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review 2018-06-04 19:58
3.8 Out Of 5 "conspiracy theory" STARS
Zeroes: A Novel - Chuck Wendig






Chuck Wendig



When five hackers — an Anonymous-style rabble-rouser, an Arab Spring hactivist, a black-hat hacker, an old-school cypherpunk, and an online troll — are scooped up by the U.S. government and told they face prison sentences or worse, they take the deal that’s offered them: working as white-hat hackers in service to their nation. Forced into an uneasy alliance, threatened by their warring personalities and sabotaged by rival hackers, the five begin to fear for their lives as their orders grow increasingly dark and strange. But it’s only when they discover the truth behind the sinister NSA program that they realize the stakes go well beyond anything they could have imagined . . .






Full Disclosure:  I was little confused while listening to this…because I'm not hacker proficient.  Did I enjoy the story despite that…yeah…for the most part, I did.  The characters more-so than the plot.  There is plenty of humor in this, albeit profane and lots of techno-action, and actual action, considering it’s a book about hacking and such. 


The narration is surprisingly good, considering how many main characters there is in this.  Ray Chase manages to bring these characters to life.  Each of them having their own distinctive voice, including the two females, and even better, neither came off sounding like a whiny bitch.











Plot~ 4/5

Main Characters~ 4/5

Secondary Characters~ 3.5/5

The Feels~ 3.5/5

Pacing~ 4/5

Addictiveness~ 3.5/5

Theme or Tone~ 3.7/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 3.5/5

Originality~ 4/5

Ending~ 3.7/5 Cliffhanger~ "to be continued"


Book Cover~ Very Good

Narration~ ☆4.7☆ -Ray Chase

Series~ 1 #1

Setting~ USA (different locations throughout)

Source~ Audiobook (Library)



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review 2018-04-19 18:58
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
The Strain - Guillermo del Toro,Chuck Hogan,Ron Perlman

I have not seen the show created from this material. I DVR’d it but the thing got full and it was deleted. That may have been for the best . . .


The Strain begins when a passenger plane lands with its windows all darkened and none of its 199 passengers getting off the plane. Is it a terrorist attack or something even more insidious?


I’ll give you a hint. It’s the second one and this part of the book is so very creepy!


There was something on that plane that is now wreaking havoc on the family members of the extremely unlucky passengers aboard the plane – and on society at large.


This story is basically pandemic via vampiric strain and focuses a lot of time on the rush for experts to discover exactly what the hell is going on and how to stop it before everyone dies a horrid death or worse.


The audiobook is narrated by Ron Perlman who gives the material a lethal edge and he doesn’t even attempt to feign a female voice (thank all that is good and kind in this world). He is deadly serious as well he should be for a story like this! It’s tense and gory and action packed.


But you need to know something. Terrible things happen to people, to children, and to dogs (gawd, the dogs!) in this book so guard yourself before you step in. Some may say this is a spoiler but I say you MUST know if you have any feelings at all. I wish I had. I might’ve skipped it had I known about one particular scene. That scene had me in complete dread mode guessing what was going to happen and wishing I could unhear it and pretend it never happened after it did. My heart let me know that it hasn’t completely shriveled up yet.


I love pandemic and plague stories even though they give me endless nightmares because I know it’s going to happen to us one of these days and that we’ll probably deserve it (well, most of us anyway). But I only sometimes enjoy thrillers and vampire stories. This one combines the two and I mostly enjoyed it before it got too gross and boring because the vampires are evil, hungry and not at all sexy. Nope, there is no sexy to be had here (more on that in a minute). My biggest complaint about this book was the fact that it was mainly a thriller with heavy handed violence and the characters weren’t given enough space for me to get to know them (especially the women) because they were so busy doing important things to stop this blight on humanity. I really didn’t end up giving any craps about any of them because the whole thing lacked an emotional connection for me. I know not everyone necessarily needs that but I do with very few exceptions. I think reading Salem’s Lot as a kid may have spoiled most vampire novels for me.


As I said, this book is deadly serious but there is a moment of dialogue that I must share because I am still laughing about it.


“I am a drinker of men.”


Heh, I’ve never quite heard it put this way before and I think I like it! I wish there had been more unintentionally funny bits to break up the slaying.


Towards the middle it gets rather gross and I rarely say that. There’s a proboscis thing, there’s white goo/blood and, grossest of all, there’s peeing/pooping vampires. And they do it as they feed! I told you there is no sexy here and I wasn’t kidding! There is just entirely too much yuck to behold. Even my cast iron stomach was screaming for it to stop. Maybe it’s because I listened on audio and I find audio such an intimate experience that it became way too much? Or perhaps I’m getting whimpy? I don’t know what my problem was but I do know I probably won’t be reading the next two in the series because the last bits bored me to tears. It’s all chasing down vampires and slicing off their noggins and looking at vampire pee/poo and lots of telling and not any showing. I tuned out during the final acts and I’m too chicken to rewind. I was also totally fatigued by the story at this point. I probably won’t be moving on to the two sequels even though my library has them unless someone decides to be super evil and makes me change my mind! Please don’t.


