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review 2019-01-11 17:45
THE LAST: A NOVEL by Hanna Jameson
The Last - Hanna Jameson

 

THE LAST: A NOVEL by Hanna Jameson is an intriguing look at how people might deal with the end of the world. In this case, starting with a nuclear bomb and a cell phone notification!

 

Jon Keller and and a group of plucky survivors find themselves stranded in a resort hotel in Switzerland when nuclear bombs are dropped on bigger cities around the world. He and everyone else there are stuck with no access to the outside world-the internet goes down and cell phones no longer work. With no ability to communicate Jon has no idea how his family is faring back in the U.S. On top of all that, the group discovers the dead body of a young girl in the water tank atop the hotel. When was this girl killed and why was her body tossed into the water tank? Will Jon and the others survive, and if so-what will they have to do to do so? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I was impressed by the writing style as it was so relatable and it flowed easily throughout. Most of the main characters were fleshed out beautifully, however there were a few more that we never learned much about. I think that was a wise decision-because focusing any more on the lesser members of the group would have detracted too much from the story.

 

As the characters came to know each other, we came to know them as well. Of course, conflicts between them arose-some more important than others. Political views become involved and depending on where YOU stand on the political spectrum you may or may not enjoy that turn of events. (But isn't it just like people to argue over politics when it's possible that "politics" no longer even exist? Humanity just has to have someone to blame, doesn't it?)

 

Jon styles himself the journalist of the group and as such collects everyone's stories while he also becomes rather obsessed with the murdered girl. As such, he also becomes a detective of sorts, interrogating people and trying to get justice of any kind for the victim. There were interesting threads that cropped up during this story-some followed through, some not so much. There was also the constant fear of being attacked by other survivors as well as the very real fears of running out of food and water.

 

My only issues with this tale were the leads that ended up going nowhere and the fact that the ending seemed to wind up too quickly. I would have liked to have learned more about the possible supernatural aspects, (as in did they exist or not?), and also, a little more about the denouement, which I can't get further into here without spoilers. These items are a bit picayune, but hey, that's how I felt.

 

Hanna Jameson has a hit on her hands with THE LAST: A NOVEL. It was intriguing and mysterious, while at the same time entertaining and engaging. I hit a certain point during reading when I knew there was no longer any way to put this book down without knowing what happened. I HAD to know and I bet you will need to as well, if you give this book a chance. I highly recommend that you do!

 

*Thank you to Atria and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-06-22 18:30
THE WOMAN IN THE WOODS by John Connolly
The Woman in the Woods - John Connolly

 

At this, the 16th novel in the Charlie Parker series, I find myself still blown away by the quality of the writing and the depth of the story. Charlie Parker rocks!

 

But it's not just him, is it? It's Louis and Angel, a pair of gay henchmen, (but I mean "henchmen" in the best way), whose story has to be counted among the greatest love stories of all time, at least in my humble opinion. Their relationship is complicated and wonderful all at once, as is my love for them both.

 

It's Charlie's daughters, both alive and dead, and my fears for them and what might happen in the future.

 

It's Moxie Castin, the lawyer with a heart of gold and a soft spot for the Star of David, which plays such an important role in this story.

 

I won't rehash the plot, because the synopsis and about 10 million other reviews already do that. I will say that the end of this book left me rattled and somewhat angry. 

A couple of people still deserve their due and I have no doubt they're going to get it, but it didn't happen here.

(spoiler show)

However, I know that Charlie Parker doesn't fail, (at least he hasn't yet), and I will be there, bright eyed and bushy tailed when it happens. In the meantime? I'll be keeping an eye on those Times of London crossword puzzles.

 

THE WOMAN IN THE WOODS gets my highest recommendation. Period!

 

*Thank you to Atria and to NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it.*

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review 2018-02-20 18:45
Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone
Zero Day: The Hatching Series, Book 3 (Hatching Series, The) - Ezekiel Boone

ZERO DAY was a fun wrap up to the trilogy that started with THE HATCHING.

 

The narrative is still following all the same people, people who are now facing the fallout from a few nuclear strikes across the U.S., and the previous ones which occurred in various places around the world. The spiders are still continuing to mutate and evolve with the most dangerous of them all appearing in this book.

 

I enjoyed following the characters around on each of their missions and adventures. What I did not like was the following, (do not click if you don't want to know): 

 where are the dead people? None of the main people die! I wish the story had more guts by sacrificing at least one of the main characters. Having them all live was just playing it too safe for my liking. Of course, I like it when everyone dies, so your mileage may vary.) I rarely felt anyone was in real danger.

