Thursday, January 18, 2018

Audiobook Review - I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Narrated by Robertson Dean
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication Date: August 14, 2007
Date Read:  January 12, 2018
Length:  5 hours 19 minutes
Source: Purchased - Audible
In I Am Legend, a plague has decimated the world, and those unfortunate enough to survive are transformed into blood-thirsty creatures of the night. Robert Neville is the last living man on earth. Every other man, woman, and child has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville's blood. By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive in a world of vampires?
My Review

This was good!  I really didn't have this book on my radar until recently.  Sure, I saw the movie with Will Smith but I honestly wasn't all that impressed with it.  I knew that the movie was based on a book but didn't really feel the need to pick it up.  When Audible had their 20th anniversary celebration a few months ago, they offered this book free to members so I snatched up a copy.  I was in the mood for a shorter listen recently and decided to go with this book and I really ended up enjoying it.

So when I started this book, I thought it was a zombie book.  I don't even know what I am doing some days.  This is not a zombie book.  I guess I really didn't pay all that much attention to that Will Smith movie after all because this is a vampire book.  In my defense these vampires are almost zombie-like in a whole lot of ways.

Robert Neville is alone.  He is the last person around in a world full of vampires.  He spends his days gathering supplies and staking the vampires that he finds.  He spends his nights locked in his house trying to ignore the vampires that gather outside his home.  He does this every day and is utterly alone.  He does some research to try to figure out the cause of the outbreak and to learn as much as he can. 

This was the first time that I have listened to Robertson Dean's narration and I really did enjoy it.  I thought that his voice was perfect for Neville and he brought the right amount of emotion into the story.  I thought that he had a very pleasant voice that was easy to listen to for hours at a time.  I would not hesitate to choose another book narrated by Robertson Dean.

I would recommend this book to others.  It is a great story about a man trying to navigate the world alone.  I am quite sure that this audiobook will have a much more lasting impact on me than the movie did.  I do hope to read more of Richard Matheson's work in the future.

About the Author

Richard Matheson was The New York Times bestselling author of I Am Legend, Hell House, Somewhere in Time, The Incredible Shrinking Man, A Stir of Echoes, The Beardless Warriors, The Path, Seven Steps to Midnight, Now You See It…, and What Dreams May Come, among others. He was named a Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention, and received the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement. He has also won the Edgar, the Spur, and the Writer's Guild awards. In 2010, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. In addition to his novels Matheson wrote several screenplays for movies and TV, including "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," based on his short story, along with several other Twilight Zone episodes. He was born in New Jersey and raised in Brooklyn, and fought in the infantry in World War II. He earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. Matheson died in June, 2013, at the age of eighty-seven.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Audiobook Review - White Trash Zombie Gone Wild by Diana Rowland

White Trash Zombie Gone Wild by Diana Rowland
Narrated by: Allison McLemore
Series: White Trash Zombie #5
Publisher: DAW / Audible Studios
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Date Read: January 1, 2018
Length: 11 hours 18 minutes
Source: Purchased - Audible
Angel Crawford has buried her loser past and is cruising along in undead high gear—that is, until a murder-by-decapitation sends her on a hazardous detour. As Angel hunts for the killer, she uncovers a scheme that would expose zombies to the public and destroy the life she’s built, and she’s determined not to rest until she finds out who’s behind it.

Soon she’s neck-deep in lies, redneck intrigue, zombie hunters, and rot-sniffing cadaver dogs. It’s up to her to unravel the truth and snuff out the conspiracy before the existence of zombies makes headline news and she’s outed as a monster.

But Angel hasn’t quite escaped the pill-popping ghosts of her past—not with an illicit zombie pharmaceutical at her fingertips. Good thing she’s absolutely sure she can handle the drug’s unpredictable side effects and still take down the bad guys…or maybe she’s only one bad choice away from being dead meat—for real this time.

Angel knows a thing or two about kicking ass, but now the ass she needs to kick might be her own.
My Review

I had a lot of fun with this one!  I had a bit of a rough time with parts of the previous book in the series so I was really happy to have such a good time with this one.  This is the fifth book in the series and I do think that this is a series that needs to be read in order.  A lot of things that happened in previous books played a big role in this story.  I listed to this book for hours at a time and even found myself cleaning things around the house just so I could listen a little bit longer.

Angel is not in the best place at the start of this book.  Becoming a zombie has really forced her into cleaning up her life but in this book she finds that she isn't immune to everything.  Eventually others figure out what is going on and she is able to get some help.  I really liked seeing Angel deal with her demons.  She wasn't always nice and likable but I enjoyed spending time in her mind as she try to work through things.