I’m going to give it a three because the first half or so was incredibly chilling. I just wish it had all gone another, perhaps less grosser, way in the latter half.

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review 2018-04-14 17:31
Wolf Sanctuary: The Wolves of Speedwell Forge - Chuck Rineer

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review!

I just adore wolves, we don’t have them here (though I believe they are slowly returning though), so the only chances to see wolves are at the zoo and in books/on tv. So when I spotted this book, promising lots of wolves and photographs, I just had to request it. And yay, for getting accepted!

When I first started I was a bit worried this would contain tons of text. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading (duh), and I love learning about wolves, but I mostly wanted this book for the photographs of wolves. :P Sometimes there are days when you just want visual instead of words.
But thankfully the texts soon got less and less, instead it became more and more photography, and I was delighted.

Of course the text parts were also interested to read, I especially took a liking to the caption under the photographs (when they were there).

The wolves were beautiful, gorgeous, though I have to say seeing them snarling and fangs out made me terrified. Yes, I know that wolves aren’t to be messed with (doesn’t everyone?), but most photographs focus on the cuteness, the fluffiness, the playfulness and then there was a whole chapter featuring them with fangs bared and lots of scariness radiating from the photographs.

I definitely enjoyed this book, it was lovely. The quality of the photographs is high (though I have to say some looked photoshopped).
All in all, if you are a fan of wolves I would recommend you read this book!

Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com/

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review 2018-02-19 00:00
Blackbirds - Chuck Wendig I wanted to like Blackbirds, but I just couldn’t get into it. The first few pages were awesome, but after that realization sunk into me that Miriam – though amusingly crude – feels like a middle-aged man’s version of a spunky young woman. And the other characters felt a bit like they were extras paid to show up for the day. No depth, no presence. Just show up, say your lines, and go.

Then there was the scene where they’re talking about rape. “No means no,” she says. “Not usually,” he says. And I’m so tired of that. So bloody tired of that. Can we please stop putting crap like that in books? I’m also tired of reading about broken people in abusive, controlling relationships that are apparently at the mercy of their hormones even when they hate someone. (Maybe I’m just weird, but if someone has done something to me that’s deplorable, I can’t even begin to get turned on by them…)

Blackbirds felt incomplete. I can’t really put my finger on why, but it felt like it skimmed the surface of the story it could have been. I don’t expect deep, thought-provoking literature when I read, but I couldn’t have went into Blackbirds past my ankles even with a sledgehammer to knock the bottom out a bit. It’s not something I’ve experienced with his other works, so I have to wonder if it’s just my inability to believe in Miriam that kept me apart from the story.

However, Wendig knows how to write, and the frenetic pace of Blackbirds made the story easy to read. There’s a lot of naughty language, a hefty amount of blood, and enough violence to appease the crowd at an MMA fight. Even being completely detached from the story, I still zoomed through it. It could never, by any stretch of the imagination, be called a slog to get through.

I like Chuck Wendig. As an author I think he’s pretty good at what he does. Zeroes was awesome. Invasive was fun. As a person, I’ve admired his take-no-crap, sell-no-crap attitude that he’s demonstrated on Twitter. He’s blunt, supportive, and amusing. I respect that. But I do not care for Blackbirds.
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review 2018-02-06 20:13
Wolf Sanctuary: The Wolves of Speedwell Forge by Chuck Rineer
Wolf Sanctuary: The Wolves of Speedwell Forge - Chuck Rineer

What a wonderful book. Not only are there photo's of wolves but there is also a lot of information about wolves. The book features The Wolves of Speedwell Forge Wold Sanctuary in Pennsylvania.


In 1976 The Darlington family was given a wolf dog. In 1980 the state of Pennsylvania decided that wolves were exotic pets, and that all owners of exotic pets needed a special permit in order to keep their pets. Of course the Darlington's applied for the permit. After receiving the permit to keep their wolves the Game Commission came to them to ask if they would consider letting them bring wolves to them instead of euthanizing them. And that was the beginning of the Wolf Sanctuary. Now more then 3 decades later the Sanctuary is still going strong. In 2007 the Sanctuary starting giving tours and educational programs in order to get more people to visit.


Chuck Rineer the author of the book has been volunteering since 2007 at the sanctuary. He has done an amazing job with the photos in this book. Documenting these beautiful animals and sharing them with the world.


I loved reading the stories and tidbits featuring the wolves by name. I would love to someday go and visit the sanctuary in person.


I received this book from the Author or Publisher via Netgalley.com to read and review.

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