Review & Book vs. Movie: Stories of Your Life and Others, by Ted Chiang

Stories of Your Life and Others, by Ted Chiang

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
Published by Vintage on June 14, 2016 (first published July 2002)
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, science fiction
Format & Pages: paperback, 281
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Purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble, Book Depository

Ted Chiang’s first published story, “Tower of Babylon,” won the Nebula Award in 1990. Subsequent stories have won the Asimov’s SF Magazine reader poll, a second Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the Sidewise Award for alternate history. He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1992. Story for story, he is the most honored young writer in modern SF.

Now, collected here for the first time are all seven of this extraordinary writer’s stories so far-plus an eighth story written especially for this volume.

What if men built a tower from Earth to Heaven-and broke through to Heaven’s other side? What if we discovered that the fundamentals of mathematics were arbitrary and inconsistent? What if there were a science of naming things that calls life into being from inanimate matter? What if exposure to an alien language forever changed our perception of time? What if all the beliefs of fundamentalist Christianity were literally true, and the sight of sinners being swallowed into fiery pits were a routine event on city streets? These are the kinds of outrageous questions posed by the stories of Ted Chiang. Stories of your life . . . and others.

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Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Published by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group on May 9, 2017
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, contemporary
Format & Pages: audiobook
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Purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble, Book Depository

Eleanor Oliphant is a bit of an odd ball. She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. That, combined with her unusual appearance (scarred cheek, sometime wearer of an eczema glove), means that Eleanor has become a bit of a loner – or ‘self-contained entity’ as she calls it. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life and phone chats with ‘Mummy’ (in prison for crimes unknown).

But everything changes when Eleanor falls for the local Hipster-band frontman, Johnnie Rivers. As Eleanor prepares herself for her inevitable union with the object of her desire (appropriate attire, new laptop for Instagram stalking), she inadvertently befriends the new guy from her office, Raymond.

As Eleanor navigates the waters of obsessive love and her long-distance relationship with ‘Mummy’, she realises she can only overcome the horrors of her past if she accepts a little help from Raymond…

Filled with unabashed wit, Eleanor Oliphant follows its quirky and troubled female narrator as she realises that the only way to survive her current state of mind is to open her heart to friendship.

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Review: Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch

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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Published by Random House Audio on July 26, 2016
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, mystery, science fiction, thriller
Format & Pages: audiobook
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Purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble, Book Depository

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

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Review: Win, by Vera Nazarian

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Win by Vera Nazarian
Published by Norilana Books on July 11, 2017
Series: The Atlantis Grail, #3
Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, fantasy, romance, science fiction, young adult
Format & Pages: e-book, 949
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The Games are Forever!
It’s one thing to Qualify and Compete…
Now she must Win.

Gwen Lark, nerd, geek, and awkward smart girl, is among the lucky ones. She’s one of several million teenage refugees to escape the extinction-level asteroid barreling towards Earth and reach the ancient colony planet of Atlantis.

But Atlantis is a strange new world with higher gravity and a blazing white sun, where nothing is as expected. The new arrivals from Earth will now belong to the majority class of non-citizens who face a lifetime of hard work and limited rights.

To make matters worse, Gwen’s rare and powerful talent […] is viewed as a potential weapon to be exploited by the Imperator, as well as a threat to the Kassiopei Imperial Dynasty and its uncompromising control over the people of Atlantis.

A last-minute heartbreak prior to arrival turns to joy, when Gwen receives a declaration of love from an unexpected source. The Wedding date is set, but before she can be joined with her true love, she is forced to compete in the brutal and deadly Games of the Atlantis Grail to save herself, her family, friends, and everything she cares about. Once again, her intelligence, quick thinking skills, resilience, and creativity are challenged to the breaking point.

The Games are monumental, intricate, lethal . . . and the Games are Forever.

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Review: Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin on September 10, 2013
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, young adult
Format & Pages: e-book, 448
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In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

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Review: Pretty Girls, by Karin Slaughter

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Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Published by William Morrow on September 2015 (first published July 2nd 2015)
Series: n/a
Genre(s): fiction, crime, mystery, suspense, thriller
Format & Pages: e-book, 490
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#1 internationally bestselling author Karin Slaughter returns with a sophisticated and chilling psychological thriller of dangerous secrets, cold vengeance, and unexpected absolution, in which two estranged sisters must come together to find truth about two harrowing tragedies, twenty years apart, that devastate their lives.

Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

Powerful, poignant, and utterly gripping, packed with indelible characters and unforgettable twists, Pretty Girls is a masterful thriller from one of the finest suspense writers working today.

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Review: Lies, by TM Logan

Lies, by TM Logan

Lies by TM Logan
Published by Bonnier Zaffre on May 4, 2017 (expected)
Genre(s): fiction, mystery, suspense, thriller
Format & Pages: e-book, 418
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WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES? 

A gripping new psychological thriller of secrets and revenge.

When Joe Lynch sees his wife enter an underground car park in the middle of the day, he’s intrigued enough to follow her down.

And when he sees her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he naturally goes to her defence – and doesn’t for a minute believe the accusations Ben makes against her.

It’s pure misfortune that, just as the clash becomes violent and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s son has an asthma attack, and Joe has to take him to safety.

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Review: The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Published by Atria Books on September 12, 2006
Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction, mystery, suspense
Format & Pages: e-book, 416
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Sometimes, when you open the door to the past, what you confront is your destiny.

Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long.

Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author’s tale of gothic strangeness—featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

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Review: Morning Star, by Pierce Brown

Morning Star, by Pierce Brown

Morning Star by Pierce Brown
Published by Del Rey on February 9, 2016
Genre(s): fiction, action, adventure, fantasy, science fiction
Format & Pages: hardcover, 524
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Red Rising thrilled readers and announced the presence of a talented new author. Golden Son changed the game and took the story of Darrow to the next level. Now comes the exhilarating conclusion to the Red Rising Trilogy: Morning Star.

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.

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Review: Everything You Want Me to Be, by Mindy Mejia

Everything You Want Me to Be, by Mindy Mejia

Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia
Published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books on January 3, 2017
Genre(s): fiction, crime, mystery, thriller
Format & Pages: e-book, 352
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Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Bereconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to her death.

High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?

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