There is a mystery at the core of the story that Angel is trying to figure out.  She sees a few things while recovering a body with her job at the morgue that leads her to believe that she may know the culprit.  All of this is going on a the same time a big zombie movie premier is the big event in her hometown.  With everyone running around dressed as zombies and zombie hunters, there is no shortage of entertainment in this book.  There is plenty of excitement in this installment and Angel finds herself in a few rather dire circumstances.

Allison McLemore is the voice of Angel.  I honestly could not imagine experiencing this series in any other way but audio.  She really brings Angel to life and does a great job with the other characters as well.  I like that she can express Angel's emotions through her reading and is able to add a bit of excitement to the action scenes.

I would highly recommend this series to others.  I think that Diana Rowland has created a wonderful group of characters that are a lot of fun.  I love her unique take on zombies and I look forward to listening to the next book in the series very soon.

The Series

Book #1 - My Life as a White Trash Zombie - My Review
Book #2 - Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues - My Review
Book #3 - White Trash Zombie Apocalypse - My Review
Book #4 - How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back - My Review
Book #5 - White Trash Zombie Gone Wild
Book #6 - White Trash Zombie Unchained
About the Author

Diana Rowland has lived her entire life below the Mason-Dixon line, uses "y'all" for second-person-plural, and otherwise has no southern accent (in her opinion.) She attended college at Georgia Tech where she earned a BS in Applied Mathematics, and after graduation forgot everything about higher math as quickly as possible.

She has worked as a bartender, a blackjack dealer, a pit boss, a street cop, a detective, a computer forensics specialist, a crime scene investigator, and a morgue assistant, which means that she's seen more than her share of what humans can do to each other and to themselves. She won the marksmanship award in her Police Academy class, has a black belt in Hapkido, has handled numerous dead bodies in various states of decomposition, and can't rollerblade to save her life.

She presently lives in south Louisiana with her husband and her daughter where she is deeply grateful for the existence of air conditioning.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

New Releases - January 16, 2018 #newreleases #newbooks

It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!

Here are just a few books that have just been released that you may want to grab soon:

Light It Up by Nick Petrie

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
In the newest action-packed thriller starring war veteran Peter Ash, a well-planned and flawlessly executed hijacking reveals the hidden dangers of Colorado's mellowest business, but Ash may find there's more to this crime than meets the eye.

Combat veteran Peter Ash leaves a simple life rebuilding hiking trails in Oregon to help his good friend Henry Nygaard, whose daughter runs a Denver security company that protects cash-rich cannabis entrepreneurs from modern-day highwaymen. Henry's son-in-law and the company's operations manager were carrying a large sum of client money when their vehicle vanished without a trace, leaving Henry's daughter and her company vulnerable.

Then, when Peter is riding shotgun on another cash run, the cargo he's guarding comes under attack from hijackers and he narrowly escapes with his life. As the incidents mount, he has to wonder: for criminals as sophisticated as these, is this money really worth the risk? And if not, what about his cargo is worth more?

A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn

Find it at:
Veronica Speedwell returns in an adventure filled with betrayal and deception from Deanna Raybourn, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey Mysteries.

London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague Stoker. His former expedition partner has vanished from an archeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly-discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. The disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed.

Soon Veronica also has to contend with sordid details and malevolent enemies that have emerged from Stoker’s past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats, Veronica must unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything…

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
They call him father, liberator, warlord, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the pale blue planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-second of his life.

A decade ago, Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk everything he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?

And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever:

A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined.

An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life.

And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.

Red Rising was the story of the end of one universe, and Iron Gold is the story of the creation of a new one. Witness the beginning of a stunning new saga of tragedy and triumph from masterly New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown.

Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
Two sisters: Miranda, the older, responsible one, always her younger sister's protector; Lucia, the vibrant, headstrong, unconventional one, whose impulses are huge and, often, life changing. When their mother dies and Lucia starts to hear voices, it's Miranda who must fight for the help her sister needs — even as Lucia refuses to be defined by any doctor's diagnosis.

Determined, impetuous, she plows ahead, marrying a big-hearted Israeli only to leave him, suddenly, to have a baby with a young Latino immigrant. She will move with her new family to Ecuador, but the bitter constant remains: she cannot escape her own mental illness. Lucia lives life on a grand scale, until inevitably, she crashes to earth. And then Miranda must decide, again, whether or not to step in — but this time, Lucia may not want to be saved. The bonds of sisterly devotion stretch across oceans, but what does it take to break them?

