Book Review: Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Published by Flatiron Books on October 8, 2019

Series: Alex Stern, #1

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy

Format & Length: hardcover, 458

Source: Netgalley

Find on Goodreads

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Continue reading “Book Review: Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo”

Book Review: Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft, by Various

Future Visions, by Various

Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft by Various

Published by Microsoft & Melcher Media on November 17, 2015

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, science fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 224

Source: purchased

Find on Goodreads

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft is an anthology of new short work from some of the greatest science fiction writers in the field. These visionary stories explore prediction science, quantum computing, real-time translation, machine learning, and much more. The authors used inside access to leading-edge work from Microsoft Research as inspiration, crafting pieces that predict the near-future of technology – and examine its complex relationship to our core humanity.

Future Visions features contributions from:

Elizabeth Bear
Greg Bear
David Brin
Nancy Kress
Ann Leckie
Jack McDevitt
Seanan McGuire
Robert J. Sawyer
…along with a short graphic novel by Blue Delliquanti and Michele Rosenthal, plus original illustrations by Joey Camacho.

These are some of today’s most visionary creators—and they’ve joined together to give us a preview of tomorrow.

Continue reading “Book Review: Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft, by Various”

Book Review: The Revenant, by Sonia Gensler

The Revenant, by Sonia Gensler

The Revenant by Sonia Gensler

Published by Ember on May 14, 2013 (originally published June 14, 2011)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction, mystery, paranormal, young adult

Format & Length: paperback, 352

Source: purchased

Find on Goodreads

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

When Willie arrives in Indian Territory, she knows only one thing: no one can find out who she really is. To escape a home she doesn’t belong in, she assumes the name of a former classmate and accepts a teaching position at the Cherokee Female Seminary.

Nothing prepares her for what she finds. Her pupils are the daughters of the Cherokee elite–educated and more wealthy than she–and the school is cloaked in mystery. A student drowned in the river last year, and the girls whisper that she was killed by a jealous lover. Willie’s room is the very room the dead girl slept in. The students say her spirit haunts it.

Willie doesn’t believe in ghosts, but when strange things start happening at the school, she isn’t sure anymore. She’s also not sure what to make of a boy from the nearby boys’ school who has taken an interest in her–and whose past is cloaked in secrets. Soon, even Willie has to admit that the revenant may be trying to tell her something. . . .

Continue reading “Book Review: The Revenant, by Sonia Gensler”

Book Review: Good Girls Lie, by J.T. Ellison

Good Girls Lie, by J.T. Ellison

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

Published by MIRA on December 31, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, thriller

Format & Length: e-book, 384

Source: Netgalley

Find on Goodreads

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new novel examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to to protect their secrets.

Continue reading “Book Review: Good Girls Lie, by J.T. Ellison”

Book Review: The Family Upstairs, by Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs, by Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Published by Atria Books on November 5, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, suspense

Format & Length: e-book, 352

Source: Netgalley

Find on Goodreads

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone and Watching You comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Family Upstairs, by Lisa Jewell”

Book Review: Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live), by Eve Rodsky

Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live), by Eve Rodsky

Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live) by Eve Rodsky

Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on October 1, 2019

Series: n/a

Genre(s): nonfiction

Format & Length: hardcover, 352

Source: library

Find on Goodreads

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

A revolutionary, real-world solution to the problem of unpaid, invisible work that women have shouldered for too long–from a woman tapped by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine as the expert on this topic for a new generation of women.

It started with the Sh*t I Do List. Tired of being the “shefault” parent responsible for all aspects of her busy household, Eve Rodsky counted up all the unpaid, invisible work she was doing for her family — and then sent that list to her husband, asking for things to change. His response was… underwhelming. Rodsky realized that simply identifying the issue of unequal labor on the home front wasn’t enough: She needed a solution to this universal problem. Her sanity, identity, career (and her marriage) depended on it.

The result is Fair Play: a time- and anxiety-saving system that offers couples a completely new way to divvy up domestic responsibilities. Rodsky interviewed more than five hundred men and women from all walks of life to figure out what the invisible work in a family actually entails and how to get it all done efficiently. With four easy-to-follow rules, 100 household tasks, and a figurative card game you play with your partner, Fair Play helps you prioritize what’s important to your family and who should take the lead on every chore from laundry to homework to dinner.

“Winning” this game means rebalancing your home life, reigniting your relationship with your significant other, and reclaiming your Unicorn Space — as in, the time to develop the skills and passions that keep you interested and interesting. Are you ready to try Fair Play? Let’s deal you in.

Continue reading “Book Review: Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live), by Eve Rodsky”

Book Review: The Game, by Terry Schott

The Game, by Terry Schott

The Game by Terry Schott

Published by Smashwords Edition on August 22, 2013

Series: The Game is Life, #1

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, science fiction, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 273

Source: purchased

Find on Goodreads

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

The Game…
A virtual reality simulation played by over a billion children around the world. The best players are celebrities, adored and worshiped by countless fans. Zack is a superstar among players.
His final play may change the world, forever…

Continue reading “Book Review: The Game, by Terry Schott”

Mini Reviews: His Dark Materials Trilogy

Mini Reviews: His Dark Materials Trilogy

For this set of mini reviews I’m going to talk about the His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. I’ve been intrigued by this series for some time and after purchasing the ebooks over a year ago, finally decided to dig in and (more or less) marathon my way through them. Here is the blurb for the first book, The Golden Compass (published as Northern Lights in some countries), and read on for my (spoiler-free) thoughts on all three books.

What Lyra likes best is “clambering over the College roofs with Roger the kitchen boy who was her particular friend, to spit plum stones on the heads of passing Scholars or to hoot like owls outside a window where a tutorial was going on, or racing through the narrow streets, or stealing apples from the market, or waging war.”

But Lyra’s carefree existence changes forever when she and her daemon, Pantalaimon, first prevent an assassination attempt against her uncle, the powerful Lord Asriel, and then overhear a secret discussion about a mysterious entity known as Dust.

Soon she and Pan are swept up in a dangerous game involving disappearing children, a beautiful woman with a golden monkey daemon, a trip to the far north, and a set of allies ranging from “gyptians“ to witches to an armor-clad polar bear.

Continue reading “Mini Reviews: His Dark Materials Trilogy”

Mini Audiobook Reviews: Themis Files Trilogy

Mini Reviews_ Themis Files Trilogy Header

For this set of mini reviews, I’d like to talk about the Themis Files trilogy. Having heard some fabulous things about these books ever since the release of Sleeping Giants, I’ve been keen to check them out for myself. This science fiction series has a unique premise, as you can see from the blurb below.

An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian, told in interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by a quest for truth—and a fight for control of earthshaking power.
 
A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

Does this sound like your kind of book? Keep reading to see my thoughts!

Continue reading “Mini Audiobook Reviews: Themis Files Trilogy”

Audiobook Review: Armada, by Ernest Cline

Armada, by Ernest Cline

Armada by Ernest Cline

Published by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group on July 14, 2015

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, science fiction

Format & Length: audiobook, 11:49:19

Source: library

Find on Goodreads

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

Continue reading “Audiobook Review: Armada, by Ernest Cline”