bartender and serial heartbreaker Beth Becker might be a cynic. But when her best friend goes missing Halloween night, Beth knows it’s up to her to find out what happened.

Her quest will take her on an odyssey through the crumbling city of New Harbor, Connecticut. Along the way she meets a homeless prophet warning of something he calls the “Night Angel”-a bloodthirsty creature that feeds on the forgotten. And she will form an unlikely bond with a hunted stranger who knows all too well what stalks the streets at night.

Rating: 4 star

Review:

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

This book was both exactly what I expected and not at all what I expected, which is a rather strange sensation I’m sure you can imagine. I am always looking for a good vampire book but I want that vampire book to be something unique. That is why I am still giving this particular niche a chance, I want something different and new! In a sense, this book provided that. But also a lot of cliches.

Characters – Jack Jackson was a complete cliche if I ever saw one. The solitary man who has dedicated his entire life to hunting down the thing that caused him to lose the love of his life, working alone and very antisocial in his quest. But after awhile I didn’t really even mind the clicheness of it because I thought Jack was kind of funny. He made me laugh a few times and I really liked his character. Beth was a pretty good character overall but again, pretty cliche. The stubborn, tough, rough around the edges girl who tends to push everyone away from her but ends up being the unlikely sidekick of the previously mentioned antisocial man on a mission. And yet again, I found that I didn’t really mind the cliche. Beth was interesting and fun, and pretty kickass in her own right. Now she did have a certain amount of the required horror book idiocy about her but it was minor and short lived. None of the other characters really made much impact on me since they seemed so incredibly expendable. When they were around then they were decent enough but then they just are gone and I hardly noticed they were gone.

The plot was fairly interesting in that a bunch of vampires (or whatever they are) have camped out in this little town and are feeding on the homeless population…at least until that can’t sustain them anymore and they go after more risky targets. Jack comes roaring into town, runs into Beth, and together they go to fight and demolish the evil creatures. This was all great. Add it in a shadowy organization that seems intent on…well I’m not sure exactly because they are hardly mentioned at all. What made the plot all the more enticing for me was the origins and true nature of these vampires. I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it before. It was very unique and I loved it. I also loved that for once in a book like this the characters seem to be aware that other vampire books, movies, etc exist and have seen them. That doesn’t happen often and frankly it baffles me as to why.

By the last page I was really enjoying this book. I wish that we had heard more about “The Division” (previously mentioned shadowy organization) because it seems like that was going somewhere to just get left hanging. The ending was satisfying and not entirely a happily every after but pretty close. And it had enough of a set up for another book that I wouldn’t mind reading the sequel, but if I never read the sequel then the ending was a satisfying one for a stand alone book. This book gets one and a half thumbs up from me, add in more of The Division and it could be a full five stars next time.

Review: Fragments by Dan Wells

fragmentsFragments by Dan Wells

Published February 26th, 2013 by Balzer & Bray

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

 

Synopsis:

Kira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence—it must be part of a larger plan, a plan that involves Kira, a plan that could save both races. Her companions are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?

Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what’s left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira’s journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and Kira and Marcus both will discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn’t even know existed.

The second installment in the pulse-pounding Partials saga is the story of the eleventh hour of humanity’s time on Earth, a journey deep into places unknown to discover the means—and even more important, a reason—for our survival.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

I cannot guarantee that this review won’t contain spoilers for book 1, but should be free of spoilers for this book.. So if you don’t want to read spoilers only read this first paragraph please. I loved this book. I was kid of lukewarm on the first book but was interested enough to continue, and boy am I glad I did. If you get nothing else out of this review, read this series. Now stop reading or else it’s your own damn fault if you get spoiled.

Like I mentioned a moment ago, I was pretty lukewarm on Partials (book 1). I thought it was decent but nothing out of this world. But the ending piqued my interest and so I wanted to see what happened. That brings us to Fragments. From the beginning of this book you know the stakes are high. Kira has discovered a cure for RM but apart from that one child they haven’t been able to replicate it. Samm is off to parts unknown and Kira has run off to find answers that Nandita sent her after at ParaGen. And this is where our second story begins.

