Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lock In

Author:  John Scalzi
Year: 2014
Publisher:  Audible Studioes
Narrator: Wil Wheaton

Goodreads Summary:

Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. Four percent suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And one percent find themselves “locked in”—fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus.
One per cent doesn't seem like a lot. But in the United States, that's 1.7 million people “locked in”...including the President's wife and daughter.
Spurred by grief and the sheer magnitude of the suffering, America undertakes a massive scientific initiative. Nothing can restore the ability to control their own bodies to the locked in. But then two new technologies emerge. One is a virtual-reality environment, “The Agora,” in which the locked-in can interact with other humans, both locked-in and not. The other is the discovery that a few rare individuals have brains that are receptive to being controlled by others, meaning that from time to time, those who are locked in can “ride” these people and use their bodies as if they were their own.
This skill is quickly regulated, licensed, bonded, and controlled. Nothing can go wrong. Certainly nobody would be tempted to misuse it, for murder, for political power, or worse...

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. Wil Wheaton is an excellent narrator. He reads with just the right amount of sarcasm and seriousness in his voice. And when you combine him with John Scalzi, magic happens. I always think that being stuck in a position to where your body was failing you but your brain was working perfectly would be such a nightmare. And in this case, Scalzi draws a world where that is the normal. I loved imaging what the world would be like with unaffected people interacting with people who were operating robots or another person's body. It's so fascinating. Then, Scalzi just weaved all this around a good old fashioned mystery. And there's nothing I love more than trying to figure out a mystery. Way to go, Scalzi.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

One Kick

Author:  Chelsea Cain
Series:  Kick Lannigan, Book 1
Year: 2014
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Audio
Narrator:  Heather Lind

Goodreads Summary:

Kick Lannigan, 21, is a survivor. Abducted at age six in broad daylight, the police, the public, perhaps even her family assumed the worst had occurred. And then Kathleen Lannigan was found, alive, six years later. In the early months following her freedom, as Kick struggled with PTSD, her parents put her through a litany of therapies, but nothing helped until the detective who rescued her suggested Kick learn to fight. Before she was thirteen, Kick learned marksmanship, martial arts, boxing, archery, and knife throwing. She excelled at every one, vowing she would never be victimized again. But when two children in the Portland area go missing in the same month, Kick goes into a tailspin. Then an enigmatic man Bishop approaches her with a proposition: he is convinced Kick's experiences and expertise can be used to help rescue the abductees. Little does Kick know the case will lead directly into her terrifying past…

What feels like ages ago, I read the first two books in Chelsea Cain's Archie Sheridan series. And what I remembered about them was being freaked out by the serial killer. When I saw that she was starting a new series, I decided to give the audiobook a try knowing how much I had enjoyed the others. Chelsea Cain still has it. I was rooting for Kick and dying to understand her train of thought and little idiosyncrasies. And when it turns out that the current kidnappings are related to her kidnapping, I loved watching her figure everything out and chase down the kidnappers. And the story did get freaky and scary at times. I loved that. Oh and I'm dying to learn what Bishop's angle is.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Author:  Kim Church
Year: 2014
Publisher:  Audible Studioes
Narrator:  Lauren Fortgang

Goodreads Description:

In this debut novel, 33-year-old Addie Lockwood bears and surrenders for adoption a son, her only child, without telling his father, little imagining how the secret will shape their lives. Told through letters and spare, precisely observed vignettes, Byrd is an unforgettable story about making and living with the most difficult, intimate, and far-reaching of choices.

I didn't know what to expect going in to this book and I have to admit it took me a little while to get in to the rhythm of the story and the writing. I didn't understand exactly what Church was doing and what was happening. But then it clicked and everything made sense. Not only did everything make sense but the story became heartbreaking and I kept hoping that everything was finally going to work out for Addie and she'd find peace. I liked the epistolary style of the book. It made everything seem more personal and private like I was looking in on someone's diary. Lauren Fortgang did a wonderful job with the narration and the audiobook is well worth listening to. 


Sunday, September 7, 2014


Author:  Terra Elan McVoy

Year: 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages:  331

Goodreads Summary:

Tabitha and her four best friends all wear purity rings, symbols of the virginity-until-marriage pledge they made years ago. Now Tab is fifteen, and her ring has come to mean so much more. It is a symbol of who she is and what she believes; a reminder of her promises to herself, and her bond to her friends.
But when Tab meets a boy whose kisses make her knees go weak, everything suddenly seems a lot more complicated. Tabitha's best friend, Morgan, is far from supportive, and for the first time, Tabitha is forced to keep secrets from the one person with whom she always shared everything. When one of those secrets breaks to the surface, Tab finds herself at the center of an unthinkable betrayal that splits her friends apart. As Tabitha's entire world comes crashing down around her, she is forced to re-examine her friendships, her faith, and what exactly it means to be pure.