Told from alternating perspectives, Everything Here Is Beautiful is, at its core, a heart-wrenching family drama about relationships and tough choices — how much we're willing to sacrifice for the ones we love, and when it's time to let go and save ourselves.
More Great Books Being Released Today
(Covers link to Goodreads)

What new releases are you excited about this week?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Review - Light It Up by Nick Petrie @_NickPetrie_ @PutnamBooks

Light It Up by Nick Petrie
Series: Peter Ash #3
Publisher: Penguin Group - Putnam G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Date Read: January 14, 2018
Length: 400 pages
Source: NetGalley

"Lots of characters get compared to my own Jack Reacher, but Petrie's Peter Ash is the real deal."--Lee Child

In the newest action-packed thriller starring war veteran Peter Ash, a well-planned and flawlessly executed hijacking reveals the hidden dangers of Colorado's mellowest business, but Ash may find there's more to this crime than meets the eye.

Combat veteran Peter Ash leaves a simple life rebuilding hiking trails in Oregon to help his good friend Henry Nygaard, whose daughter runs a Denver security company that protects cash-rich cannabis entrepreneurs from modern-day highwaymen. Henry's son-in-law and the company's operations manager were carrying a large sum of client money when their vehicle vanished without a trace, leaving Henry's daughter and her company vulnerable.

Then, when Peter is riding shotgun on another cash run, the cargo he's guarding comes under attack from hijackers and he narrowly escapes with his life. As the incidents mount, he has to wonder: for criminals as sophisticated as these, is this money really worth the risk? And if not, what about his cargo is worth more?

My Review

I enjoyed this book!  This book reads like an action movie in a lot of ways.  It was exciting and there are so many adrenaline filled scenes that keep the excitement level high.  This is the third book in the Peter Ash series but I do think that it could be read as a stand alone since it tells its own story.  I had such a good time reading this book and found it to be quite the page turner.

Peter is such a great character.  I almost think that he can do anything after reading this book.  He is smart. resourceful, and incredibly tough.  I am not sure that a real man could do all the things that Peter was able to accomplish in this book but I don't care since it was such a fun read.  Peter must deal PTSD as a result of some of the things he has seen and done as a Marine.  For Peter, this manifests as claustrophobia and he cannot stand to be inside for long which adds an interesting twist to things.  Most of this book happens outside so it didn't come up quite as much in this installment but there were a few scenes where it did come up.

The mystery in this book was interesting and fairly complex.  I can tell you that I had no idea how things would work out.  There were some people that I didn't trust as much as others but I had no idea how they might be involved.  This was a multiple layered mystery and as soon as one puzzle was closer to being solved another would begin.  The legal cannabis industry was a big part of the story which thought provoking. It was really nice to read such an original and unique story.

I enjoyed seeing a couple of characters from previous books play a role in this story.  Lewis has been around since the first book and he is back for some action again in this story.  I really enjoy seeing Lewis and Peter work together and think that they make a really great team.  June played a big role in the last book and plays a key role once again.  I really liked seeing the development in their relationship in this installment.  There were some new characters in this book as well.  The chapters that were from told from the point of view of the culprits were my least favorite parts of the book simply because I didn't enjoy spending time in their heads.

I would recommend this book to others.  This is a great installment to an exciting and action packed series.  Once I got started reading, I didn't want to set the book aside because I had to know how Peter would save the day.  I can't wait to read more from Nick Petrie!

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin Group - Putnam G.P. Putnam's Sons via NetGalley.

The Series
Book #1 - The Drifter - My Review
Book #2 - Burning Bright - My Review
Book #3 - Light It Up
About the Author
Photo: © Troye Foxe
Nick Petrie received his MFA in fiction from the University of Washington, won a Hopwood Award for short fiction while an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, and his story “At the Laundromat” won the 2006 Short Story Contest in the The Seattle Review, a national literary journal. A husband and father, he runs a home-inspection business in Milwaukee. His previous novels in the Peter Ash series are The Drifter and Burning Bright.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Stacking the Shelves #102

I am really excited to participate in Stacking the Shelves, a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

This was a really quiet week for me.  I spent a lot of time home with the dogs in the evenings while my husband and daughter had things to do.  It was kind of nice to have the house to myself for a bit.  I didn't request a single book from NetGalley or Edelweiss even though I saw a few that were very tempting.  I think I may actually follow through with my goal of focusing on the pile of arcs that I already have.  I did have my first dnf of the year this week with The Immortalists.

Books for Review
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh (First to Read)

I finally got around to downloading Reign of the Fallen from First to Read.  I like the sound of the book but my copy has some really strange things going on with the fonts so I don't know if I will end up reading this file or not.  I may just wait and grab a copy from the library.

What books do you add to your shelves this week? 
Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own STS post!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Audiobook Review - It by Stephen King

It by Stephen King
Narrated by Steven Weber
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: January 31, 2015
Date Read: December 8, 2017
Length:  44 hours 57 minutes
Source: eStories Purchase
Now a major motion picture
Stephen King's terrifying, classic #1 New York Times bestseller, "a landmark in American literature" (Chicago Sun-Times)-about seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers…an evil without a name: It.