Kira was still such a good character. I found her to be tough, real, gritty, and has a real soft spot to her as well. At times she got on my nerves a little bit with her whole, “OMG I’m a Partial, but I love the humans!’ routine but overall I had few complaints with her. I will just say that I loved the interaction with her and Vale. I won’t say anything else about that because it would ruin it, but it was fantastic! I felt just as confused and conflicted as Kira did just reading that part.

Samm and Marcus are officially my book boyfriends. I love them both so much I can’t even put it into words. They are so different but both so awesome at the same time. I think if I was forced to choose who I like more it would have to be Samm because he made me cry in this book, but that doesn’t diminish my love for Marcus. Although Marcus did get a bit reckless in this book, but it was all for the right reasons and that was important.

The plot moved along rapidly but it was well structured so it wasn’t too hard to follow. I really liked the introduction of Afa, he was a much needed and useful character. I really liked how many answers we got in this book. But at the same time those answers created more questions so it was a good balance. I LOVED the descriptions of this world so much in this book. It felt real and raw and I could see it in my head as we went along.

And the ending…whoa, is all I have to say. Even though I finished the book hours ago I can’t get over the ending. It took me by complete surprise and made me cry. I ended up putting the book down and just sat there with my mouth hanging open for a few minutes before I could wrap my head around what happened. I am already salivating over the idea of the final book and it causes me physical pain that it isn’t coming out until 2014. I am sold on this series, completely and utterly sold.

Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman

dueledDualed by Elsie Chapmen

Published February 26th 2013 by Random House

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

 

Synopsis:

Two of you exist.

Only one will survive.

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

This has to be one of my most highly anticipated book in months. I fell in love with the cover, I’m still in love with the cover. It is spectacular. I also loved the synopsis. The idea behind this book is one that I recognized could be either amazing or terrible, it all depended on execution. This was executed well. Some things probably could have been better but overall as a story I loved it.

The good:

West- She was a fantastic heroine. I found her to be smart, brave, loving, and normal. Unlike a lot of YA heroines, she believes herself to be subpar but isn’t perfect at everything in reality. We all know the heroines I meant. “Man I suck so bad, except for my perfect looks, perfect boyfriend, perfect hair, and inability to do anything that isn’t perfect.” West doubts herself but she’s reasonable in her doubt. She is a normal girl, good at some things and not so good at others. She neither believes she’s amazing or believes she’s terrible at everything. I found her very likely for that reason. I didn’t always understand her motivations but she always made me believe that she was a very girl who was trying her best to do the right thing.

Ending- I will be the first to admit it, I didn’t see the ending coming. Not even a little bit. Of course most of these kinds of books end in one way. The hero/heroine realized how wrong the system is and tries to subvert it in any way possible. That is what I was expecting but it’s not what I got. At this point I am at a loss for how the series will progress but I will be thrilled to find out. I am in for the long haul on this series and I think the ending played a large part in that. Best of all, the ending could serve as the perfect ending for a stand alone story. It was a satisfying end to that story that I wouldn’t mind if it ended right here but there’s still enough of a story to keep going with it too.

Narrative/World Building- West was a good narrator for the book, I liked her thoughts and didn’t mind being inside her head. Sometimes I thought she was being something of an idiot, but still didn’t mind her narration. The world building was good enough that I didn’t have any trouble at all picturing it in my head. I couldn’t quite get a grasp on the rules for the world but it was well put together for the purposes of the book.

 

The not so good:

Alts- Obviously the Alts were being presented as the protagonists of the book, but I felt that this limited the book in a lot of ways. The Alts are not necessarily the bad guys, we only perceive them that way because our character, West, is being pursued by hers. So since we’re supposed to be on her side then her Alt is automatically the bad guy. But if you honestly look at it then her Alt is going through exactly the same thing as West is. She also has to fight her Alt to the death and leave her family to do so. She also doesn’t know if she’ll be alive or dead in 30 days time. So ultimately they have the same path. I would have liked to see both West and her Alt and get sympathy for both of them. It would have made it less about us versus them and more about us being pitted against them unwillingly.

