Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry #YA #supernatural #contemporary #TuesdayBookBlog

The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.
 
In a stunning follow-up to her National Book Award–longlisted novel All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves an aching, magical novel that is one part family drama, one part ghost story, and one part love story.

This book deals with some heavy subject matter – a family grieving in various ways after the tragic loss of their sister.

For me, the bonds between the sisters are one of the highlights of the story.  Sure, they have their squabbles, but will also defend each other until the end.  Each has their own distinct personality and way of dealing with grief – some in not the most healthy ways – and I appreciated the different POVs of each sister.

My favorite parts of the story are when Ana’s ghost tries to communicate with her sisters – I always love the addition of anything supernatural – and it’s the primary reason I requested this book.  Without giving away spoilers, one situation involving Ana left me hanging at the end, and I would have liked to know the outcome.  Some parts, while interesting, felt a little disjointed and didn’t really come together for me.

This is a well-written, quick read (I read it on a two hour flight), but a dark, heavy tale of grief and loss with a supernatural twist.

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

 

 

Internet Woes, #AmReading, and #AmWatching

Our internet was down for the majority of last week.  Some websites took over 45 minutes to load and others I just gave up on.  Streaming Netflix or Prime was out of the question.  It took several hours of speaking to 9 different AT&T reps spanning Tuesday through Saturday before the problem was resolved.  The first 7 told me they couldn’t help me at all and transfered me from one department to another.  What it all came down to was when I received help via esupport chat a couple weeks ago, the rep made our WiFi modem into a cell phone, voice only.  Not by my request, obviously.  It’s a complicated story that makes absolutely no sense.  However, my new best friend is AT&T rep Michelle from Oklahoma City who got me up and running on Saturday in about 20 minutes.  I was on hold for 30 minutes before I got her, but she was well worth the wait.  Now I have lots of blog visits to catch up on.

Over the weekend, I finished A Boy Named Rabbit by Marcia Meara.  And I want to join the family in that book.  It was the perfect heart-warming, feel good read to take my mind off everything going on in the world right now.  Other readers have commented on how much they loved Rabbit, and I fell head over heels for him.  I still need to write the review, but it absolutely will be a 5 star!

Now that we have WiFi again, hubby and I were able to watch more NYPD Blue on Prime.  I watched the series when it was on years ago, but he never did – and he loves it.  We’re still in the first season, and it’s just as fantastic for me watching it a second time.  We’re also watching Ride with Norman Reedus (Daryl from TWD).  Hubby isn’t a fan of The Walking Dead, but he enjoys Norman’s motorcycle adventures with guests as he visits different states and countries learning about the local culture and sampling some pretty tasty food.  It’s on late night Sundays, so we DVR it.

Friends, we’re one week closer to the end of this pandemic.  Everyone take care and stay healthy!

 

 

The Disasters by M.K. England #bookreview #scifi #YA

Hotshot pilot Nax Hall has a history of making poor life choices. So it’s not exactly a surprise when he’s kicked out of the elite Ellis Station Academy in less than twenty-four hours.

But Nax’s one-way trip back to Earth is cut short when a terrorist group attacks the Academy. Nax and three other washouts escape—barely—but they’re also the sole witnesses to the biggest crime in the history of space colonization. And the perfect scapegoats.

On the run and framed for atrocities they didn’t commit, Nax and his fellow failures execute a dangerous heist to spread the truth about what happened at the Academy.

They may not be “Academy material,” and they may not get along, but they’re the only ones left to step up and fight.

I’m a sucker for a diverse group of unlikely heroes, and when they’re thrown into space it’s a nearly irresistible read.

I listened to this audiobook during a long drive, and for the most part, it held my interest.  Nax’s voice is a highlight of the book, and his internal monologues had me laughing several times.  Being in the middle of a bi-love triangle makes for some pretty awkward moments for him.  The rest of the crew is also engaging.  Tossing them into a nearly immediate life or death situation inspires pretty quick bonding, and trust soon follows.

From the tagline, I expected more humorous moments.  For me, Nax joining up with other “washouts” indicates they’re misfits or also have a history of making poor life decisions, but all these characters are highly skilled and close to prodigies.  The focus of the story slants more toward political conspiracies and the group trying to save the day – nothing wrong wrong with that, but the description is a little misleading.

The Disasters has some great characterization and lots of action, but the pace moves a little slow for my taste.  Still, a solid read.

 

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 nearly finished with Eventide (Hode’s Hill #3) by Mae Clair.  While I’m sad this series is ending and know I’ll miss these characters (Dante!), I’m happily engrossed in this eerie supernatural suspense novel.  All three books in the series can be read as a standalone – get started now!

The darkness is coming . . .

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?
 
Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…

I just finished Hard Wired by Len Vlahos.  This brought up so many questions regarding existentialism.  The story wasn’t exactly what I expected, but I’m thinking about it before writing my review.

From Morris finalist Len Vlahos comes a contemporary sci-fi story about a boy who might not be human—for fans of Westworld and Black Mirror.

Quinn thinks he’s a normal boy with an average life. That is, until he finds a trail of clues the father he barely knew left behind.

After Quinn unravels his father’s puzzles, he “wakes up” … and realizes his world was nothing more than a virtual construct. In reality, he’s the first fully-aware A.I. in the world, part of an experiment run by a team of scientists—including the man he thought was his father.

As the scientists continue to study him, Quinn’s new existence becomes a waking nightmare. Determined to control his own destiny, he finds allies in other teens—including crush Shea—and plots his escape. But what does true freedom look like when you’re not human?

