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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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review 2018-07-08 19:23
Fry up for my reading slump
Halfway to the Grave - Jeaniene Frost

Well, that ended on an unexpected note. Despite how HARD I rolled my eyes through many points (i.e. the sexy segments, and the blurt out our past and wounds, and the hit you love you) for sheer teen-angst intensity, I'm somewhat interested in what follows. I mean, we are past the AWESOME FIRST ORGASM, and the first blushes of ONE (FIRST) TRUE LOVE! (what? I can totally use caps, they are serious business here). I imagine I'd be setting myself for a lot of I CAN'T BE WITH MY BELOVED angst for volume two, though, so not sure yet. Might be that volume three is worth it? So little time, so many books. Maybe if I want another fry in my next slump.

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review 2018-07-03 11:25
4/5: Challenger Deep, Neal Shusterman
Challenger Deep - Neal Shusterman

Caden Bosch is a normal fifteen year old. A little geeky, a good artist. He’s sarcastic and witty and fun to be around. But he’s falling apart. He thinks the kid at school, the one he passes in the corridor and doesn’t know, is going to kill him. His parents may not be who they say they are. He starts to hear voices that tell him to do things he doesn’t want to do…

This is a difficult book to rate. As a work of fiction, I would rate this quite low, perhaps 2/5. The story drags a little at times, and Caden’s relationships are muddy and ill-defined in places.

But here’s the thing: This isn’t a work of fiction, as Shusterman says in the notes at the end. This is a semi-fictional biography of his son and his declining mental health. I’ve never read a book on schizophrenia before, so there’s no baseline. There’s nothing to say, “Compared to ‘X’ this is better or worse.” I’m not an expert on how accurate it is, so I can’t rate it on that.

I misted up a few times while I was reading it. I also laughed out loud in others. But, my god, Caden’s parents – and by extension, Shusterman - must have felt so helpless. You can only cry with them, as powerless as they are as they watch their son dissolve.

Running alongside Caden’s story is a wider symbolic journey he’s taking on a sailing ship, crewed with representations of the people around him in the real world. He knows where he’s going – The Marianas Trench – but he doesn’t know how long it will take him, or why he’s on the ship in the first place. It’s a personal journey of discovery and revelation, of choices and friendships. No spoilers, but not everyone makes it – in the real world and on his journey. Sometimes people get lost on those oceans and never make landfall again.

Most terrifying of all is when Caden is at the depths of his illness. His journey and reality blur together, without transition or warning. It’s jarring enough that we as readers have to check again where we think he should be. He undergoes dissociation for a few chapters, referring to himself in the third person (“You look at your sister”, not “I look at my sister”). He is, in literal terms, out of his mind.

I didn’t know much beyond the barest layman’s knowledge of schizophrenia when I started this book. People hearing voices, I thought, and that was it. I didn’t know about the other symptoms: the growing paranoia, the mania, the dissociative personality. The closest I could come as an analogy would be the engine of Caden’s brain is red-lining at 4000 RPM and won’t slow down even if he could turn it off. I learned things from this story.

I have a feeling that this was made with slow and deliberate care, an intense desire to get it right. I wonder how many times Shusterman had to stop writing so he could stop crying. I certainly had to when I was reading it.

Neal Shusterman didn’t write this book for the reviews, or the money it’s making him. He wrote it because he had to, and he wrote it so it helps someone else understand.

And like the best of stories, it worked.

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review 2018-06-24 00:46
Down in the Deep
The Deep - Nick Cutter

Finished it, loved it. Cutter is an incredible writer and I encourage every horror lover to read his stuff. I did like The Troop better, but The Deep is an incredible and gut wrenching story.

 

I might write a longer review later but here’s the short and sweet: The scares are awesome. This book is a really amazing example of Cosmic Horror. If you love Lovecraftian stories, this one is for you. It’s a slow burn but it’s worth it. I loved Luke as a protagonist. The big weakness for me is I do think the story got a little out of hand towards the end. I think it got just a bit too complicated. Still, loved it.

 

Final rating: 4.5 out of 5. Fuck the ocean.

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text 2018-06-24 00:15
Reading progress update: I've read 250 out of 352 pages.
The Deep - Nick Cutter

I’m not crying over LB, you are! I just have something in my eye....

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