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review 2018-07-22 00:20
4.8 Out Of 5 "Liar, Liar, Liar" STARS
The Good Liar - Catherine McKenzie

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~BOOK BLURB~

The Good Liar

Catherine McKenzie

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Can you hide a secret with the whole world watching?

 

When an explosion rips apart a Chicago building, the lives of three women are forever altered.

 

A year later, Cecily is in mourning. She was supposed to be in the building that day. Instead, she stood on the street and witnessed it going down, with her husband and best friend inside. Kate, now living thousands of miles away, fled the disaster and is hoping that her past won’t catch up with her. And Franny, a young woman in search of her birth mother, watched the horror unfold on the morning news, knowing that the woman she was so desperate to reconnect with was in the building.

 

Now, despite the marks left by the tragedy, they all seem safe. But as its anniversary dominates the media, the memories of that terrifying morning become dangerous triggers. All these women are guarding important secrets. Just how far will they go to keep them?

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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I was totally absorbed in this cleverly plotted mystery-thriller, and I finished listening to it in two days.  The characters were easily relatable…even when they were being slightly or not-so-slightly evil.  It was filled with twists and turns, some that had me gasping, others that had me contemplating if it was going in a certain direction.  With its "I-knew-it" moments and its "O-my-gosh-no-way" moments; this was turning out to be my kind of mystery.  Coupled with an ending that left me somewhat awed.  I think when I finished, I even said out loud, to no one in particular, except maybe the dog, Wow, now that's an ending!

 

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~MY RATING~

4.8STARS - GRADE=A

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 5/5

Main Characters~ 4.7/5

Secondary Characters~ 4.5/5

The Feels~ 5/5

Pacing~ 5/5

Addictiveness~ 5/5

Theme or Tone~  4.5/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4.5/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 5/5

Originality~ 5/5

Ending~ 5/5

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Book Cover~ It's okay…not overly compelling, but I think it goes with the story.

Narration~ 4.5 collectively for Teri Clark Linden, Kate Rudd, Whitney Dykhouse, JD Jackson was excellently done.  I really like each person having their own voice.

Setting~ Mostly Chicago &  some in Montreal

Source~ Audiobook (KU Read & Listen)

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review 2018-07-21 21:48
4.3 Out Of 5 "for the likable brain-eaters" STARS
Warm Bodies - Isaac Marion

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~BOOK BLURB~

Warm Bodies

Isaac Marion

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R is having a no-life crisis—he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead. He may occasionally eat people, but he’d rather be riding abandoned airport escalators, listening to Sinatra in the cozy 747 he calls home or collecting souvenirs from the ruins of civilization.

 

And then he meets a girl.

 

First as his captive, then his reluctant guest, Julie is a blast of living color in R’s gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn't want to eat this girl—although she looks delicious—he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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A mild, in terms of violence, take on zombies…which is the perfect kind of Zombie story for me, because the violent, run-for-your-life kind give me nightmares. 

 

R is oddly likable and Julie is endearing.  The narrator gave this an air of calm and collectiveness.  The ending gave some hope, which is something that most zombie books don't really have an abundance of, maybe that's why I usually can't connect.  All in all, an excellent addition to this genre…and...there is a second book, I think a third is in the making.  Also…now I can watch the movie.

 

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~MY RATING~

4.3STARS - GRADE=A-

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4.2/5

Main Characters~ 4.3/5

Secondary Characters~ 4.2/5

The Feels~ 4/5

Pacing~ 4.2/5

Addictiveness~ 4.3/5

Theme or Tone~ 4.2/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4.7/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4/5

Originality~ 5/5

Ending~ 4.3/5 Cliffhanger~ Not really, but there is a second book.

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Book Cover~ Movie Edition Cover…meh…I like the other one better.

Narration~ Kevin Kenerly

Series~ Warm Bodies #1

Setting~ I'm not really sure…an Airport and a Stadium???

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

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review 2018-07-15 15:29
4 Out Of 5 "a movie and a book" STARS
Winter's Bone: A Novel (Audio) - Daniel Woodrell,Emma Galvin

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~BOOK BLURB~

Winter's Bone

Danial Woodrell

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The sheriff's deputy at the front door brings hard news to Ree Dolly. Her father has skipped bail on charges that he ran a crystal meth lab, and the Dollys will lose their house if he doesn't show up for his next court date.

 

Ree's father has disappeared before. The Dolly clan has worked the shadowy side of the law for generations, and arrests (and attempts to avoid them) are part of life in Rathlin Valley. But the house is all they have, and Ree's father would never forfeit it to the bond company unless something awful happened. With two young brothers depending on her and a mother who's entered a kind of second childhood, Ree knows she has to bring her father back, dead or alive, or else see her family turned out into the unforgiving cold.

 

Sixteen-year-old Ree, who has grown up in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks, learns quickly that asking questions of the rough Dolly clan can be a fatal mistake. She perseveres past obstacles of every kind and finally confronts the top figures in the family's hierarchy.

 

Along the way to a shocking revelation, Ree discovers unexpected depths in herself and in a family network that protects its own at any cost.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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Initially, the spare writing, left me constantly trying to fill in the blanks.  I was hoping that watching the movie would fill some of those in…and it did a few, actually.  I mostly just picked out the differences between the movie and the book, though.    There were quite a few, including the most obvious one; Ree's siblings.  The movie has a boy and a girl, where the book has two boys. 

