Review Rendezvous: 11/10/18


Nick Noelle, Thicker Than Blood by A. R. Baumann
Book stats:
Genre(s): Mystery, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 268
Publish date: September 10th, 2018
Purchase: Barnes & Noble

NNTTB.jpgSet in the steamy, gritty city of New Orleans in 1971 where the mob ruled, Nick Noelle, a newly retired detective from Houston, returns home to settle his affairs with his dying mother. Already bored with retirement, he stumbles upon an unfolding serial killer case darker and more sinister than any he had known. While visiting his departing mother, he finds a disturbing set of diaries that recorded her tragic life. Horrified by what he reads, he is stricken with guilt, fear, regret and despair which lure him into a pit of self-destruction. As he struggles with addictions to alcohol and gambling in a city that thrives on vices, he is in danger of losing his wife, his mind and worse, his own life.

Since 90% of the TV shows I watch are some form of police/detective procedural, this book definitely looked interesting to me. I did enjoy the twists and turns, even if I did pick up on hints about the ending before I actually finished it.

The main reason I wasn’t super in love with this book, however, had to do with the protagonist. There was just something about Nick that I couldn’t get into his perspective with. Perhaps it was the inclusion of harsher language that put me off, but either way I’d rather have read a similar plot line with a different main character. Also, do take that as a warning about foul language in the book, if that’s the kind of thing you’re not a fan of. I can’t say it was out of place, but there was quite a bit included.

Overall, not a bad book. There was some good worldbuilding and the actual storyline was interesting, but the protagonist kept me from fully enjoying it and rating the book higher.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 7/21/18


Futura by Jordan Phillips
Book stats:
Genre(s): Novella, science fiction
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 90
Publish date: January 2nd, 2018
Purchase:¬†Amazon¬†– Barnes & Noble –¬†Book Depository

FuturaBy the year 2050, Paris is a stark contrast from other large cities, which had long ago morphed into ultramodern metropolises, where every new building was practically a city within a city. Even in France, humans cannot escape the fact that the Invisibles have taken over. Some come in the form of microscopic chips that are embedded practically everywhere, while others are more visible because they power robots. Humans were suddenly underutilized, and they would be forever.

Past futurists had cried that this would be disorienting and depressing, but it turned out to be quite liberating. Human qualities‚ÄĒgood and bad‚ÄĒare tolerated because they are authentic, and not artificially created. To err is to be human, and these days, to be human is to be beautiful.

Futura follows a single American woman named Ruby as she figures out how to thrive in a dramatically different cultural landscape. This utopian novella pushes back on the cynical views many hold today. Instead, author Jordan Phillips has imagined a bright future for the entire human race.

Honestly, it was so nice reading a futuristic book that takes on utopian themes instead of dystopian. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good dystopian, but there are just so. many. books. It’s the popular genre currently, which also leads to an unfortunate saturation of the genre.

But, this little novella was short and sweet. The world building here is very vivid and creative. There was no shortage of beautiful imagery and description. That I believe is the novel’s strength, and if we were to experience a different character’s input and story within this world, I feel like it would have a better chance at sustaining a novel.

One of the downsides to such a short novel is that there was not much time to connect with the characters. in a world as vivid and complex as this one, the premise would really fit better in a full length novel where one has the space to dissect and get involved with the lives of the primary characters. Then there’s the fact that the main character makes a few certainly questionable decisions. I really did enjoy the world, just not as much the actual view of Ruby’s life.

There is a bit of a discussion to truly be had about the premise. Would human life really be life if computers were the ones running our world and not us? Sure, the automation and modernization helps, but can computers be trusted to make crucial, life and death type of decisions? I’m not a blogger dedicated to philosophical questions though, so I’ll leave you to ponder that on your own ūüôā

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 7/14/18


Valley of Time by Jeremy D. Holden
Book stats:
Genre(s): Science fiction, mystery
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 262
Publish date: November 5th, 2017
Purchase:¬†Amazon¬†– Barnes & Noble –¬†Book Depository

ValleyMal Thomas only escaped with his life through a mixture of good fortune and divine intervention, after he and his eclectic team of cynical mad men and women were charged with promoting the alleged second coming of the Messiah, by Alfredo Baptiste, the world’s most powerful industrialist.

Having subsequently become famous as a best-selling author‚ÄĒas well as an unlikely spiritual leader‚ÄĒafter having written and promoted a book about those experiences, Mal is now approached by another enigmatic billionaire with an equally incredible proposition.

Huw Hudson, the man often described as a modern-day Howard Hughes, wants to position his company, Space Rider, as the leader in commercial space tourism. He tries to enlist Mal and his team to help promote it, with one extraordinary twist: Hudson has evidence of an alleged UFO encounter, which he thinks could damage his business plans, and he asks Mal to investigate and manage the breaking news story.

