Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book Review | The Gates by John Connolly

The Gates is a YA horror/fantasy by John Connolly.

Young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, are trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating a full three days before Halloween which is how they come to witness strange goings-on at 666 Crowley Road. The Abernathys don't mean any harm by their flirtation with the underworld, but when they unknowingly call forth Satan himself, they create a gap in the universe. A gap in which a pair of enormous gates is visible. The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out...

Can one small boy defeat evil? Can he harness the power of science, faith, and love to save the world as we know it?

Bursting with imagination, The Gates is about the pull between good and evil, physics and fantasy. It is about a quirky and eccentric boy who is impossible not to love, and the unlikely cast of characters who give him the strength to stand up to a demonic power.

John Connolly manages to re-create the magical and scary world of childhood that we've all left behind but so love to visit. And for those of you who thought you knew everything you could about particle physics and the universe, think again. This novel makes anything seem possible.

I didn't realize going into it that The Gates was YA, but since I happen to enjoy YA and any other "age group" really, I was good to go.

First I want say that I love the entire dust jacket on this book. It's great. You might want to keep an eye out for a print copy.

The story is pretty great, too. Here is where I confess this is my first John Connolly book. Is he always this humorous? I had a good time reading this.

There's a lot of science (big bang, particle physics, what have you) to explain the gates of hell. At first I thought the science and the story weren't connecting very well, but once I realized how YA The Gates was, I thought it was perfect.

So basically Samuel Johnson is out trick-or-treating early when he happens upon some folks who are summoning the devil and opening a gateway to hell.

The Gates is a fun read. It's set during Halloween, it's full of scary neighbors and adults who don't listen, there's demons run amok and friends you can count on, and it's laugh out loud funny.

7/10: Recommended Read


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Sunday, August 28, 2016

August 29 | Currently Reading

Last week was a much better reading week for me.

Books Read Last Week

The Gates by John Connolly
The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

I enjoyed both of these books. I'm getting so far behind in writing reviews, I'll probably skip straight to reviewing these two.

Currently Reading

I had so much fun reading The Last One that nothing sounds good to me right now. I plucked a few books off of my shelf, but I'm stuck in a funk now! I'm hoping by the time you read this I will have managed to start reading something new.

What about you? What are you reading this week? Be sure to let me know in the comments or leave me a link!

This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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Monday, August 22, 2016

August 22 | Currently Reading

With a sick kiddo, trying to work from home, and sacrificing all sleep to catch up on the Olympics after my kids were in bed, I've done little reading and no blogging. Life!

Books Read Last Week(s)

The Hatching (The Hatching #1) by Ezekiel Boone
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

I'm having a lot of trouble deciding what to read next. I may go old school this week. I have a lot of books in my closet that are calling to me.

What about you? What are you reading this week? Be sure to let me know in the comments or leave me a link!

This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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Monday, August 8, 2016

August 8 | Currently Reading

Last week I posted the August new releases I'm excited about. I also posted my review of Blake Crouch's Dark Matter.

Books Read Last Week

Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay
Pressure by Brian Keene

These were both OK reads. I will try to put some thoughts together on them this week.

Books Currently Reading

Stories of the Strange and Sinister by Frank Baker

Current Distractions

This will probably keep me from reading much at all the next two weeks. I love the summer Olympics. Are you watching? I'm a huge fan of individual sports (think tennis, not basketball) so I'm all about the Olympics.

What about you? What are you reading this week? Be sure to let me know in the comments or leave me a link!

This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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Friday, August 5, 2016

Book Review | Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter is a science fiction thriller from Blake Crouch.

“Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable--something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Why did I read Dark Matter?

Blake Crouch. The science was a complete surprise. You'd think the title "Dark Matter" would have clued me in, but no. I didn't give it much thought past it being a new Blake Crouch. I enjoyed his book Run, and then I loved the Wayward Pines trilogy. I need to make some time for some more of his back titles, too.

The Strengths

SCIENCE. This is how I love my science - mixed with a page turning thriller. Dark Matter is not hard science either. It's heavy science if you consider the fact that it deals with quantum physics, but it is presented in a way that's accessible to everyone.

It's a fun read which I'm coming to expect from Blake Crouch.

The Weaknesses

It's hard to articulate what makes it a 4 star and not a 5 star read for me, but part of it has to do with how the story progressed. It could go any way at any time which is fun, but it's hard to lose myself or care more than just at a superficial level as I'm stepping through short chronological events. You're mileage may vary here.

Would I recommend Dark Matter to others?


8/10: Great Read


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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Upcoming August 2016 Book Releases in Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction

August is a light month for my to-be-read pile/wishlist. That's probably a good thing. I have a lot of catching up to do. My Goodreads challenge reminds me I'm like 10 books behind schedule!

