Sunday, October 17, 2021

Riley Sager: Survive the night

Riley Sager shows the length that one woman will go to, to survive one more night:

Charlie is no stranger to death, her parents died when she was really young and she did not know how to cope properly with it then and she still does not know how when her best friend is found murdered and murdered by a serial killer. All Charlie knows is that she has to get away, even if that means leaving her incredible boyfriend and accept a ride from a complete stranger just to get her home, away from everything that reminds her of Maddie. Charlie also has a secret that she does not share with many people, there are times when Maddie enters into the movie world in her mind and things are not what they seem, this is how she deals with reality and the stressful moments of this world, it has always served Charlie well until the night Maddie was murdered and she saw the killer but a movie was playing. Now on the ride back home strange things are happening and she does not know if it is all in her mind, her only objective now is to survive this night.
This is the third book that I have read by Sager and I really like the Noir feel of this book. I think what helps the feeling as it takes place at night, in a car, on a long stretch of road and has movie references throughout, many of which are Noirs themselves.
I enjoyed that Charlie just was not a reliable character the movies in her mind was such and interesting twist in the book and I wish that it was really only told from her POV. I think introducing the other character POV took away from some of the suspense in the book as it gave away too many details that Charlie would not have known. I really just wanted Charlie and her movies in her minds and be with her when she is trying to figure out what just happened.

I did not see that final twist coming and I think that Sager did a great job throughout making the reader think they have it figured out then do a complete 180. I personally love books like this as they keep me engaged in the story as I try to figure out what was happening.

I think this book is unique and quite different from the other books I have read by Sager and I can see why some Sager fans were not a fan of it. I personally liked the uniqueness of it and anyone saying they say the full ending coming is lying. I'm not sure why Sager decided to have the book based in the 90s instead of present day, I feel like the book could have worked just as well in present time as it did in the 90s. And being in the 90s did not really add anything to the story, so once again confused by the choice there as majority of the movies that Charlie reference in the story are a lot older than that, so its not like it was a 90s movie throwback.

Another good book by Sager and I think the more he has developed as an author his books have gotten better and better. I look forward to reading another book by him.

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Saturday, October 9, 2021

Rebecca Roanhorse: Trail of Lightning

In the first of a new series, Rebecca Roanhorse show that the world will always need a monster hunter:

Most of the world has drowned, but a few places have survived and one is the Dinetah (formerly the Navajo reservation) when the gods helped the clan build giant walls to protect them. But this sudden apocalyptic event has given rise not only to Gods and heroes but monsters as well. Maggie Hoskie is a Dinetah monster hunter who has clan powers that make her a supernaturally gifted killer. Maggie answers the call when no one else will when there are monsters and Maggie is about to discover an entirely new Monster, one that she has never seen before. One that is going to make her confront what has happened to her in the past if she wants to survive and protect those still living in the Dinetah. But there are those who do not want her to succeed and will stop at nothing in order to prevent her from finding out the truth.

This was a random grab of a book for me, I am not sure why I picked this book up, but I am so happy I did. This is the first book that I have read by Roanhorse and what a read it was. It starts off really fast and quiet dark (almost to the horror sides of things) and the darkness is something that is a common occurrence throughout the book. Because the book starts off really fast is does slow down a bit around the 25% mark with the introduction of Coyote to things and well let just say he likes to talk a lot, but once Coyote leaves and Maggie has a new mission things really get rolling again.

 Maggie is a very interesting character, and well she has to be as a Monster hunter. When you hear her origin story presented in the book you cannot help but like her more, and care for her more as a character. Her Clan powers are a bit hard to describe, but they are a heightened ability to fight and over all awareness of her surroundings when she needs them to be. She can also sense the monsters that are threatening the people, especially it seems children. As much as Maggie does not want to think herself as a hero, she is one, even though sometimes heroes have to bring the bodies back in a body bag. She is selfless and willing puts herself in danger to help those she perceives as weaker or needing help. Even when payment for her services is offered she does not take advantage of people. 

I'm not sure what to think of Kia, as the book is told from Maggie's POV it is hard to fully judge Kia as a character as he is how Maggie perceives him and well he is a flashy guy who is supposed to be a medicine man, but also much more than that too and possible an alcoholic, but that may be a front as well. I hope in the next book that there may be some chapters from Kia's POV to flesh him out more as a character. And as for the love interest part of it I could have done without it but I understand why Roanhorse has it in there.

This is probably the first book that I have read that was based upon Native American myths and culture and I am all for it. We heard about it growing up but nothing really substantial just bits and pieces here and there, hence why i recognized the character Coyote in the book, but I liked that Roanhorse brought so much more that just Coyote into the book. I appreciated that she used the Navajos terminology throughout the book (though I am sure i butchered the pronunciation). This is a culture that I know little about and I enjoyed that Roanhorse had it so intertwined with the world. Though I did find some of the world building lacking at times, I have yet to figure out what caused the big flood, but that is really a side point to everything. You basically know that most of the world is under water and that includes most of the USA as well.