Mal discovers a deeper purpose at work, as he crisscrosses Brazil, Miami, London, and Dubai in furtherance of Hudson’s audacious ambition, while being forced to keep an unbelievable secret from the FBI and even his closest friends. In confronting his deepest fears, Mal takes us on a journey that challenges the very core of our beliefs about space and time. 

This is the second book in a series, so fair warning there may be spoilers for plot points of the first book. Unlike my last review, you’ll probably need to read the first book to get a good back story for this one. There was quite a few references to past events and things that you would miss if you jumped in with this book first. Also, this book is currently free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, so definitely go check it out.

This one had quite an interesting premise, and part of the draw for me is that I work with marketing as a blogger and influencer on social media. The idea of such a huge story being plausible was a little farfetched (I mean, how many supposed UFOs have there been recording sightings of?), but nevertheless I continued. The beginning was a bit rough, but the action did finally pick up a few chapters in.

While this does begin fairly similar to the first book, it quickly divorces from that narrative. I did like the fact that this is told in first person narrative. It’s much easier to get into a character’s head this way, and there is another layer of plot development that factors in with mysteries because you are limited to only what the protagonist experiences rather than being an omniscient observer.

There are quite a few pop culture reference which were entertaining, and there is definitely a lot of jargon included. Honestly, the way most of it was phrased however was not as bad as it could have been, and I was able to understand pretty easily.

For people interested in sci-fi and conspiracy theories, you’d likely enjoy this novel.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 6/9/18


XVI by Julia Karr
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, science fiction, dystopia
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 325
Publish date: January 6th, 2011
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

XVIEvery girl gets one.
An XVI tattoo on the wrist–sixteen.

Some girls can’t wait to be sixteen, to be legal. Nina is not one of them. Even though she has no choice in the matter, she knows that so long as her life continues as normal, everything will be okay.

Then, with one brutal strike, Nina’s normal is shattered; and she discovers that nothing that she believed about her life is true. But there’s one boy who can help–and he just may hold the key to her past.

But with the line between attraction and danger as thin as a whisper, one thing is for sure…

For Nina, turning sixteen promises to be anything but sweet.

This had a promising idea attached to it. I was interested in the idea of the tattoos and the social constructs surrounding them. But, after the first chapter or two, things began to go downhill. I didn’t particularly empathize with the character, which is a huge sign that the rest of the book won’t be too enthralling either.

I will admit, I finished the whole book for this one, which is an accomplishment. Normally if I end up disliking a book that quickly, I will just skim the rest to see what happens. Maybe it was my interest in the few mysteries that Karr brought up, or the fact that I had nothing else to do. Either way, the book isn’t particularly bad, it is just lackluster in my opinion.

Nine seems to follow the cookie-cutter dystopian teenager mold that I’ve seen many, many times. You can forgive the character the first time you read one like her. But the 20th? Not as easy. Granted that there are extenuating circumstances in the book, but Nina just seems to float through, responding to the situation rather than really acting. And then there is her reaction to events surrounding the end of the book, that I can’t disclose. If something like that happened to me, I feel like I’d have a much more emotional reaction. Just saying.

Overall, it’s meh if you have nothing else to do, but I’m not particularly motivated to read the second book.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 6/2/18


The Hauntings of Cold Creek Hollow by Alexie Aaron
Book stats:
Genre(s): Paranormal, mystery, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 342
Publish date: January 6th, 2012
Purchase: Amazon РBarnes & Noble

tHoCCHLittle Mia Cooper’s ability to see the dead made her an outcast in her hometown. Several years later, she has finally managed to blend in, but her hard-won peace is threatened by the arrival of a bumbling team of paranormal investigators. Mia is drawn in reluctantly as an advisor on what, at first, seems to be a fairly straightforward case, only to discover that the Hollow has much more in store for her. An ancient evil is rising in Cold Creek Hollow. What begins as a ghost hunt will become a fight for survival.

The premise of this particular novel is certainly intriguing. I’m all for the story of an unwilling former gifted child dragged into a paranormal investigation. There’s quite a bit of mystery and suspense involved, but on the flip side there was also some out of place moments.

First of all, this is the beginning book in a series that has stretched to 19 books already, so the premise definitely has promise. The thing that really bugged me though about this book was how much focus was put onto romance relationships. Sure, add in some romance now and then to hooks readers who look for the kind of thing, but the main focus should be the mystery. Better yet, develop the kind of relationship throughout the series that has everyone going “Just get together already!”.

There also happens to be quite a few characters. I would expect to collect a large group of characters throughout the series as a whole, not in the first book. It was a bit overwhelming to try and read them all.

In the end though, it was a fairly good read. I did enjoy the mystery aspects, I ust wish it had been a little easier to follow the plot. I suppose I could try out the next one in the series, as it has the potential to be better. Although, the covers could use a bit of work, none of the books in the series look like they belong together.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeart


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