Acclaimed Morris Award finalist Len Vlahos pens a high-stakes contemporary-rooted sci-fi that asks big questions about humanity. 

Next, I’ll read Last Girls by Demetra Brodsky.  I’m always up for a good survival story, and this looks like an interesting one.

No one knows how the world will end.

On a secret compound in the Washington wilderness, Honey Juniper and her sisters are training to hunt, homestead, and protect their own.

Prepare for every situation.

But when danger strikes from within, putting her sisters at risk, training becomes real life, and only one thing is certain:

Nowhere is safe.

Highland Cove by Dylan J. Morgan #bookreview #horror #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Highland Cove Sanatorium sits abandoned on a desolate island one mile off the Scottish mainland. It’s a dark, foreboding place, filled with nightmares. Even darker are the asylum’s secrets: a history of disease and mental illness, macabre experiments and murder.

The tales of ghostly appearances are said to be more fact than fiction, but no one has ever documented the phenomenon. Codie Jackson aims to change all that. Arriving from London with his small independent film crew, they plan to make a documentary that will forever change their lives.

But when one of the crew disappears, things begin to spiral out of control. A storm closes in to ravage the island, and in the darkness Highland Cove’s true horrors are revealed. Now lost within the institution’s labyrinthine corridors, Codie and his team realize that their nightmare is only just beginning.

After reading several books by this author, I became a confirmed fan.  But then he disappeared for a while.  When I learned he had a new release on the horizon, it took me about tenth of a second to request an ARC.

A group of ghosthunters, including some non-believers, spend two nights in an abandoned sanitorium during a vicious storm.  Where lots of people died.  And it’s on an island.  What could go wrong here?  Most folks, believers or not, would likely pass on the offer.  Luckily for the reader, these characters think it’s an amazing opportunity.  Some of them assume nothing will happen and figure they’ll edit in effects to the film later.  Right.  But then, it wouldn’t be much of a horror story if characters made wise choices.

This author possesses an incredible talent for setting a tone – something he immediately did when the group first set foot on the island.  With such vivid imagery, I felt as if I walked the dilapidated halls of Highland Cove along with these characters.  Chills tingled down my spine when a wheelchair moved of its own accord.  Shadows danced in every corner.  During one scene, I cringed repeatedly – and I’ve been reading horror for decades.  That doesn’t happen to me very often, so kudos to the author.  Trust me when I say parts of this aren’t for the faint of heart.

It’s difficult to mention this without giving away spoilers, but a couple things near the end didn’t come together for me.  I had suspicions, and maybe I missed a crucial piece of information early in the book, but I felt part of the puzzle was missing when all was said and done.  It didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this atmospheric tale, but still – some questions niggled at my brain.

I’m thrilled to see another book from this author and hope I don’t have to wait as long for his next one.  If you’re a horror fan, this is a writer you need to get to know.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

Introverts, #AmWatching, and To-Do List

With most of us hanging close to home, both adults and kids may find themselves bored.  For us introverts, not so much.  I have a list of things I’ve been meaning to get to, and now looks like the perfect time.

Read books and more books (seriously, you had to see this one coming).  Maybe I can finally make a serious dent in the TBR pile.  Less errands to run = more time to curl up with good reads.

Clear out the Netflix list.  I’ve added several things I want to watch (still haven’t gotten to Witcher) but haven’t had time to get to.  I just noticed they added a second season of Altered Carbon, and season 3 of Ozark drops March 27th.  With Disney+, I’m still trying to watch The Mandalorian – technical difficulties have prevented my viewing so far.  ESPN+ is no problem – hubby and I are making our way through Peyton’s Places and loving it.

Our garage and storage area could use a good cleaning out.  We’re not hoarders by any means, but the boys have stashed sports equipment and art supplies they no longer need/use in the garage, college moves have resulted in unused/unwanted furniture, and hubby could probably open a golf store with what he has on the shelves.  Old Christmas decorations and some toys could be removed from the storage area.  Last time I was up there, I discovered the youngest son had added several boxes without telling us.  We just thought he finally cleaned out his bedroom.  Should have known better.

Don’t even get me started on the yard.  I bought weed killer a couple weeks ago, but we’ve had so much rain I haven’t been able to spray.  We also lost several bushes over the winter that need to be dug up, and others need to be trimmed.

The list goes on, but I won’t bore you with everything.

Last week before everyone hunkered down, the oldest son and I saw Ben Affleck’s new movie, The Way Back.  Affleck turned in a fantastic performance, and the story contained both comedic moments with the high school boys he coached and heartfelt situations involving his struggle with alcohol addiction and grief over the loss of a child.  We’d both recommend it.

Have a great week and wash those hands!

Subject A36 Features #YA #SciFi #Dystopia

Happy Friday 13th!  Some people may be wary of these Fridays, but when you have a son born on a Friday 13th and a black cat, I think they only bring good things my way.

Subject A36 has been featured on a couple of blogs recently, and I wanted to include the links here.  The first was an interview with sci-fi and fantasy author Phoebe Darqueling about world-building HERE.  While you’re there, take a look at Phoebe’s books.  Her latest release is No Rest for the Wicked, a historical fantasy novel.

The second came as a wonderful surprise to me on this dreary Friday morning.  I’m Featured On the Reef at Sarah Brentyn’s blog HERE.  If you haven’t read her books of short fiction/flash fiction, don’t deprive yourself any longer.  What Sarah conveys in so few words is astounding.  Also being a lover of chocolate, cheese, and wine, she’s good people.