August 9, 2016

I Am Providence by Nick Mamatas

For fans of legendary pulp author H. P. Lovecraft, there is nothing bigger than the annual Providence-based convention the Summer Tentacular. Horror writer Colleen Danzig doesn’t know what to expect when she arrives, but is unsettled to find that among the hob-knobbing between scholars and literary critics are a group of real freaks: book collectors looking for volumes bound in human skin, and true believers claiming the power to summon the Elder God Cthulhu, one of their idol’s most horrific fictional creations, before the weekend is out.

Colleen’s trip spirals into a nightmare when her roommate for the weekend, an obnoxious novelist known as Panossian, turns up dead, his face neatly removed. What’s more unsettling is that, in the aftermath of the murder, there is little concern among the convention goers. The Summer Tentacular continues uninterrupted, except by a few bumbling police.

Everyone at the convention is a possible suspect, but only Colleen seems to show any interest in solving the murder. So she delves deep into the darkness, where occult truths have been lurking since the beginning of time. A darkness where Panossian is waiting, spending a lot of time thinking about Colleen, narrating a new Lovecraftian tale that could very well spell her doom.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule--but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her--even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

The acclaimed author of The Witch’s Boy has created another epic coming-of-age fairy tale destined to become a modern classic.

August 16, 2016

The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth #2) by N.K. Jemisin

The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.

It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.

The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.

August 23, 2016

Mirror Image by Michael Scott and Melanie Ruth Rose

A mirror that feeds on human souls wreaks destruction on those around it in this new novel from internationally bestselling author Michael Scott and Melanie Ruth Rose
In an auction house in London, there is a mirror no one will buy. Standing seven feet tall and reaching four feet across, its size makes it unusual. Its horrific powers make it extraordinary. For centuries, the mirror has fed off of the lives of humans, giving them agonizing deaths and sucking their souls into its hellish world.

When Jonathan Frazer, the wealthy owner of a furniture and antiques shop in Los Angeles, buys the mirror at an auction, he believes he is getting the bargain of a lifetime. With its age and size, it is easily worth eight times what he paid for it. At this point, the mirror has sat dormant for years. But within days of Jonathan's purchase, the deaths begin again. One employee is crushed when the mirror falls on top of him. A few days later, the corpse of another is found in front of the mirror, brutally stabbed. A third is burned beyond all recognition. All the while, an enormous man with a scarred face is following Jonathan, demanding that he give him the mirror and killing any police officer that gets in his way.

The police are becoming desperate. As the death toll rises, Jonathan himself becomes a suspect. He knows there is something wrong with the mirror. He knows it's dangerous. But he cannot bring himself to get rid of it. Everyday he becomes more captivated by the mirror.

For the mirror is awakening, and its powers are resurfacing.

August 30, 2016

The Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea

Everyone knows the legend of the Jersey Devil. Some believe it is an abomination of nature, a hybrid winged beast from hell that stalks the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey searching for prey. Others believe it is a hoax, a campfire story designed to scare children. But one man knows the truth . . .

Sixty years ago, Boompa Willet came face to face with the Devil—and lived to tell the tale. Now, the creature’s stomping grounds are alive once again with strange sightings, disappearances, and worse. After all these years, Boompa must return to the Barrens, not to prove the legend is real but to wipe it off the face of the earth . . .

It’ll take more than just courage to defeat the Devil. It will take four generations of the Willet clan, a lifetime of survivalist training, and all the firepower they can carry. But timing is critical. A summer music festival has attracted crowds of teenagers. The woods are filled with tender young prey. But this time, the Devil is not alone. The evil has grown into an unholy horde of mutant monstrosities. And hell has come home to New Jersey . . .

What new releases are you looking forward to in August?


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Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1 | Currently Reading

I can't believe today is the first day of AUGUST! My kids only have a few weeks left of summer. (And I only have a few weeks to finish up at HUGE project at work.) I'm trying not to panic.

Books Read Last Week

In case you missed it, I posted my review of Nicolas Wolff's The Binding last week. It was hard to pay attention to that one. Dark Matter, on the other hand, was just the book I needed - easy to read and hard to put down.

Books Currently Reading

Paul Tremblay's A Head Full of Ghosts {review} was a great read so I'm excited to read Disappearance at Devil's Rock.

Current Distractions

Stranger Things! Who mentioned that show last week? I'm only 2 episodes in, but I'm so thrilled about the whole series. It's pretty much 1980s coming of age horror. YAS. I love it.

What about you? What are you reading this week? Be sure to let me know in the comments or leave me a link!

This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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