Book Review

Book Review: The Need by Helen Phillips

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fiction/Thriller
Length: 272 pages
Author: Helen Phillips
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Release Date: July 9th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When Molly, home alone with her two young children, hears footsteps in the living room, she tries to convince herself it’s the sleep deprivation. She’s been hearing things these days. Startling at loud noises. Imagining the worst-case scenario. It’s what mothers do, she knows.

But then the footsteps come again, and she catches a glimpse of movement.

Suddenly Molly finds herself face-to-face with an intruder who knows far too much about her and her family. As she attempts to protect those she loves most, Molly must also acknowledge her own frailty. Molly slips down an existential rabbit hole where she must confront the dualities of motherhood: the ecstasy and the dread; the languor and the ferocity; the banality and the transcendence as the book hurtles toward a mind-bending conclusion.

In The Need, Helen Phillips has created a subversive, speculative thriller that comes to life through blazing, arresting prose and gorgeous, haunting imagery. Anointed as one of the most exciting fiction writers working today, The Need is a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives.

THIS BOOK STILL WEIRDS ME OUT.

I’m honestly not sure where to start on reviewing this book. This was really hyped on Bookstagram by a few people I follow as a good book but it’s best NOT knowing anything about it before going in.

And I feel that’s the way this review is going to go too. I don’t want to give much of anything away because [to me] the intention of this book is to truly form your own opinion on how it ends.

This starts out really trippy, creepy, and I had to read with the lights on right next to my husband (if you’re new to this page: I am scared of all things even remotely creepy). After we got to what appeared to be the biggest twist everything else got psychological, philosophical and odd.

I really felt and understood her portrayal of motherhood. As a parent myself a lot of those pieces I was able to connect with. This work of fiction though was more of a miss for me besides that.

As you can see, my review is a bit scattered, because this book is a bit scattered. I still would recommend this for those interested because it’s a very short, very quick (small, choppy chapters) read and I think it’ll bring out a different reaction in everyone!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fiction / Thriller
  • Language: some strong language
  • Romance: some kisses, two a little detailed love scenes
  • Violence: falling into a pit

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Book Review

Book Review: Only Human (Themis Files #3) by Sylvain Neuvel

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Science fiction
Length: 336 pages
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Release Date: May 1st, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In her childhood, Rose Franklin accidentally discovered a giant metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin led the team that uncovered the rest of the body parts which together form Themis: a powerful robot of mysterious alien origin. She, along with linguist Vincent, pilot Kara, and the unnamed Interviewer, protected the Earth from geopolitical conflict and alien invasion alike. Now, after nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find her old alliances forfeit and the planet in shambles. And she must pick up the pieces of the Earth Defense Corps as her own friends turn against each other.

A STEP BACKWARDS.

I have been loving this series and I’m a general stickler when it comes to science fiction. The first book was good, the second was great, and this one fell flat. I’m not sure what quite happened, but it didn’t click as well as the rest.

For starters, I did not like Eva at allllll. She was annoying, very abrasive, unwilling to listen to anyone about anything, and ran off whenever she could. I couldn’t handle her disrespect for others and a myriad of other issues. Unfortunately she was a big part of this story and was happy she had a resolution for the end, but was otherwise unimpressed.

I missed having Vincent and Kara as the stars. I really grew to love their relationship. It was this weirdly beautiful, opposites attract kind of thing that I was all over. Without this dynamic duo playing a bigger role and being mostly in the background it left be bummed.

I loved Rose and Mr. Burns though. They were a good duo that brought so many interesting theories and points out. I didn’t realize just how crucial Mr. Burns was to the entire series! He was this odd, chipper man that always had a story to help Dr. Franklin. Rose was a favorite because she actually did try to understand what was happening and wanted to be a solution. I appreciated her work in trying to figure out how to handle the aliens and what would help the world survive.

This at times got weirdly political (as if it was remarking on things happening today). I tend to stay away from books like that personally because I prefer to use reading as an escape. I hear that stuff all the time and didn’t need to have it repeated from the author’s opinion in a book.

There wasn’t a lot that actually happened over the course of this particular installment. A lot of flashbacks to a different location (10 years prior) took up a ton of space in this already small novel. Anytime we flipped to the present things weren’t progressing at all and I didn’t know which time period I preferred. All I really remember are people arguing. That’s how I remember this book. I wish more time had been spent solving the at present issues rather than giving me a ton of backstory to things that have already happened.

