REVIEW – Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

“This is how the world ends, with both a bang and a whimper.”

A bang and a whimper – this perfectly explains how I feel about this book. It hooked me from the beginning. Wendig is a talented writer – he nails the thoughts, feelings, sights, sounds, etc of mundane, everyday life (interwoven with the impending apocalypse, of course).

As more details unfold, this becomes a chilling page-turner. I was dying to learn more, to figure out how it ends. But then…it’s just a bit too long. A little repetitive (we get it, bad guys are bad. The world is ending.)

And ultimately, the ending just…didn’t work for me. It should be terrifying, but it didn’t quite deliver the punch I think it intended to. A solid entry into the apocalyptic fiction category, but hindered by an excessive page count.

REVIEW – Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Commonwealth had my interest at the beginning, and slowly lost it as the book went on…eventually losing it completely by the end.

The characters are barely likable. The overall vibe is just kind of odd and depressing and seemingly unrealistic. I feel like important details aren’t explored enough, and unimportant parts are brought up again and again…and again.

REVIEW – A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

“Stories are the wildest things of all, the monster rumbled. Stories chase and bite and hunt.”

I read this in one sitting and it emotionally wrecked me. What an incredible book – I pretty much knew where it would end up but that didn’t make getting there any less memorable or emotional.

The artwork in this book is stunning. And even at 200 pages, it’s a quick read.

“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”

REVIEW – Inspection by Josh Malerman

My middle-ish rating is not indicative of Malerman’s writing. Malerman is a fantastic writer. However, I think this book was maybe 80 pages too long, or may have been more impactful as a short story.

It does start to get a bit slow and repetitive at times, but the ending is fast and insane and…brutal.

Inspection has elements reminiscent of 1984, Never Let Me Go and The Giver.

It’s an incredibly unique story, and although not quite as memorable as Bird Box, still enjoyable for those who like some sci-fi/light horror.

REVIEW – The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

First of all, I want to apologize to Jennifer McMahon for taking so long to read one of her books.

The Invited is incredible. I loved everything – the characters, the rich history, all of the back stories.

Oddly enough, I don’t read a lot of ghost stories. But this book has convinced me that maybe that needs to change.

[slightly spoilery comments ahead]

I had my suspicions about who the real “monster” was in this story, but there were some twists towards the end that caught me off guard. I also didn’t expect this to be sad, but it works so well.

REVIEW – The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

The Book of Essie was a great story (even if it was a bit predictable). I liked the characters (Roarke was my favorite!) and the plot definitely keeps moving – there isn’t a slow moment in this book.

I did think that Essie and Roarke seemed a bit too mature for their age, but I also might be too far removed from 17 to remember what I was really like and how mature (or not) my peers were.

Overall it’s an easy, quick read and is perfect for anyone who ever followed that super large, religious TV family. You know who I mean.

REVIEW – Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Miracle Creek is a debut novel that doesn’t feel like one – Angie Kim’s writing is that of a seasoned author.

Without giving too much away, this book gave me Jodi Picoult vibes in the best way possible. The multiple perspectives, the courtroom drama, the complex relationships and family dynamics.

This was a page turner, but not in the traditional way. I didn’t find this to be fast paced, but it still held my attention and had me wanting to learn more.

REVIEW – Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

This story is INSANE. I have so much respect for John Carreyrou – the scare tactics and intimidation that came from Theranos’s lawyers (and employees…and board members…) were no joke.

It’s amazing how many people (smart, experienced people) fell for Elizabeth Holmes’ charm, her lies, her manipulation. She is really just a bully who thinks she’s smarter than everyone else and thinks she deserves…what? Wealth? Success? Prestige?

It’s almost too ridiculous to be believable, but Bad Blood is solid proof that truth is stranger than fiction.