 

Despite that, I would say that this story made an impression on me.  With the harsh living conditions and indelible characters, and the hopelessness of Ree's situation, I really felt for her.  Ree is poignantly portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, and actually, the entire cast is spot on.  I think the book is better for the obvious and usual reasons but I also think watching the movie rounded out my experience of the Winter's Bone altogether.

 

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~MY RATING~

4STARS - GRADE=B+

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 3.8/5

Main Character~ 5/5

Secondary Characters~ 4/5

The Feels~ 4/5

Pacing~ 4/5

Addictiveness~ 4/5

Theme or Tone~ 3.8/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 3/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4/5

Originality~ 4/5

Ending~ 4/5

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Book Cover~ Movie Cover…

Narration~ ☆4☆ for Emma Galvin, her voice was perfect for this.

Setting~ Rathlin Valley, The Ozarks

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

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review 2018-07-13 18:08
4.7 Out Of 5 "skin-shifting" STARS
Blood for Blood (Wolf by Wolf) - Ryan Graudin

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~BOOK BLURB~

Blood for Blood

Ryan Graudin

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There would be blood. Blood for blood. Blood to pay. An entire world of it.

 

For the resistance in 1950s Germany, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun.

Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love?

This gripping, thought-provoking sequel to Wolf by Wolf will grab readers by the throat with its cinematic writing, fast-paced action, and relentless twists.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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Non-spoiler-y review for both books.

 

The narration for this series is fantastic, she does German words and accents with ease, all while staying completely comprehensible.  Yes, even for me.  I highly recommend the Audio version for this series.  Although, the novella Iron to Iron is only available in book format, but well worth the read anyway.

 

An alluring, atmospheric, alternative historical where the Germans and Japanese win WWII.  In the first book Wolf by Wolf, the resistance recruits Yael a skin-shifter (Sounds a bit paranormal-ish…but it's really more like Science Fiction with the way it's done.) to impersonate Adele Wolfe, a racer in the Axis Tour, to assassinate Hitler.  Things end on a cliffhanger and Blood for Blood picks up where the first book leaves off.  From there it's a race of a different kind.  To not only live but follow through on killing the real Hitler.  The writing is captivating and the characters are inspiring.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

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~MY RATING~

4.7STARS - GRADE=A

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4.7/5

Main Characters~ 5/5

Secondary Characters~ 5/5

The Feels~ 4.5/5

Pacing~ 4.2/5

Addictiveness~ 5/5

Theme or Tone~ 5/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 5/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 5/5

Originality~ 5+/5

Ending~ 4.5/5 Cliffhanger~ No, not at all.

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Book Cover~ Awesome

Narration~ ☆5☆ for Christa Lewis...so good!

Series~ Wolf by Wolf #2

Setting~ Japan & Germany

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

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review 2018-07-10 23:21
4 Out Of 5 "Norco-induced paranoia" STARS
Obscura - Joe Hart

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~BOOK BLURB~

Obscura

Joe Hart

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In the near future, an aggressive and terrifying new form of dementia is affecting victims of all ages. The cause is unknown, and the symptoms are disturbing. Dr. Gillian Ryan is on the cutting edge of research and desperately determined to find a cure. She’s already lost her husband to the disease, and now her young daughter is slowly succumbing as well. After losing her funding, she is given the unique opportunity to expand her research. She will travel with a NASA team to a space station where the crew has been stricken with symptoms of a similarly inexplicable psychosis—memory loss, trances, and violent, uncontrollable impulses.

Crippled by a secret addiction and suffering from creeping paranoia, Gillian finds her journey becoming a nightmare as unexplainable and violent events plague the mission. With her grip weakening on reality, she starts to doubt her own innocence. And she’s beginning to question so much more—like the true nature of the mission, the motivations of the crew, and every deadly new secret space has to offer.

Merging thrilling science-fiction adventure with mind-bending psychological suspense, Wall Street Journal bestselling author Joe Hart explores both the vast mysteries of outer space and the even darker unknown that lies within ourselves.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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Obscura is one part psychological thriller, one part critical journey into deep space, and another part scientific search for a cure for a devastating disease, with a dousing of Norco induced paranoia; tossed together with mostly likable characters.  I should have fully connected with this more than I did.  Maybe it was the lackluster characters or the narration, or that it was to science fiction-y for me.  Maybe…it’s a little of each.

 

I will say this…Obscura could be awesome as a movie, I'm quite certain it would hold my complete attention in that context.  While I definitely liked this, I just always felt somewhat detached while listening.  You know when you're watching something on TV while scrolling through social media on your phone.  It was kind of like that, basically, I was easily distracted.  But seriously, what I'm really trying to say is you should totally give this a try if the synopsis sounds good to you.

 

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~MY RATING~

4STARS - GRADE=B+

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4.7/5

Main Characters~ 3.7/5

Secondary Characters~ 3.5/5

The Feels~ 3.8/5

Pacing~ 4.3/5

Addictiveness~ 4.2/5

Theme or Tone~ 4.5/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4.2/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.3/5

Originality~ 4/5

Ending~ 4.5/5 Cliffhanger~ Sort of…

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Book Cover~ It drew me in…

Narration~☆3.5☆ for Christina Traister...she was okay, I guess.

Setting~ Outer Space --between Earth and Mars, mostly

Source~ Audiobook (KU Read & Listen)

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