This was a fun little romance that looked at some difficult issues that teens today face: purity, being true to yourself, and learning to stand up for your own beliefs even if it's at the expense of your friendships. The book never really got too deep and stayed somewhat superficial. But at the same time, it did make me think. In addition, it was a good romance that also focused on Tabitha's personal friendships and growth.

Friday, September 5, 2014

What's Left of Me

Author:  Kat Zhang
Series:  The Hybrid Chronicles, Book 1
Year:  2012
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Pages: 343

Goodreads Summary:

I should not exist. But I do.
Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .
For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

What's Left of Me provides a very  unusual concept. That of two souls residing in one body. Stephanie Meyer approached it in The Host but in a different way. Here either Eva or Addie is supposed to override the other one and become the dominant soul. But it turns out that they're able to co-exist and Eva hides underneath Addie's soul. But by co-existing, they are setting themselves up for being sent off and treated. I enjoyed this story a lot. I had issues at times following the dual personalities and keeping straight who was in charge but, all in all, this is a fantastic and creative book.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Before I Go To Sleep

Author:  S.J. Watson
Year:  2011
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 359

Goodreads Summary:

'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me...'

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love — all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine's life.

I loved the way S.J. Watson played with my mind. What happened to Christine? Why can't she remember? Can her husband, Ben, be trusted? I loved trying to figure out what had happened as Christine remembered little clues and I gained more information. I look forward to reading more of S.J. Watson's work.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Green Rider

Author:  Kristen Britain
Series:  Green Rider, Book 1
Year:  2000
Publisher:  DAW Books
Pages:  471

Goodreads Summary:

On her long journey home from school after a fight which will surely lead to her expulsion, Karigan G'ladheon ponders her future as she trudges through the immense forest called Green Cloak. But her thoughts are interrupted by the clattering of hooves as a galloping horse bursts from the woods, the rider slumped over his mount's neck, impaled by two black-shafted arrows. As the young man lies dying on the road, he tells Karigan that he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary messengers of the king, and that he bears a "life and death" message for King Zachary. He begs Karigan to carry his message, warning her not to read it, and when she reluctantly agrees, he makes her swear on his sword to complete his mission "for love of country." As he bestows upon her the golden winged-horse brooch which is the symbol of his office, he whispers on his dying breath, "Beware the shadow man..."

Karigan's promise changes her life forever. Pursued by unknown assassins, following a path only her horse seems to know, and accompanied by the silent specter of the original messenger, she herself becomes a legendary Green Rider. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, Karigan is hounded by dark beings bent on seeing that the message, and its reluctant carrier, never reach their destination.

Green Rider is a very well built and thought out book. I loved the world that Britian has created. I find Karigan to be a well-developed character who has a lot of courage but isn't afraid to admit her inexperience and shortcomings for the job that she has before her. Great start to what I hope continues to be a wonderful fantasy series.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Author:  Pierre Lemaitre
Series:  Verhoeven Trilogy, Book 2
Year:  2011
Publisher:  Albin Michel
Pages:  400

Amazon Summary:

Upon winning the prestigious 2013 Crime Writers Association International Dagger Award, the judges praised Alex by saying, "An original and absorbing ability to leash incredulity in the name of the fictional contract between author and reader... A police procedural, a thriller against time, a race between hunted and hunter, and a whydunnit, written from multiple points of view that explore several apparently parallel stories which finally meet."
Alex Prevost--kidnapped, savagely beaten, suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse in a tiny wooden cage--is running out of time. Her abductor appears to want only to watch her die. Will hunger, thirst, or the rats get her first?
Apart from a shaky eyewitness report of the abduction, Police Commandant Camille Verhoeven has nothing to go on: no suspect, no leads, and no family or friends anxious to find a missing loved one. The diminutive and brilliant detective knows from bitter experience the urgency of finding the missing woman as quickly as possible--but first he must understand more about her.


