Recursion by Blake Crouch #bookreview #scifi #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Memory makes reality. That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. 

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them? 

I’ve read several of Blake Crouch’s books – his Wayward Pines series is bizarre, Dark Matter mind-blowing – and he’s never let me down.  With this book, Crouch has made my auto-buy list.

Trippy, mind-bending, thought-provoking – it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read.  Recursion starts with a basic idea, and then it branches out from there, with tendrils weaving in several directions.  This isn’t a book to read if you’re expecting several interruptions – you’ll want to give 100% of your attention to it, and you’ll need every bit of brain capacity to keep up with this fast-paced enigma.

I really can’t say much about it – you’ll never read spoilers in my reviews – but if you’re a sci-fi thriller fan, this is a must-read.  It’s taken me four days after finishing the book to write the review, because I’ve been turning the story over in my mind.  I can’t recommend Recursion enough – one my best reads in the past few years.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

KU Addicts Express FB Hop, #OWSCyCon2019, Myers-Briggs, and #ToyStory4

Happy Rainy Monday!  At least here, anyway.  Rain and more rain.

I’m participating in The KU Addicts Express Spring Into Summer Facebook Hop through this Friday.  If you like free books and other prizes, this is the place to be.  Go HERE to the main page, and you can hop from there.  Or you can go to my FB page HERE where I’m giving away signed copies of Sarah and The Gemini Connection.  Over 100 participants = lots of prizes!

A few weeks ago, I was part of OWS CyCon 2019.  Can’t believe I forgot to mention this earlier, but Timothy Bateson read an excerpt of The Gemini Connection, and he did a fantastic job.  If you’d like to listen, click HERE.

Have you guys taken the Myers-Briggs personality test?  Last week, I received an email with reading recommendations based on personality type.  It’s been years since I’ve taken it, so I gave it another try HERE.  Turns out I’m INTJ-A.  After reading the description, it sure does explain a lot – and it totally nailed my parenting style.  The test is around 10 minutes – give it a shot and let me know your type.

My oldest son was here for the weekend, and we saw Toy Story 4.  When he was younger, he had a Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story bed sheets, and we went through numerous pet goldfish named Buzz and Woody (until they were found floating, and we waved goodbye as they swirled around the toilet bowl), so it was fun to be able to see this with him.  And it’s a great movie.  Lots of laughs, and I loved seeing these characters again.  If you have some time, go see it.

Have a great week!

WWW Wednesday: What Am I Reading? #amreading

WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading one book, and listening to another.  For my book club, I’m listening to A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee.  You guys, this book – it’s fantastic, and the narrator is perfect.  I’ve laughed out loud so many times, people in the cars around me probably thought I was a lunatic.  I’m a confirmed Monty fan.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

I’m FINALLY getting around to reading D. Wallace Peach’s Soul Swallowers (The Shattered Sea #1).  The world-building is magnificent, and the writing is beautiful and so descriptive.

When swallowed, some souls gift insights, wisdom, a path to understanding. Others unleash power, proficiency with a sword, and indifference to death. One soul assimilates with ease. But swallow a host of the dead and risk a descent into madness. 

Estranged from his family over the murder of his wife, young Raze Anvrell wields his fists to vent his rage. Then a chance at a new life beckons, and he retreats to the foothills of the Ravenwood, the haunt of unbound ghosts. He and his mentor build a freehold, a life of physical labor and the satisfaction of realizing a dream. They raise horses and whittle by the fire until the old man dies, and Raze swallows his first soul. 

When his brother reaches out, open wounds begin to scar. But the tenuous peace won’t last. While those who rule the Vales yield to the lure of their ambitions, slavers of Ezar roam the countryside, hunting for human chattel. While one man manipulates the law, another heeds the souls of violence howling in his head. 

Raze too listens to his soul’s whispers, and as danger intrudes on his quiet life, he has no choice but to return to his father’s world and join the fight. 

I just finished Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre.  This novel is a blend of YA contemporary, romance, sci-fi (time travel!), and suspense,  and I plowed through it in a couple of days.