I really enjoyed this book by Roanhorse and I would recommend it to people who are fans or the dystopia/Urban fantasy/Supernatural genre, or looking for something a bit different. I look forward to reading the next book in the series and checking out other books by Roanhorse

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Monday, October 4, 2021

A. J. Tata: Chasing the Lion

A. J. Tata shows readers just how far men will go to revenge the lives of those they have lost:

When Daruish Parizad was a child, he was a survivor of Iran's Islamic Uprising, and he has risen through the ranks and is now seen as the Lion of Tabas, and he has plans for the Americans who caused so much pain and suffering to him and hi family when he was a Boy. But Parizad is a fan of the long game, of intelligence, interweaving nets and planning, his attack on America will be nothing like the world has seen before. Army Lieutenant General Garrett Sinclair and his Joint Special Operations Command team are assigned to stop terrorist threats and it is just one where they find themselves outside of a cave where everyone has died, except one, and all seem to be eerily holding their cellphone. It is up to Sinclair and his team to piece together what has happened, but even as Sinclair is separated from his team, he will do anything he can to protect the people his  family, team and defend his country.

There are many times when you are reading these types of books where you wonder if the author is able to add something new in to the genre, there are only so many international enemies of the USA that the author can pull from or ways that they can attack America. I will say that chemical/disease warfare that Tata uses here is not knew, however, the disease that is in this book, Demon Rain, is extremely scary.

This book starts out pretty faced paced, but around the 20% mark it does slow down and give you background information about Sinclair and Parizad. At the time of reading it I was confused as to what Tata was taking this much time to explain the relationship between Sinclair and Parizad as we had not had a POV yet for Parizad. Now that I have finished reading the book I appreciated that Tata took this time, as it explained Parizad's motivations, as well as his knowledge of Sinclair. It really does set the book up for the Cat and Mouse game that the two have been playing for decades.

Sinclair is the solider that you want defending your Country, not only with his abilities but his moral compass as well. He is loyal to his friends and teammates and is not willing to ask them to do something that he is not willing to do himself. This is not a General who is happy to sit behind a desk, he needs to be in the action. I like that Sinclair is older, he has grown children in their 20s, and I find that this took away from Tata needing to have a romantic troupe in the book, even with his wife dying the previous year. I think that being older gave Sinclair a better mind, and well he could still kick a lot of ass.

Well lets just say this book is downright scary with the idea of Demon Rain, I have no idea if Tata is speaking from personal experience of what he has seen developed in his military career or just a very scary mind. Demon Rain gives the ability of mind control over people using their Smart Phones (which everyone these days has surgically attached to them). It allows them to manipulate what they see on the screen and give them orders as to what to do. So you have a diseases that has the ability to not only control you but it will also kill you in the end. Just scary, and I hope nothing like this is ever developed, but totally a smart concept for the story.

This is the first book that I have read by Tata and it will not be the last. I found the story to be interesting and the two main characters well developed in their Cat and Mouse game. I look forward to checking out his other works.

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Monday, September 27, 2021

Nicholas Sansbury Smith: Sons of War

In the start of a new series, Nicholas Sansbury Smith shows what happen when the economic meltdown causes a civil war in the USA:

The USA recalls all it's troops from around the world in order to help the Unites States government prevent states from leaving. Open warfare erupts across the USA with those who are just trying to survive or those who see opportunity within the burning city of Los Angeles. The Moretti family have being trying to rebuild their empire since they were forced out of Sicily and with America about to burn they realize now is the opportunity they need to make them great again. Salvatore is a marine who is just trying to what is best for his country, but he does not know how he feels about killing fellow Americans. All he wants now is to make sure that his family is safe, as the human race descends into chaos and you do no know who you can trust.

What I love about Sansbury Smith is that he has a pretty unique ability to make to  you believe that how he sees the future is going to be real and Sons of War is no exception. It starts out with energy wars/economic meltdown in the USA, and the some states wanted to leave the USA and then nuclear war within the US occurs. Now i can see this happening, due to the fact that energy, gas, oil, and everything in between always seems to be at war, and secondly there are many states that have different ideas and beliefs about the country and how it should be run. Mix all this together and times it by 10 and you really can see why Sons of War has a very real feel to it.

As you can probably guess there is a lot of action in this book and there is, but it's not wall to wall battles (there are a few of those especially nearing the end of the book), it is more about moving from survival moment to survival moment in the book and these can be small or large wins, but either way the book is fast pace and holds all your attention till the end

I like the dual POV and how they are two different sides of the law as it really give a cool perspective of different people see the end of the world and society as we know it and the similarities between the two, especially wanting to protect their families. I personally found Moretti POV a little bit more interesting because well they were on the other side of the law and using whatever they can to take advantage of the doomsday that is occurring around them, from trying to take out the other gangs and cartels as well as making deals with the military. I just found Moretti and his family very cunning and interesting while the Salvatore's POV was much more along the lines of fighting for survival.

