February 28, 2015

Review: The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig


Product Description:
Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega—burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: Whenever one twin dies, so does the other.

Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.


My Thoughts:
The Fire Sermon was set in a vivid world with incredible characters. Haig gave us such wonderful descriptions that I could clearly imagine the landscape and the people so much so that it felt like I had paused a movie whenever I wasn't reading. The best part of it was the fear that the new world felt about the technology of the past. With dystopian books I always wonder what pushed society to the point of the total control that most books have their characters living under but with The Fire Sermon I could clearly understand why their world was the way it became. 

Starting the book I had no clue that it was part of a trilogy and towards the end I could tell there was going to be a resolution but I felt there was more of the story to be told. That's when I looked up the book online and found that it was just book one. I was so happy to learn that there was more to come and the book has also been optioned by Dreamworks so I'm hoping that a movie is soon to come. The Fire Sermon is now in the top spot on my 2015 Top 5 list. 

My Recommendation:
I recommend this one for fans of dystopian YA. 

February 22, 2015

Review: Influx by Daniel Suarez


Product Description:
Physicist Jon Grady and his team have discovered a device that can reflect gravity—a triumph that will revolutionize the field of physics and change the future. But instead of acclaim, Grady’s lab is locked down by a covert organization known as the Bureau of Technology Control.

The bureau’s mission: suppress the truth of sudden technological progress and prevent the social upheaval it would trigger. Because the future is already here. And it’s rewards are only for a select few.

When Grady refuses to join the BTC, he’s thrown into a nightmarish high-tech prison housing other doomed rebel intellects. Now, as the only hope to usher humanity out of its artificial dark age, Grady and his fellow prisoners must try to expose the secrets of an unimaginable enemy—one that wields a technological advantage half a century in the making.


My Thoughts:
Daemon and Freedom by Suarez were two of my favorite reads last year so I was looking forward to Influx and I wasn't disappointed. It was a great mix of futuristic technology, brilliant scientists and a secretive government agency. When the action finally starts (yes it was a little slow in the beginning) it's a wild ride to the end. So wild in fact that it gets a little over the top at the end with buildings flying off into space when hit by a gravity weapon. 

A lot of times sci-fi books are so plausible they even scare me a little but as much as I would like to imagine theres's all this amazing technology being secreted away the plot isn't at all realistic. As I usually do I set the unrealistic aspects aside and just try to enjoy the story within. That really what makes this one a recommended read. 


February 21, 2015

Review: The Glittering World by Robert Levy


Product Description:
In the tradition of Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane), Scott Smith (The Ruins), and Jason Mott (The Returned), award-winning playwright Robert Levy spins a dark tale of alienation and belonging, the familiar and the surreal, family secrets and the search for truth in his debut supernatural thriller.

When up-and-coming chef Michael “Blue” Whitley returns with three friends to the remote Canadian community of his birth, it appears to be the perfect getaway from New York. He soon discovers, however, that everything he thought he knew about himself is a carefully orchestrated lie. Though he had no recollection of the event, as a young boy Blue and another child went missing for weeks in the idyllic, mysterious woods of Starling Cove. Soon thereafter, his mother suddenly fled with him to America, their homeland left behind.

But then Blue begins to remember. And once the shocking truth starts bleeding back into his life, his closest friends—Elisa, his former partner in crime; her stalwart husband, Jeremy; and Gabe, Blue’s young and admiring co-worker—must unravel the secrets of Starling Cove and the artists’ colony it once harbored. All four will face their troubled pasts, their most private demons, and a mysterious race of beings that inhabits the land, spoken of by the locals only as the Other Kind…

My Thoughts:

When deciding if I should read and review this book what really caught my attention and made me choose it was that it was compared to Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane  and Scott Smith's The Ruins. Both were books that I loved. The Glittering World is definitely a strange journey with suspenseful moments throughout. 

The story sucked me in at the very beginning and the book narration switching from Blue to each of his friends added even more suspense but about halfway through I felt it lost a little steam. Things just kept getting a weirder and weirder and I was actually more creeped out than hooked on what was coming next. 

