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review 2018-06-26 02:44
Before I Fall
Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver,Sarah Drew

Samantha Kingston reveals a stunning thing at the start of her first-person narrative:  she has died.  Sam is a popular high-school senior in suburban Connecticut, who dies a sudden, accidental death--and then finds herself reliving her last day, February 12 (aka "Cupid Day" at her school), again and again.  She soon finds that she can live that day in any number of different ways, changing various outcomes and learning new things about classmates and teachers; her friends and even herself.  She is not sure if she can somehow undo her death, or perhaps at least discover a sequence of actions that removes her from the loop and allows her to move on to what's next (in the event that reliving that day is not her "next").  

 

I found this book addictive, listening to it any time I could (and also borrowing the Kindle version to read big chunks of it in text form).  Recommended, especially for readers who have enjoyed other books by Lauren Oliver.

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review 2018-06-24 00:46
How to Fall for the Wrong Man (Ladies of Passion, #3) by Harmony Williams
How to Fall for the Wrong Man - Harmony Williams

 

Harmony Williams pulled me into the masquerade. How to Fall for the Wrong Man should be called Mistakes Made when you Land The Right One. Edwin and Mary have gotten so used to playing their parts, their heart's have gotten lost in the shuffle. In her quest for independence, Mary ignores her feelings. Edwin wears his on his sleeve, yet doesn't fully understand them. Williams makes historical a modern treat with her lovable, clueless characters and her stories of enchanting love.

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review 2018-06-16 01:49
Before the Fall
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley

Several colleagues and I started an IRL book club at work four months ago.  We met at lunchtime on Thursday to discuss Before the Fall.  Marketed as a thriller with the hook “On a foggy summer night, eleven people—ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter—depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are the painter Scott Burroughs and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.” The book follows Scott in the days immediately following the crash with flashbacks to the lives of the now-deceased passengers and crew.

 

Surprisingly, our opinion of the book was unanimous.  Pretty much everybody was intrigued by the concept of the book and hated the execution. The general feeling was that Before the Fall wasn’t suspenseful enough for the thriller designation and that the story stopped living up to the promise of the opening sequence as soon as Scott left the hospital.

 

As one of my colleagues said, this book is awash in red herrings, but rather than them being fat meaty fish that we could believe in, there’s this swarm of pink minnows darting around pallid characters. 

 

While you can’t really say anything about how the book ends, or “whodunit” without spoilers, we were dissatisfied with how the book ended and had some significant questions about the timing of certain things.

 

As an aside, while the consensus is that we are unlikely to read anything else by Mr. Hawley, we wish that Gil the security guard had survived the crash so that he could be the protagonist of his own book.

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review 2018-06-13 03:28
Rise and Fall by Michael Whitehead
Legion Of The Undead: Rise and Fall - Michael Whitehead

Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it works mostly well as a stand alone.

I have returned to the land of Roman legions and zombies! I really loved the first book in the series and this is a decent follow up. My new favorite character is Garrick, a butcher who lives in Rome. He’s basically conscripted to guard the wall but he soon earns the respect of his centurion and fellow guards.

Vitus, the archer from Book 1, is still around but he’s not the sole main focus of the story. He does a great job of being the counterpoint to Garrick. Two Roman emperors are fighting for superiority. Titus is the rightful emperor but he doesn’t hold Rome. Indeed, he’s quite a distance away and there’s all those pesky zombies in the way. Meanwhile Otho holds Rome. However, he’s got these crazy secret zombie plans that could bring him to ruin.

This tale does have a weakness and that is the lack of ladies. Book 1 had some impressive female characters getting stuff done but this book totally sidelined Lucia and Flavia. We only get glimpses of them and when we do, they are there for comfort or romance. There is one woman who gets to smash some zombies but her role is brief and part of it is spent being rescued. Another woman gets her chance at Otho, but once again, she has a small, fleeting appearance.

The zombies themselves come in a few flavors. The newer, more robust ones can leap! Yikes! There also appears to be some evil paranormal force that drives them, having some hidden motive. I hope we learn more about that in Book 3. The pacing is really good, keeping me engaged the entire time but also avoiding zombie battle fatigue. 4/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Terry Self gave us yet another amazing performance. He had distinct voices for all the characters and his lady voices are feminine. I like his spooky voice for the evil paranormal entity. I also like his voice for Otho, who sounds like he’s talking with a mouth full of marbles. There were no technical issues with the recording. 5/5 stars.

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review 2018-06-12 05:50
A Terrifying Twist on the zombie genre
Dead of Night: A Zombie Novel - Jonathan Maberry
Fall of Night - Jonathan Maberry
Dark of Night - Flesh and Fire (Journalstone's Doubledown) - Lucas Mangum,Rachael Lavin,Jonathan Maberry

 

This is how the world ends.

 

- First sentence

 

 

Wow. Reading Dead of Night blew my mind. Imagine being trapped inside your brain, having no control over your actions, but feeling and experiencing everything. Oh, and your body is a zombie, eating people. The people trapped inside zombie bodies just wanted to die and escape the horror. Maberry captured their thoughts and feelings perfectly.

 

A scientist creates a formula that mimics death, with the purpose of punishing serial killers in the worst possible way. He plans to inject the formula during the execution process and bury the body in an unmarked grave. When the killer's consciousness revives, they are unable to move, forced to experience the pain of decomposition, and the torture of being buried partially alive. Of course, things don't go as planned and the world gradually goes to hell.

 

I've been a fan of Jonathan Maberry's work since I read Rot & Ruin several years ago. The events in the Dead of Night series take place years before that, in the same world. He is an amazing writer. I'm looking forward to reading more by him.

 

Overall the series was fantastic. Dead of Night (book 1) was my favorite, followed by Fall of Night (#2), and then Dark of Night (#3). Dark of Night was very short, but I enjoyed seeing characters from other series in that one. 

 

It was funny seeing the characters watching dead people reanimate and not believing their eyes. Or, seeing the zombies taking bites out of people and then watching others trying to reason with them. Zombies are so prevalent in our entertainment that I felt much more knowledgable on the subject than the characters in the books. How did they not realize what was happening and how did it get so out of control? The characters also wrestle with moral issues - is it ethical to destroy a town full of innocent people in order to prevent an apocalypse?

 

Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...?

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