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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Book(s) Review(s): Hollow Man and Dominic by Mark Pryor

You’re in for a treat today – two books in a brilliant new-ish series from one of my favorite authors, the exceptionally talented Mark Pryor. I’ve read every book in his Hugo Marston series – it’s a marvelous mystery series featuring an ex-pat former CIA agent who is now living in Paris as the head of security for the American Embassy. The books are populated by a marvelously original cast of characters, the writing is fantastic (as is the pacing), and the story lines are all unique and can be read as stand-alone mysteries but there is a delicious build based on Hugo’s backstory that is finally (as of the latest, book 7) coming to a head and promises great things when it eventually erupts over the edges of everything and everyone…

But enough of that. This is about ANOTHER great Pryor series: The Hollow Man books.

The first, Hollow Man, introduces Dominic – a lawyer, Englishman-living-in-Texas, musician. Who also happens to be a psychopath. Seriously. Imagine Dexter but with lawyers. Then throw out that mental picture. Dominic is infinitely more complex and fascinating than any psychopath I’ve come across in fiction (and, odd though it is to realize this, there have been a lot of them, especially lately!) and because Pryor’s writing won’t leave you any room for comparisons – you’ll be too busy catching your breath at the casual reveals that are tossed out, Usual Suspects-style, at the most unsuspecting and innocent-seeming moments throughout the story… Continue reading Book(s) Review(s): Hollow Man and Dominic by Mark Pryor

Guest Book Review: In the Rearview Mirror by Lee Livingston

Another guest review today, courtesy of Sharon. It’s a quick read, but with a big concept. “A best friend in high school is a friend for life, except when he shoots himself at twenty-nine.” So reads the first line of Lee Livingston’s newly re-mastered memoir, In The Rearview Mirror. Despite the ominous overtones, it’s a touching and inspiring look back at our country, before the deaths of John. F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., before the Vietnam War. In his own words, Livingston says he and his friend were just “two carefree 18-year-olds hitchhiked across a country of wide-open highways and wide-open people.” Times may not have been simpler, but they were a whole lot more free. And the human experience is never quite so simple. It’s an adventure out of adolescence and into the beginning of responsibility, and a moving read.


I was very curious when I read the blurb, and the opening line is so moving and intriguing that it is hard to imagine not wanting to dive right in. Despite my initial interest though, this book did not hold me riveted as some do. Continue reading Guest Book Review: In the Rearview Mirror by Lee Livingston

Book Review: Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

I must confess, this was the book in the trilogy that I least enjoyed… It felt like a political manifesto as much as (rather than?) than the conclusion to the series. The parts that focused on the continuation of the existing relationships (between Terrans and Ekt, between Eva and Vincent, between Rose and Vincent), and on the establishment of new characters/relationships and bits of fill-in backstory that fleshed out what has been happening to Rose et al. since the end of Book Two were very well done and very engaging. But there was A LOT of “this is what’s wrong with the world” played out in the interstices – and those interstices often resembled canyons or trenches (ala Marianas) more than anything actually interstitial…

I understand and appreciate what Neuvel was doing with this book, and how the terrapolitical and geopolitical expositions played into the overarching story. I just felt at times like I was reading an indictment of contemporary political thought and global activity – a philosophical treatise, almost – rather than a scifi novel. That’s fine, but it made the pacing uneven for me and slowed things down a lot. I found myself skimming at times in the middle – and honestly, don’t feel like I missed anything by doing so. Still, the trilogy as a whole was a vastly entertaining enterprise and very original and well plotted and well characterized. I’m just glad it started with the first book – which was five stars all the way for me – because if it had opened with a focus akin to this final book, I probably wouldn’t have made it all the way through…

My review copy was provided by NetGalley.

Book Review: Hangman by Jack Heath

Timothy Blake is NOT your average, everyday FBI consultant – and his story is NOT your average, everyday thriller… This is a helluva ride – the action is non-stop, the characterization is spot-on (in the creepiest and most darkly delightful of ways), the plot is well thought out with twists and turns that keep the reader on their toes without ever feeling overdone. Blake is a fantastic creation – but his “lifestyle” is not for the faint of heart or squeamish. The style is fast-paced without feeling like you’re being sped through the reveals; the secrets unfold with surprising delicacy, given the subject matter and genre, and the reader is fed just enough detail along the way to keep you guessing without ever actually admitting to anything until the time is just right. Continue reading Book Review: Hangman by Jack Heath

Book Review: Holmes Entangled by Gordon McAlpine

“Occam’s razor does not always slice straight. The universe is a labyrinth.”

I do NOT know how Gordon McAlpine does it, but he has the most incredible imagination and a phenomenal gift at translating that imagination into narratives that blend reality and fiction, melding the two to create a perfect agglomeration that entertains and makes you think at the same time… Continue reading Book Review: Holmes Entangled by Gordon McAlpine

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