A dark, romantic YA suspense novel with an SF edge and plenty of drama, layering the secrets we keep and how appearances can deceive, from the New York Times bestselling author.

In this tiny, terrifying town, the lost are never found. When Araceli Flores Harper is sent to live with her great-aunt Ottilie in her ramshackle Victorian home, the plan is simple. She’ll buckle down and get ready for college. Life won’t be exciting, but she’ll cope, right?

Wrong. From the start, things are very, very wrong. Her great-aunt still leaves food for the husband who went missing twenty years ago, and local businesses are plastered with MISSING posters. There are unexplained lights in the woods and a mysterious lab just beyond the city limits that the locals don’t talk about. Ever. When she starts receiving mysterious letters that seem to be coming from the past, she suspects someone of pranking her or trying to drive her out of her mind. To solve these riddles and bring the lost home again, Araceli must delve into a truly diabolical conspiracy, but some secrets fight to stay buried… 

Next, I’ll read How We Became Wicked by Alexander Yates.  Love the cover, and the description has me excited!

A plague, called Wicked, is pulsing through the world; and in its wake, it’s dividing the population into thirds:

The WICKED: Already infected by the droves of Singers, the ultraviolet mosquito-like insects who carry the plague, the Wicked roam the world freely. They don’t want for much—only to maim and dismember you. But don’t worry: They always ask politely first.

The TRUE: The True live in contained, isolated communities. They’re the lucky ones; they found safety from the Singers. And while the threat of the Wicked may not be eliminated, for the True, the threat has certainly been contained…

The VEXED: The Vexed are the truly fortunate ones—they survived the sting of the Singers, leaving them immune. But they’re far from safe. The Vexed hold the key to a cure, and there are those who will do anything to get it.

Five Midnights by Ann Davila Cardinal #bookreview #YA #mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Five friends cursed. Five deadly fates. Five nights of retribución.

If Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre can survive each other’s company, together they can solve a series of grisly murders sweeping though Puerto Rico. But the clues lead them out of the real world and into the realm of myths and legends. And if they want to catch the killer, they’ll have to step into the shadows to see what’s lurking there—murderer, or monster?

 

I’ve never been to Puerto Rico, but the author provides such vivid, immersive descriptions, I feel like I have.  And the food!  I drooled over several pages.

The author gives a balanced picture of Puerto Rico.  While showing the horrors of drugs and addiction, and impoverished neighborhoods, she also demonstrates the deep love of culture and community, and supportive, loyal families and friends willing to do anything to protect their loved ones.  And can I mention the food again?

One of my favorite things about this book is the relationships.  With little parental support at home, Lupe’s relationship with her aunt and uncle is a positive influence, and portrayed so well.  Javier hasn’t made good choices in his past, and battles his addiction every day with the help of Father Sebastian.  Javier’s relationship with childhood friend Carlos is more of brother than friend, even though Carlos’s music career has made him an international sensation.

Mention urban legends in a book description, and I’ll show up, and El Cuco is the stuff of children’s nightmares.  The opening scene is a perfect way to set up the supernatural suspense.  When Javier makes the connection and realizes he’s living on borrowed time, I couldn’t read fast enough.

As a main character, Lupe is feisty, loyal, and determined – all good things.  But her default mode is set to combative, and I felt it got in the way of the story.  The final showdown is tense and exciting, but because it’s seen through several POVs, it stretches on for pages, when it actually lasts the length of a song.

Five Midnights is a briskly paced, dark, YA supernatural mystery that I enjoyed from the first page, and would recommend to fans of urban legends who enjoy a touch of the paranormal.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

#AmReading, Book Stuff, and #AmWatching

With Book 3 in the hands of my beta reader, last week I treated myself to seven days of mostly just reading.  It was wonderful, relaxing, and with hubby out of town, very quiet.  Just me and the cat, and dinner out with friends one night.  This week will be different.  I need to get started on the book description, and a list of authors to contact for blurbs.  If anyone wants to volunteer, feel free!