West as a Striker – I didn’t understand that decision at all. It seemed to come out of left field. Why did she want to do that? Why did she think that would help? And even if she thought it would help, why did she continue after being declared active? It puzzled me all the way through the book. It was an interesting part of the story but since it seemed to have so little effect on the character or the final outcome then I have to wonder, what was the point? Maybe this will be explained later on in the series but I didn’t get what the author was trying to go for.

It used the two most cliched phrases ever- “His eyes darkened briefly.” and “I released a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding.” Authors, please please please I beg you, stop writing these things! It makes me cringe every time I see them. Really it does. Enough is enough. I am banning those phrases from the English language forever.

Much more positive than negative and I can honestly say that I couldn’t put it down. I sat on my couch and ignored the world for the entire last 130 pages, with no break. I just had to see how it would end. If nothing else tells you whether I’d recommend this book, that should.

 

 

 

Review: Meg by Steve Alten

meg Meg by Steve Alten

Published June 2nd 1997 by DoubleDay

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Synopsis:

On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean’s deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he’s sure he saw but still can’t prove exists – Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds. Taylor spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea. But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a hotshot female submarine pilot to dare him back into a high-tech miniature sub. Diving deeper than he ever has before, Taylor will face terror like he’s never imagined. MEG is about to surface. When she does, nothing and no one is going to be safe, and Jonas must face his greatest fear once again.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

God how I loved this book, I loved it like a fat kid loves ice cream. We have all seen a horror movie that we thought “Oh man, this is just so awful! I love it!” That’s what this book was for me, a made for tv horror movie. But that’s also what made me hesitate to give it four stars. Based on the technical merits of the writing it would probably be a three, based on the story alone maybe a two, but based on how much I absolutely adored it a five would be appropriate. So in the end a 3.5 to 4 seems most fair.

Let’s get a few things straight about this book right up front. The writing is not very inventive or clever. I counted at least 3 times that the word “entrails” was used in every single scene where the shark eats something or someone. It was a bit repetitive and not very thrilling. The plot is also highly outlandish. You might just have to turn off your disbelief switch because I don’t think just suspending it will do the trick.

Though the plot was out there, I also thought it was awesome for that exact reason. More than once I just sat there with the book in my lap laughing so hard that I couldn’t see straight as the book slowly slid its way to the floor unnoticed. I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to see what outrageous thing would happen next. It was fabulous! And the ending…oh my God the ending! Give me a minute, the giggles came back. *deep breath* Okay, I’m good now. The ending was quite possibly the silliest and most amazing thing I have ever read. I cannot even fathom how such an ending came into being. I refuse to say anything else about it because it would ruin the amazingness.

Now let’s ponder for a moment on Mr. Alten’s  theory of how the Megalodon survived the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. The book proposes that the Meg’s prey were driven to the depths of the ocean by the Ice Age and given that they are warm blooded the Meg followed and then stayed there because that’s were the prey was. And by the time they had any need or desire to return to the surface they were trapped by the colder water temperatures and so have stayed in the depths for millions of years. It’s an interesting theory but it ignores several key facts about the closest living relative of the Megalodon, the Great White shark. The White is also warm blooded, and it prefers colder waters. The White is most concentrated in areas such as northern California, off the coast of Massachusetts, the southern tip of Africa. Yes they can and do inhabit warmer waters as well, but the colder water is seemingly preferred. Since the Megalodon is considered a cousin to the White shark, why would that species be much different? There is no logical reason that the Meg would have been “trapped” by the cold layer of water between the depths and the surface. It made for an interesting theory for a book, but doesn’t make much logical sense. *blush* I’m sorry, is my nerd showing?

ENTRAILS!  Now that you’re all distracted let’s move on to characters. They were all typical of this kind of horror book, nothing new or earthshattering. I did think the love interest seemed really forced. I mean, it wasn’t necessary so why not just leave it out? Instead I was caught feeling…wait a second they were wishing death on each other not two chapters ago and now they’re planning a romantic trip for when they survive this? That was kind of weird.

This book had a nice set up for a sequel, which I do intend on reading. I recommend this book if you want to read a book that is as silly as it is tropey, but still completely awesome. I know I loved it.