So this was one heck of a mystery/thriller. I found it impossible to put down even when it got really creepy and crawly in places. I had to know what was going to happen to Alex, who the kidnapper was, what was with all the killing and murders. And then with the other story. What was with that? I definitely did not expect this to go there when I started it. I really hope to reach more of this author's work. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Author:  Jenny Han
Series:  To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Book 1
Year: 2014
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Pages: 288

Goodreads Summary:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

This book is absolutely adorable. Laura Jean was an adorable protagonist. I loved following her relationship with Peter and with her previous loves. Watching Laura Jean deal with taking care of her family, adjusting to her older sister's move, and falling in love was a joy. To All the Boys I've Loved Before was my first experience with Jenny Han but I am definitely interested in reading more of her stories.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Flat-Out Celeste

Author:  Jessica Park
Year:  2014
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Pages:  336

Goodreads Summary:

For high-school senior Celeste Watkins, every day is a brutal test of bravery. And Celeste is scared. Alienated because she’s too smart, her speech too affected, her social skills too far outside the norm, she seems to have no choice but to retreat into isolation.
But college could set her free, right? If she can make it through this grueling senior year, then maybe. If she can just find that one person to throw her a lifeline, then maybe, just maybe.
Justin Milano, a college sophomore with his own set of quirks, could be that person to pull her from a world of solitude. To rescue her—that is, if she’ll let him.
Together, they may work. Together, they may save each other. And together they may also save another couple—two people Celeste knows are absolutely, positively flat-out in love.
Whether you were charmed by Celeste in Flat-Out Love or are meeting her for the first time, this book is a joyous celebration of differences, about battling private wars that rage in our heads and in our hearts, and—very much so— this is a story about first love.

I was so excited to see this book available. I absolutely loved Flat-Out Love and Flat-Out Matt. I thought these were terrific books and was so excited to get to Celeste's story. And it did not disappoint. This story had so many feelings attached to it and I just could not believe how connected I became to Celeste. I highly recommend this series to any one that loves a good romantic story.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sleep Donation

Author:  Karen Russell
Year: 2014
Publisher:  Atavist Books
Pages: 110

Goodreads Summary:

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Swamplandia!, and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, an imaginative and haunting novella about an insomnia epidemic set in the near future.
A crisis has swept America. Hundreds of thousands have lost the ability to sleep. Enter the Slumber Corps, an organization that urges healthy dreamers to donate sleep to an insomniac. Under the wealthy and enigmatic Storch brothers the Corps' reach has grown, with outposts in every major US city. Trish Edgewater, whose sister Dori was one of the first victims of the lethal insomnia, has spent the past seven years recruiting for the Corps. But Trish’s faith in the organization and in her own motives begins to falter when she is confronted by “Baby A,” the first universal sleep donor, and the mysterious "Donor Y."
Sleep Donation explores a world facing the end of sleep as we know it, where “Night Worlds” offer black market remedies to the desperate and sleep deprived, and where even the act of making a gift is not as simple as it appears.

This was a very interesting and enjoyable novella. I find it intriguing that there's a possibility of people dying from insomnia especially since I am a sufferer of insomnia. I loved the idea of donating sleep and found myself wishing that there was a way for me to get a sleep donation.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Author: Matthew Quick
Year: 2013
Publisher:  Hachette Audio
Narrator: Noah Galvin

Goodreads Summary:

How would you spend your birthday if you knew it would be your last?
Eighteen-year-old Leonard Peacock knows exactly what he'll do. He'll say goodbye.
Not to his mum - who he calls Linda because it annoys her - who's moved out and left him to fend for himself. Nor to his former best friend, whose torments have driven him to consider committing the unthinkable. But to his four friends: a Humphrey-Bogart-obsessed neighbour, a teenage violin virtuoso, a pastor's daughter and a teacher.
Most of the time, Leonard believes he's weird and sad but these friends have made him think that maybe he's not. He wants to thank them, and say goodbye.

Wow! That's the one word I'd use to describe this book. It was intensely emotional. I think I cried for half the book and not because it was sad and bad things were happening but because Quick was tugging at every single heartstring I have. I felt for Leonard and was dying to know what it was that drove him to make the decisions that he had made. Noah Galvin's narration was spot on. I absolutely loved this book. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

All Our Yesterdays

Author:  Cristin Terrill
Series: All Our Yesterdays, Book 1
Year: 2014
Publisher:  Tantor Audio
Narrator:  Meredith Mitchell

Goodreads Summary:

What would you change?
Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.
Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it... at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.
All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

I had no clue what to expect going into this book. I didn't know it was a time travel novel or exactly what was going to happen. I did figure a couple of things out pretty fast but I was pleasantly surprised at this story. I came to care about the characters and wanted Em to succeed in her task. I thought the book was very well crafted. It was fast paced and well plotted (is that the same as well crafted?) I especially liked the audiobook version and thought the narrator did an excellent job. I thought it ended well and am quite surprised that there will be a sequel coming up.