Then there’s still the title, of course.  Epiphanies and lightning bolts of ideas are in short supply around here.  I keep waiting for the perfect words to fall from the sky and appear…somewhere.  Billboards, songs, books I’m reading – still nothing, so far.  The waiting continues.

This past weekend was Keanu Reeves-themed – not planned, it just kind of happened.  On Saturday, hubby and I saw John Wick 3.  Not as good as the first one, in my opinion, but still a darn good summer movie.  On Netflix, we watched Always Be My Maybe, a rom-com (hubby loves them), in which Keanu has a small role and plays ‘an extreme comedic version of himself’.  Trust me, it’s hilarious.  The movie was enjoyable, and if you’re a fan of rom-coms, I’d recommend watching it.  I’ve been a Reeves fan since Point Break, and was also thrilled to hear he’s voicing a character in Toy Story 4 – which I hope to see in the next couple of weeks.

Several weeks back, I mentioned Black Summer, a zombie apocalypse show on Netflix.  After watching the first four episodes, I decided these characters were too stupid to live, and I was rooting for the zombies.  Weeks passed, and I gave it another chance.  Stupidity is still rampant, but there are also plot holes big enough for a zombie horde to easily pass through.  Verdict:  I’m done.  Life is too short.

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi #bookreview #YA #fantasy

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

This has been in my TBR well over a year, and when I recently had to be in the car for long periods of time, I listened to the audio book.  I was thrilled to discover it was the same fantastic narrator as Dread Nation.

What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said?  Intricate, creative world-building, richly drawn characters, some twists along the way.  And that cover –  stunning.

A lot of hype surrounds this novel, and it’s absolutely well-deserved for a debut, so maybe my expectations were too high.  I’m not a big fan of romance, and it makes up more of the story than I’d expected.  Pairing off the characters disappointed me – but that’s just my personal preference.  An overwhelming majority disagrees with me on that, and I get it.

The cover of the second book in this series was released not long ago, and it’s just as beautiful as this one.  Although more romance than I’d like, I plan to continue with this YA fantasy series.

DEV1AT3 (Lifelike #2) by Jay Kristoff #bookreview #YA #scifi #TuesdayBookBlog

Lemon Fresh has seen better days.

After the climactic battle in Babel, she finds herself separated from Ezekiel and Cricket in the wastelands. Lemon’s abilities to manipulate electricity mark her as a deviate, and deadly corporate operatives are hunting her to use as a weapon in the war between BioMaas Incorporated and Daedelus Technologies. Instead, Lemon finds herself falling in with a group of fellow deviates—a band of teenagers with astonishing abilities, led by an enigmatic figure known as the Major, who may hold the secrets to Lemon’s past.

Meanwhile, Cricket finds himself in possession of the puritanical Brotherhood, a religious cult set for a head-on collision with the Major and his band. Searching for Lemon, Ezekiel finds a strange ally in an old enemy, and uncovers a plot that may see him reunited with his beloved Ana.

And inside Babel, a remade Eve hatches a plan to bring an end to the world.

I’m pretty sure I squealed in excitement when I received this ARC.  The first book in this series, LIFEL1K3, was mind-blowing, full of twists, and one of my most memorable reads last year.

In the first book, Lemon Fresh stole nearly every scene she was in, so I was thrilled she’s the primary POV for DEV1AT3.  Fiercely loyal, a rollicking sense of humor, and such a kind heart – anyone would be lucky to count her as a friend.  With her enthralling story, I ran through nearly every emotion out there.  By the end of the book, she’s still surrounded by mystery, and I’m excited to see what happens next for her.

Cricket, my favorite logika, has a chance to live what he thought was his dream.  Unfortunately, be careful what you wish for.  Ezekiel finds an unlikely accomplice, learns some hard truths, and fights the good fight – but there are still surprises in store for him.

The world-building, a combination of Mad Max and Pacific Rim, continues to be magnificent, and some new, highly charismatic characters are introduced.  Some readers may be disappointed Eve plays more of a minor role in this novel, but Lemon’s story is too big to be a sub plot, and needs to be told.  When all is said and done, I think everything will weave together in the end.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.