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It's a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city's children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry's sewers.

Readers of Stephen King know that Derry, Maine, is a place with a deep, dark hold on the author. It reappears in many of his books, including Bag of Bones, Hearts in Atlantis, and 11/22/63. But it all starts with It.

"Stephen King's most mature work" (St. Petersburg Times), "It will overwhelm you… to be read in a well-lit room only" (Los Angeles Times).
My Review

I liked this one.  I really have not read a lot of King's work but this book has been one that I have wanted to pick up for a long time.  I decided to go with the audiobook since I had heard great things about the narration and I think I made a really good choice.  This was a really entertaining story that kept me listening for hours at a time.

This book is told in alternating timelines.  We follow a group of characters in the childhood and again as adults.  The timelines worked really well with each other to tell the story of the events occurring in the town of Derry and there are some very strange events happening in that little town in Maine.  I found that I liked both timelines equally and was really invested in finding out how things would work out in each. 

I really feel like I got to know all of the characters very well.  There is no shortage of character development in this book.  If anything, I would say that we are given too much information regarding the backgrounds of some of the characters.  I mean this is a really long book and sometimes I felt like I spent hours listening to only learn one character's backstory.  On one hand I really liked all the details but on the other hand the book felt too long.  I liked that the main characters were all flawed individuals that had things to overcome as kids and new things to overcome as adults. 

I think that this book did a lot of things really well in addition to the characters and use of timelines.  I think that it did a great job of painting a truly creepy and menacing portrait of the evil in Derry.  I liked the mystery behind Pennywise and his appearances.  There were some truly frightening scenes in the book which I really appreciated as well.  There were a few scenes that felt so realistic that I found myself cringing as I listened to the book.

There were a few things that I didn't care for in the book.  The end of the book felt really weird to me.  The ending was surprisingly odd and just didn't seem to completely fit.  I was also rather bothered by the sex scenes involving kids.  It was just all kinds of wrong and the book would have been a lot stronger without it in my opinion.  I did feel that the book was too long.  I enjoyed the story but by the time I got closer to the end, I was more than ready to be done with it. 

Steven Weber did an absolutely fantastic job narrating this book.  There was a very large cast of characters that he handled very well.  I thought that he did an exceptional job with Bill's stutter and keeping all of the voices consistent.  He added just enough of a creepy factor to the scenes that needed it.  He really did such a wonderful job in bringing this story to life and I often listened to his voice for hours at a time.  I would definitely listen to his narration again if given the opportunity.

I would recommend this book to others.  It wasn't perfect but it was really good and I am glad that I finally took the time to listen to it.  I do recommend the audiobook for anyone considering reading this book because I really do feel that the narration adds a wonderful element to the story.  I do hope to read more from Stephen King in the near future.
About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Bill Hodges Trilogy—Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel), Finders Keepers, and End of Watch—and the story collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. His epic series, The Dark Tower, is the basis for a major motion picture starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. It is also now a major motion picture starring Bill SkarsgĂ„rd. King is the recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Review - The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Date Read: December 9, 2017
Length:  352 pages
Source: NetGalley
"A jaw-dropping psychological thriller." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Fiendishly the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. This one will keep you guessing." –Anita Shreve, New York Times bestselling author of The Stars are Fire

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage - and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.
My Review

I was completely underwhelmed by this book.  I saw some really positive reviews for this book so I decided to read it myself because I love good books.  I wanted to love this book as much as other readers but it just wasn't meant to be.  I honestly don't see what all of the fuss is about.  There were a few twists but nothing that really blew me away or anything.  I am being really generous with my three star rating with this one.

This is one of those books that is going to be best to go in as blindly as possible.  The less you know about the book the better your chances of enjoying it.  As you can probably guess from the title, this book is about marriage.  We meet an ex-wife and a soon to be wife and get to know them a bit. 

Nothing about this book ever grabbed me.  I didn't feel much for any of the characters and I never felt that compulsion to keep turning pages so that I could find out what would happen next.  It was a book that I could set aside if I had something else to do but it wasn't painful to read either.  It was just kind of average.  There are some big twists in the book but I honestly didn't find them all that shocking.   By the time the first big twist is revealed, I just didn't really care all that much. 

I feel like this is a book that received more hype than it deserves.  Then again, there are some readers that absolutely love this book.  I won't be actively recommending this book to others but wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it either. 

I received an advanced reader edition of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley.
About the Author

GREER HENDRICKS spent over two decades as an editor. Her writing has been published in The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. The Wife Between Us is her first novel.

SARAH PEKKANEN is the internationally and USA Today bestselling author of seven previous novels. A former investigative journalist and feature writer, her work has been published in The Washington Post, USA Today, and many others.
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