Overall audience notes:

  • Science fiction
  • Language: a lot of strong language throughout (personally thought it was too much)
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: war, battles, poison, cancer, threats, robots battling, physical

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Book Review

Book Review: Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) by Sylvain Neuvel

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Science fiction
Length: 336 pages
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

THE AUDIO BOOKS ARE AMAZING.

I love how quick to listen (and I’m sure read) these books are. The full cast brings all of these characters to life and makes it a very enjoyable read.

This story is so trippy! It’s a sci-fi and dystopian kinda book. Waking Gods starts 10 years after the first book and now that we have the layout of the giants and aliens it makes this book a lot more engaging. There’s so much technical mojo about genetics, and science in general that can be a lot to listen to. Once that’s all understood, it makes the story even wilder. I didn’t see the reasoning about why the aliens were on Earth and thought it was awesome.

I have really connected with all of these characters and was DEVASTATED to lose a few of them. Listening to their stories and getting to know them on many levels really forged my connections with them. I’m invested and cheering in their corner.

The action is top notch and with the unique style it’s written in (multiple dossiers that are interviews, new casts, etc.) makes things that much more intense. I feel like I’m listening to a movie as characters witness the full scale devastation these aliens robots were causing around the world. This totally rattled me and I hope there’s nothing actually like this out there. Because NOOOOPE.

Overall audience notes:

  • Science fiction
  • Language: strong language throughout
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: torture, physical, giants machines committing mass murder
  • Trigger warnings: suicide ideation, mentions of off-screen rape, torture

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Book Review

Book Review: Dark Age (Red Rising #5) by Pierce Brown

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Sci-fi + Fantasy
Length: 757 pages
Author: Pierce Brown
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: July 30th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For a decade Darrow led a revolution against the corrupt color-coded Society. Now, outlawed by the very Republic he founded, he wages a rogue war on Mercury in hopes that he can still salvage the dream of Eo. But as he leaves death and destruction in his wake, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will another legend rise to take his place?

Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile, has returned to the Core. Determined to bring peace back to mankind at the edge of his sword, he must overcome or unite the treacherous Gold families of the Core and face down Darrow over the skies of war-torn Mercury. 

But theirs are not the only fates hanging in the balance.

On Luna, Mustang, Sovereign of the Republic, campaigns to unite the Republic behind her husband. Beset by political and criminal enemies, can she outwit her opponents in time to save him? 

Once a Red refugee, young Lyria now stands accused of treason, and her only hope is a desperate escape with unlikely new allies.

Abducted by a new threat to the Republic, Pax and Electra, the children of Darrow and Sevro, must trust in Ephraim, a thief, for their salvation—and Ephraim must look to them for his chance at redemption.

As alliances shift, break, and re-form—and power is seized, lost, and reclaimed—every player is at risk in a game of conquest that could turn the Rising into a new Dark Age.

LIVED UP TO ITS NAME.

It’s not often that I read a book where I can clearly see that it was named appropriately. HOLY COW Y’ALL. I can’t even begin to cover the darkness, and amazingness of this book.

My notes for this book were allllll over the place. I have so many caps sections of me shouting WHAT IS HAPPENING. All of my characters were [okay, still are] strewn across planets and in various disarrays of maybe dead, definitely captured, hope they’re alive, scenarios. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THAT? I need a dose of happiness before this is all over or I’ll cry. I want my babes to be happy. They gosh dang DESERVE IT.

This without a doubt, kept me on my toes. It took me about 100ish pages to really get into it because I was having a hard time remembering who everyone was, and some specifics of what happened in previous books. It is insane how much work clearly goes into making these sci-fi masterpieces. I am astounded at the writing (though I do wish it wasn’t so vulgar at times – you win some you lose some), and how easily captivating it is to keep flipping pages. I am deeply invested in everyone’s lives at this point. There’s barely a moment to catch your breath as the bombardment of action hits you over and over.

I want to rattle off a hundred reasons I love MY main characters (those being: Virginia, Darrow, Victra & Sevro). These original four are so flawed and so full of strength that I cheer for them at every turn. I love that they make mistakes, love deeply and care a great deal about what happens in their world. Everyone has occasions of boldness, passionate monologues and lethal how are they that good at killing moments. Even better, characters like Lysander had me questioning who’s side I was on (only for a little bit y’all, he’s a great villain).

