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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-25 21:13
Swan Song ★★★★☆
Swan Song - Robert R. McCammon,Tom Stechschulte

Oh boy, was this a wild, fun ride-along with characters that I loved and characters that I loved to hate. There was plenty of explicit gore, some of which actually did make me cringe and stop for a bit. But there were some truly touching moments, too. Much like the post-apocalyptic world of this book, it’s not all darkness and cruelty and death, but also some hope and love and a tiny spark of belief in humanity.

 

It’s not quite a five star read, though, because I had to work pretty hard to suspend disbelief that 

a world in which a nuclear winter lasts for 7 or 8 years, where supposedly nothing can grow, not even weeds, and all plant life has died, seems unlikely to be able to sustain any life at all. Sure, most people starved and some could survive on the remnants of canned food or rats, but what would herbivores survive on? How did they keep that horse alive, if nothing was growing? If there are no herbivores left, did the carnivores/omnivores like rats and bobcats and wolves survive just on eating each other? If there are no plants, then a significant population of insects would go extinct, wouldn’t they? The disruption of the food chain seems unlikely to have allowed survival for that long a period of time.

(spoiler show)

 But this isn’t explained or even addressed, so I wondered and doubted, and that took something away from the story for me. Although it does strike me as funny that I didn’t have the same problem with 

people growing an entire warty coating on their heads with their faces beneath becoming something entirely different that reflects their true self/soul, or non-human creatures growing extra limbs and heads, or an inhuman creature who thrives on death and destruction and performs supernatural feats, or a girl who can magically make plants grow at an accelerated pace, etc.

(spoiler show)

 Why I should fixate on the

nuclear winter

(spoiler show)

thing, I don’t know.

 

Audiobook, purchased on sale from Audible. The performance by Tom Stechschulte was absolutely fantastic. I’ll look for other books read by him. Warning, though, this is a 34 ½ hour audiobook, so you have to really love audio to consume it in this format. It’s a LOT of listening.

 

Previous Updates:

7/17/17 – 2% 

7/18/17 – 9%

7/18/17 – 16%

7/19/17 – 23%

7/22/17 – 51%

7/25/17 – 97%

 

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review 2017-07-22 13:02
The Andromeda Strain ★★★☆☆
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

Put together the most meticulous plans and bring together several brilliant and creative minds, but still nearly come to disaster through mistaken assumptions and mechanical and human errors, and be likewise saved by random leaps of logic and mechanical and human errors. Perhaps the most fun part of reading this, for me, is how plausible this seems, because all the characters involved behave like real humans do. Plus, having been written in 1968, Crichton is writing about cutting edge/futuristic technology that is now hilariously dated. Imagine a disaster nearly caused by

a communication failure, because an isolated team is relying on alerts that are transmitted to a machine that prints on a continuous roll of paper, but the paper gets jammed and nobody notices because the guy who’s supposed to check it just looks for software failures rather than mechanical and thinks, well, no news is good news.

(spoiler show)

 

Paperback, picked up at a used book sale. Good thing I didn’t try this on audio, as I expect that the frequent displays of lab test results and technical readouts would be horrible on audio. What would they do, just read line after line of figures?

 

I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Tomorrowland 33: Read a book set in space or tagged SciFi on GR or a book that includes robots or cyborgs. The SciFi tag applies to this book.

 

Previous Updates:

7/8/17 - BLopoly pick

7/14/17 – 40/288pg

7/18/17 – 107/288pg

 

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review 2017-07-16 17:41
A Tap on the Window ★★★★☆
A Tap on the Window - Linwood Barclay

There were a lot of characters to sort through and mysteries to unravel in this story, but it wasn’t too complex to easily follow along and guess at, even on audio. The clues were ambiguous enough to keep me guessing through at least two thirds of the book, but it was satisfying at the end to find that I was wrong on a few of my guesses, due to some successfully planted red herrings. There’s a lot of moral relativism at work amongst pretty much all the characters, so this is not a book for readers who want a hero to root for.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive using the Libby app. Mark Zeisler provides a good performance – he sort of disappears inside the story, so I honestly didn’t notice much about his reading style. Which I guess is a recommendation in itself.

 

Previous Updates:

7/14/17 – 18%

 

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review 2017-07-16 16:22
Dead Bolt ★★★☆☆
Dead Bolt - Juliet Blackwell,Xe Sands

This second book in the Haunted Renovation mystery series was a fun enough, but distressingly heavy on Romance and light on Mystery. There were still some interesting tidbits on historical homes, though. I’m going to try the third book, but if it continues to emphasize goofy love triangles and sexual “tension”, then I’m outta here.

 

Audiobook via Audible subscription; Xe Sands’ performance is excellent as usual.

 

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review 2017-07-14 13:30
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Mist and Fury - Sarah J. Maas

I went into this book scared. There's so much hype around this series and Rhysand that I was actually a little afraid that I wouldn't like this book because my expectations were too high or because the story/character didn't appeal to me (wouldn't be the first time I didn't like a hyped book). I really wanted to love this series as much as the next person, and I'm so glad I ended up enjoying it. 


ACOMAF is drastically different from the first book. The characters are incredibly different from the characters they were in the first book, particularly Feyre and Tamlin, as well as Lucien. Lucien was less of an offender in this book, but only because he didn't actually do anything, compared to Tamlin actively being a possessive asshole. His character changes dramatically in this book and it's pretty clear from the beginning the reader isn't supposed to root for Feyre and Tamlin anymore. Tamlin becomes possessive and controlling, not that he wasn't possessive to begin with to a certain extent, but those characteristics are pushed to an extreme that makes me cringe. 


Thankfully, for the majority of the book, Tamlin is nowhere to be seen, at least physically. One of my issues that kept this book from being a full 5 stars, was that Feyre constantly compared Rhysand to Tamlin. It felt like overkill constantly being reminded of how horrible Tamlin became and comparing them against each other probably isn't a good thing. I'm sure Rhys didn't appreciate it because he tries so hard to be so different from Tamlin where it counts. Yes they're both possessive, but I actually didn't mind Rhysand's possessiveness nearly as much as Tamlin's. Rhysand doesn't treat Feyre like an object and that's essentially the difference there.


I could go on and on about Rhysand and I'm sure I'm not the first one that could do that or wants to do that. There's a good reason why everyone loves him as a character. I loved the layers he has and how his character develops over the course of this book. The romance is so slow burn and flirtatious and I loved it so much. The affection and attraction develops over time and seems so much more real. It's a ship I will gladly root for. 


There's a whole new cast of characters in this book and they're so much more developed than the characters at the Spring Court. Aside from Tamlin, Lucien was the only other character with a backstory and yeah it was sad, but I never really felt for him. The Night Court characters so much more developed and way more likeable. Feyre also develops so much more and grows as a person. Feyre's development is so important, especially to the romance aspects of the book. It allows the romance to not be a love triangle, but to show it more as a people change and drift apart from each other.

 

There were a few other issues I had with the book, mainly with the fact that this book was long and probably didn't need to be 600+ pages. It was completely character driven, up until the last parts of the book and while I do love the characters, I would have liked a little more plot or possibly a faster pace. The motivations for the villains of this book are a little unclear to me, or don't quite make complete sense, but I don't want to spoil so that's all I'll say about that.


The world Sarah J. Maas created is breathtaking. The descriptions are vivid and the beautiful world she created was easy to picture. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will hopefully be getting to ACOWAR really soon.

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