The ending was very supernatural and eerie but it actually won me back over. Taking the entire book into consideration I will call this one a win. 

My Recommendation:
I recommend this one for anyone who loves supernatural fantasy books. 

February 1, 2015

Review: September Sky by John A. Heldt


Product Description:
When unemployed San Francisco reporter Chuck Townsend, 45, and his college dropout son, Justin, take a trip to Mexico in 2016, each hopes to rebuild a relationship after years of estrangement. But their journey takes an unexpected turn when they meet a cruise-ship lecturer who has discovered the secret of time travel. Within days, Chuck and Justin find themselves in 1900, riding a train to Texas, intent on preventing a distant uncle from being hanged for a crime he did not commit. Their quick trip to Galveston, however, becomes long and complicated when they wrangle with business rivals and fall for two beautiful librarians on the eve of a hurricane that will destroy the city. Filled with humor, history, romance, and heartbreak, September Sky follows two directionless souls on the adventure of a lifetime as they try to make their peace with the past, find new purposes, and grapple with the knowledge of things to come.

My Thoughts:
Having read 3 of the 5 books in Heldt's Northwest Passage that also focus around time travel I was looking forward to reading September Sky which is the first book in his new American Journey series. I ended up a little conflicted in my opinion of this one. It's a great story but I felt absolutely no attachments to the characters which was a bit of a disappointment. 

Chuck and his son Justin had no respect for the professor and the rules they agreed to. They immediately went off the reservation and followed about on their own agenda. Right from that moment I found myself a little disconnected and didn't feel invested in much of the story after that. 

I did however like the historical part of the story. I learned a lot about a real tragedy which prompted me to look up information on the actual event. Heldt captured the true horror of it and I was engrossed in that part of the story. This definitely made up for the detachment I had from the characters and I was left wondering about the next installment and who is going to travel next. Based on the author's other books I'm pretty sure I'll be reading book 2 in the series. 

My Recommendation:
I recommend this for anyone who loves time travel romances. 

January 21, 2015

Review: The Dead of December by Ryan Bowman


Product Description:
Growing up in the suffocating grip of Detroit's most crime-ridden neighborhood, Sugar Sinclair has always aspired to defy the odds and make something of his life. But on a bitter December night, he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and his hopes for the future are extinguished in the blink of an eye. 

Meanwhile, Gerald Dawes is a weary beat cop weighed down by the disappearance of his son and a crumbling marriage. When a monotonous night shift turns catastrophic and his partner is killed in the line of duty, Gerald reaches an emotional breaking point. Desperate for vengeance, he wrongfully arrests affluent real estate agent Clarence Sanford, whose true crime is one he hopes to keep from his family. 

As Sugar, Gerald and Clarence wage war against their inner demons, their lives become increasingly intertwined, the fateful intersection of their paths increasingly imminent. 
Will truth and justice prevail? Or will the streets of Detroit swallow three more souls? 

My Thoughts:
I think this is the first time I've ever felt like I was reading in slow motion. I could clearly see where everything was leading and I was in tense suspense hoping it wouldn't play out the way I expected. Clearly from the book description things did go wrong and the fall out afterwards leads to gut wrenching decisions that need to be made by all three characters. 

Young Sugar has to make a life decision that has already affected his family and so many in his neighborhood. Clarence is faced with making a confession that will implode his so-called perfect family. Gerald is torn between the politics of the police force and his inner turmoil. They each have nothing but that night weighing heavily on them and have to come to terms with doing the right thing versus doing the easy thing. 

The only reason I didn't give the book a full five star rating was the way the disappearance of Gerald's son was told. I felt like it was only thrown in to explain Gerald's struggles with alcohol. There was no "meat on the bone" in that part of the story and it didn't hold up to the rest of the storyline. Otherwise this was an incredible book that is going on my Top Five list for this year and even though it's only January, I'm confident it will remain there all year.

My Recommendation:
This is the perfect read for anyone who loves crime fiction and page-turning suspense.