All of this sounds great right? Well, the reason I gave it 4 1/2 stars vs. 5 is because of one scene. It was way too dark for me personally and I haven’t seen the purpose of it other than to be realllll cruel. I actually put the book down for a few when it happened. I will mention it with a spoiler warning prior in my Overall audience notes section!

Can’t get enough of this series regardless. I am in awe at the behemoth of a book this was. Absolutely amazing and I highly recommend catching up with this series! I’m not a huge sci-fi lover, but these have really become a winner.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult sci-fi
  • Language: a lot of strong language and often crude/vulgar in nature
  • Romance: a few kisses, towards the end a few little detailed fade to black love scenes
  • Violence: okay, I have no way of conveying all of the violence that happened literally every page so a small breakdown would be: explosions, war, battle scenes, swords, poison, storms, mobs, torture [all scenes are very bloody, gory & very detailed]
  • Trigger warnings: a lot of mentions of off screen rape, now: SPOILER ALERT (from what I mentioned in my review): the scene that I thought was too much was that of Victra’s murdered NEW-BORN nailed to a tree; NAILED.

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Book Review

Book Review: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Sci-fi + Fantasy
Length: 320 pages
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped 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 – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

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 relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

DEFINITELY INTERESTING.

This was great as an audiobook! There’s a whole cast that really brings the book to life. I honestly think it influenced how much I like it. The book itself is also short, so it was quick and easy to get through in no time.

I started out wondering why in the world nobody was questioning this random interviewer who seems to be making some sort of record about the giant being assembled. Then, as the book went along he turned from what I thinking was a bad guy to a good guy? I honestly don’t know where he stands, but this transition alone has me really intrigued about his true role in the story.

The formatting was dynamite for this type of novel. Written in interviews, journal logs, etc. I really felt connected and invested in the characters. They all went through so much in the time span I got to see them. What happens next?!

It was really trippy putting this in a now day and age concept. Thinking that there’s some crazy massive pieces to a metal god underneath us? Whaaaaat. The politics of it all was well put in and didn’t overtake the story. A lot of worlds colliding and unknown allies and enemies.

Definitely ended on a cliff-hanger that had me questioning everything and quickly putting a hold on the next audiobook ASAP.

Overall audience notes:

  • Sci-fi + Fantasy
  • Language: some light language
  • Romance: some kisses, light description of a love scene; discussion of sleeping with others
  • Violence: explosions, car accident (with malicious intent), medical procedures done without consent, medical experimentation

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Book Review

Book Review: The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fiction/Sci-fi
Length: 303 pages
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: January 15th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a freshman girl stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics who carry her away, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. Then a second girl falls asleep, and then another, and panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. As the number of cases multiplies, classes are canceled, and stores begin to run out of supplies. A quarantine is established. The National Guard is summoned. 

Mei, an outsider in the cliquish hierarchy of dorm life, finds herself thrust together with an eccentric, idealistic classmate. Two visiting professors try to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. A father succumbs to the illness, leaving his daughters to fend for themselves. And at the hospital, a new life grows within a college girl, unbeknownst to her—even as she sleeps. A psychiatrist, summoned from Los Angeles, attempts to make sense of the illness as it spreads through the town. Those infected are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, more than has ever been recorded. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?

TOO THOUGHT-PROVOKING.

I never thought I’d say this about a book, but my head hurt after reading this. I’ve sat on this review for a bit because I was gathering my thoughts.

This book actually spooked me out a bit (note: easily spooked). I started thinking about what would it be like if this actually happened and started spiraling. Seriously, how scary?! Especially when they kept going back to the family with the baby. My intense Momma Bear voice was raging in my head trying to protect them.

I also felt sad reading this. A feeling I generally don’t like to find when reading (unless purposely chosen or previously known beforehand). A lot of this was making my heart hurt. Watching one character drop after another. Having to deal with being quarantined. Some never waking, really hard-hitting stuff.

Everything was too philosophical. One of the characters even offered up those philosophical puzzles that make you run around in circles. It was a battle of who to save, who was worth it, and I didn’t want to make those decisions! This isn’t as light as it may seem, even when it’s only 300 pages.

I was bummed with the resolution. It wasn’t anything spectacular. Things were all of sudden solved. I think that was supposed to be the mystery of the entire illness itself, but it left me wanting more. I personally like endings where I feel all loose ends are tied up and I’m not asking too many questions.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fiction/Sci-fi
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: a kiss, a vaguely implied night together
  • Trigger warning: suicide

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