(spoiler show)

 

Additionally, I wanted more spider action. In the previous two books, there was lots of it. They were both your usual quick chapter Creature Features with lots of spiders overcoming people, animals, etc... In this book there is little of that, other than during the denouement, which was disappointing.

 

As a whole, this series was a ton of fun! Even though I found this entry to be slightly wanting, the trilogy itself was a blast, with a couple of real twists that I enjoyed. And, I have to admit that at times, reading it made me itchy!

 

If Creature Features are your thing, then I highly recommend you check out this trilogy! I'd just advise you to have lots of lights on, so you can immediately spot any insects heading your way.

 

*Thanks to Atria and to NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2017-09-18 12:45
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen
Lightning Men: A Novel - Thomas Mullen

 

Atlanta in 1950 was a crowded place. The war was over and housing was scarce. Racial tensions were brewing, neighborhood lines were being redrawn,  and not everyone was happy about that. Even the fact that black policemen now served in the Negro areas of Atlanta didn't mean these officers had the respect of white officers nor that of the residents. When a white man gets beaten down by the Klan and then a Negro beaten down a few days later, tensions threaten to erupt. What happens next? You'll have to read Lightning Men to find out!

 

I was excited when I discovered there was a sequel to last year's Darktown. I was surprised at what I learned from that novel and I learned a lot from this one as well. For instance, I'd never heard of the Columbians before. Apparently, this group of neo-Nazis formed, (and so soon after the war in what must have felt like a direct insult to the soldiers and survivors now living in Atlanta), to unite their hatred of both Jews and Negroes. They even dressed similarly to the SS officers in Germany, hence their nickname: lightning men. 

 

I also learned a lot about how the neighborhoods changed during that less than peaceful time in American history. It's often painful to read about, but it's interesting to see events from several different points of view. Rake, Boggs, Smith and MacInnis are well rounded characters and even now, after a second novel, I think they all still have some secrets in reserve. None of them are perfect and they are all struggling to find their place in this new world, their new police station, (even if it is in the basement of the YMCA), and in their new neighborhoods. Social change doesn't come easy and I think all of these characters recognize and respect that in their behavior, which made them believable to me and maybe a little lovable too.

 

Lightning Men is scary in a way, because it's easy to recognize some of the behaviors from this story on the nightly news today. It's also sad that so much good can begin to be undone by just a few hateful people in high places. Not only is this story a good one, but it reminded me that America always has to remain vigilant,  so that everything we have worked so hard for as a people, is not undone by only a powerful few. 

 

Highly recommended! You can get your copy here: Lightning Men

 

*Thank you to NetGalley & Atria for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-05-10 03:56
The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds (Atria Books) - H.G. Wells

I'm sure if I were alive in 1897 when this was first published, the long drawn-out passages of endless details would've blown my socks off. H. G. Wells certainly did have a healthy imagination, and the average reader back then wouldn't have anything to compare this to. The details would've been necessary. But in a world where we have thousands of alien invasion books and movies, including that recent "adaptation" of this book with Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning, I found myself wishing that Wells would stop setting the scene and just get to the point already.

 

The first several chapters are all setup. When the action finally gets underway, it's well-written and well-paced, and the vividness of Wells' writing is appreciated then. And then the action will be over and goes back to its previous dragging pace. The narrator is never given a name, nor much of a personality since he spends most of his time describing what everyone else is doing. He's just a TSTL dude from a podunk town outside London, and he's clearly not prepared for these alien shenanigans. 

He really is TSTL. He gets his wife out of town after the killing starts, and then he GOES BACK for no other reason than to see what happens. The fact he doesn't die disproves Darwinism.

(spoiler show)

 

I found myself comparing this to other alien movies I've seen, and figuring that Independence Day is the closest update of this book. (I can't comment on the Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning movie, since neither of those actors inspires me to go to the movie theatre.) I also wondered what a movie would look like if it was actually set at the same time as the book in the late 1800s - and then remembered Cowboys and Aliens. :D

 

The narrator, James Spencer, was decent. He was easy to follow along though his dialogue was stilted. The cool thing about him is that his voice had a very Cecil-esque tone to it, which made me really wish that Cecil Baldwin, who voices the podcast program Welcome to Night Vale, would narrate this story at some point. Given its broadcast history when Orson Welles decided to update the story in 1938, it just seems too meta to not happen. 

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