Mini Reviews: Nonfiction – From the Corner of the Oval, by Beck Dorey-Stein & Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.

Mini reviews - nonfiction

For this set of mini reviews, I want to talk about some nonfiction books I’ve read fairly recently. Although both nonfiction, these are very different in their subgenres, one being a memoir and the other a self-help/parenting book. I had mixed feelings on both of these, but each are worth a read for their own reasons.

Ready to see the reviews?

Continue reading “Mini Reviews: Nonfiction – From the Corner of the Oval, by Beck Dorey-Stein & Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.”

Book Review: Sword and Pen, by Rachel Caine

Sword and Pen, by Rachel Caine

Sword and Pen by Rachel Caine

Published by Berkley on September 3, 2019

Series: The Great Library, #5

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 368

Source: library

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With the future of the Great Library in doubt, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone must decide if it’s worth saving in this thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

The corrupt leadership of the Great Library has fallen. But with the Archivist plotting his return to power, and the Library under siege from outside empires and kingdoms, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library . . . or see everything it stood for crumble.

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Book Review: The Wives, by Tarryn Fisher

The Wives, by Tarryn Fisher

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Published by Graydon House on December 30, 2019

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, suspense, thriller

Format & Length: hardcover, 320

Source: purchased

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Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

And who is his mysterious third wife?

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Book Review: Things in Jars, by Jess Kidd

Things in Jars, by Jess Kidd

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd

Published by Atria Books on February 4, 2020 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction, magical realism, mystery

Format & Length: e-book, 384

Source: Netgalley

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In the dark underbelly of Victorian London, a formidable female sleuth is pulled into the macabre world of fanatical anatomists and crooked surgeons while investigating the kidnapping of an extraordinary child in this gothic mystery—perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation.

Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.

Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.

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Book Review: The God Game, by Danny Tobey

The God Game, by Danny Tobey

The God Game by Danny Tobey

Published by St. Martin’s Press on January 7, 2020 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, science fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 464

Source: Netgalley

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You are invited!
COme inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It;’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

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Book Review: Bound for Murder, by Victoria Gilbert

Bound for Murder, by Victoria Gilbert

Bound for Murder by Victoria Gilbert

Published by Crooked Lane Books on January 7, 2020 (expected)

Series: Blue Ridge Library Mysteries, #4

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, romance

Format & Length: e-book, 242

Source: Netgalley

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Blue Ridge library director Amy Webber learns it wasn’t all peace and love among the “flower children” when a corpse is unearthed on the grounds of a 1960s commune.

Taylorsford Public Library director Amy Webber’s friend “Sunny” Fields is running for mayor. But nothing puts a damper on a campaign like an actual skeleton in a candidate’s closet. Sunny’s grandparents ran a commune back in the 1960s on their organic farm. But these former hippies face criminal charges when human remains are found in their fields–and a forensic examination reveals that the death was neither natural nor accidental.

With Sunny’s mayoral hopes fading, Amy sets her wedding plans aside, says “not yet” to the dress, and uses her research skills to clear her best friend’s family. Any of the now-elderly commune members could have been the culprit. As former hippies perish one by one, Amy and her friends Richard, Aunt Lydia, and Hugh Chen pursue every lead. But if Amy can’t find whoever killed these “flower children,” someone may soon be placing flowers on her grave.

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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

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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.

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Book Review: Recursion, by Blake Crouch

Recursion, by Blake Crouch

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Published by Crown on June 11, 2019

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, science fiction, thriller

Format & Length: e-book, 336

Source: library

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Memory makes reality.

That’s what NYC cop Barry Sutton is learning, as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

That’s what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face to face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds, but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

At once a relentless pageturner and an intricate science-fiction puzzlebox about time, identity, and memory, Recursion is a thriller as only Blake Crouch could imagine it—and his most ambitious, mind-boggling, irresistible work to date.

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Book Review: Just Watch Me, by Jeff Lindsay

Just Watch Me, by Jeff Lindsay

Just Watch Me by Jeff Lindsay

Published by Dutton on December 3, 2019 (expected)

Series: Riley Wolfe, #1

Genre(s): fiction, crime, thriller

Format & Length: e-book, 320

Source: Netgalley

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A masterful thief plots an impossible crime—stealing the Iranian Crown Jewels.

From the author of the wildly successful Dexter series comes a new, mesmerizing bad guy we can root for: Riley Wolfe. He’s a master thief, expert at disguise, and not averse to violence when it’s needed. It’s no accident, though, that Riley targets the wealthiest 0.1 percent and is willing to kill them when they’re in his way: he despises the degenerate and immoral rich and loves stealing their undeserved and unearned valuables.

In this series launch, Riley aims for an extraordinary target in a heist that will make history. Riley will try to steal the Crown Jewels of Iran. Yes, these jewels are worth billions, but the true attraction for grabbing them comes down to one simple fact: it can’t be done. Stealing these jewels is absolutely impossible. The collection is guarded by space-age electronics and two teams of heavily armed mercenaries. No one could even think of getting past the airtight security and hope to get away alive, let alone with even a single diamond from the Imperial Collection.

No one but Riley Wolfe. He’s always liked a challenge.

But this challenge may be more than even he can handle. Aside from the impenetrable security, Riley is also pursued by a brilliant and relentless cop who is barely a step behind him.

With the aid of his sometime ally, a beautiful woman who is a master art forger, Riley Wolfe goes for the prize that will either make him a legend—or, more likely, leave him dead.

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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

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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.

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