There are times that the book is pretty brutal, but that is what happens to war or when humans are fighting for their own survival. It always brings out the worst in most people and I appreciate that Sansbury Smith does not shy away from this. But there are times when you are reading the book that you realize how real this world could be and that is what makes Snasbury Smith such an amazing writer and story teller.

This is the first in the series and I look forward to reading the next book in the series and seeing when (I have to believe it will be when) the two POV really intersect, it was something that Sansbury smith seemed to be building up to the entire book but never got there, but that's okay, I'm always wanting to read more Sansbury Smith.

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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Gemma Rogers: Payback

Gemma Rogers shows that you can never really hide from your past:

No one thinks that what they did in their teens would come back and haunt them but twenty years later, when they are brought back together with the death of one of them in a suspicious car crash. It is after the funeral that Sophie White starts to receive threatening messages, all that have to do with the party 20 years ago. Now Sophie is trying to figure out who knew about the party or if it was one of her old friends that is trying to kill them off one by one.

This book starts out really good and I was really interested in what was happening or going to happen, but I was able to figure out this book quite early on, so that did take the suspense out of it for me, and from then on things just became too predictable. I also thought that  the perspective in 1997 pretty boring and I do not think that it needed as much page time as it received.

For some reason I seem to be reading quite a few books lately where I cannot understand the main characters choices when it comes to someone stalking them, this is another book where this occurs/ Why is it so hard to involve the police right away? I just don't get it, especially in this book, who cares that you had a sex pack thing that happened over 15 years ago, that is probably nothing compared to what youth are doing now. Just stop being embarrassed and do something to protect yourself. Like you life is worth more than a little secret. 

I think this book would have benefited with a second POV, that way we would not just have to deal with all of Sophie's bad choices, or that of Mark as he was in the police and he could have handled the investigative part of the book.

I'm not sure what else to say about this book, it just wasn't for me. i know that Rogers has the ability to write an interesting story, and she does write really well, but this one was just too predictable for me. I will however read another book by Rogers.

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Monday, September 13, 2021

Grady Hendrix: Final Girls Support Group

Grady Hendrix shows that you can never but nightmarish past behind you:

In Horror movies there is always that one girl that fought back and defeated the monster(s) that killed all their family and friends. They emerge alive, bloody and victorious, but what happens to those women when the sirens fade and the danger is no longer there? They join The Final Girl Support Group. A therapy group where all the women there are Final Girls and they attempt to get their lives together and "get past" the worst events in their lives. These women have been meeting for years, but Group is starting to deteriorate and when one of their members misses a meeting, only Lynnette fears the worst and believes that someone is out to get The Final Girls and make sure this time they do not win. But the thing about Final Girls is they all have an uncanny will to survive and fight to the bitter end.

I really liked the premise/idea of this book and the homage it plays to the final girls of the horror movies of the 80s and early 90s. You can tell from each of the women's survival stories what horror movies that Hendrix is paying homage to. Hendrix does raise the question what would happen if those movies were real in some form and there was a sole woman survivor each of these massacres. You would 100% agree that they would need some sort of support and therapy in order to return to some semblance of normalcy, though as you read the book that is not achievable by all the members. I like that Hendrix did not have all the members of the group coping the same, Lynette is constantly paranoid and only truly feels safe in her home, Heather is a drug addict and Marylin hosts lavish parties trying to save circus animals and so on. They are all different and cope with hat happened to them in different ways.

I think the most horrifying parts within this book are when what happens to the women and what made them Final Girls are told. We get the most detail about Lynette as she is the main character of this story but the other stories are just as horrifying as you as the reader fill in the extra details. I know after reading Lynette's story it gave me one more excuse not to allow my husband (who is a hunter) to display elk or deer heads on our walls. What happened to her family is just horrible. 

The mystery/ cat and mouse game was well done and you will questions a few times throughout the book who could be after the Final Girls or whether it is one of women from the Support Group. I was able to figure it out but this was nearing the end of the book, so Hendrix did keep me guessing for most of the book.

Honestly, I'm not 100% sure if I liked Lynnette as a character, but I feel like Hendrix did a great job in developing her, her paranoia, her scatter thoughts and ultimately trying to do what is best for Group, even though she does not start out that way. I think what I disliked about her as a character, was trying to follow her thought process through. I totally understand why she is written this way but it just made it hard to like her.

This is the second book I have read by Hendrix and I personally liked it more than The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. I just found this store more engaging in the end and did not need Vampires to make it scary, humans were enough. If you want to read a book that sounds and reads like a horror movie then check this one out.

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