Book Review: Star Wars X-Wing Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole

Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole is the Top Gun of the Star Wars novels. The novel is about X-Wing missions after the Empire has fallen. The space battles are well crafted and even if this wasn’t Star Wars the war games are strategically sound and well thought out. This is the first of the X-Wing novels that follows Wedge Antilles and the Rogue Squadron who in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi defeated both the Deathstars. This novel is part of the Legends series of Star Wars novel, meaning that it is not in Star Wars Cannon with the time line that Force Awakens has created. In Legend time line this novel takes place 6 years after A New Hope. This novel in its self was a reread for me, it’s rating did improve on this reread, my original rating was two stars, which I raised to 3 stars and it was close to 4. When I did give it the original star rating I was doing it from memory since I did not know about Goodreads and read for fun without giving it a review. I was really in the mod to read a Star Wars story as I have been rewatching the entire series in anticipation for the new movie The Rise of the Skywalkers and new episodes of the Mandalorian on Disney+.

The Plot: Wedge Antilles one of the founding members and final remaining members of Rogue Squadron he is tasked with training a new team of X-Wing pilots to be the new Rogue Squadron. The Emperor and Darth Vader have been defeated but the Empire still exist and it is trying to actively shut down the Rebel Alliance. Corran Horn is one of those new recruits, he was a former member of Corsec a police unit on Corcusant, Corran resisted the Empire as long as he could and fled when they took over taking an X-wing and an R2 droid with him. Defecting was one thing but stealing now empire equipment is a big thing, he is now hunted my his former boss Kirtan Loor was tasked with tracking him and his stolen property down. With Corran joining the Rogue Squadron Loor is promoted and now in charge of destroying Rogue Squadron.

What I Liked: The character’s are great they all have interesting backgrounds that compelled them to rebel. Corran I liked especially at first he’s a hot head pilot that has to learn to work as a unit. Wedge was one of my favorite side characters form the original trilogy, (side note can not wait to see what they do with his character in Rise of the Skywalkers since he is confirmed to be back.) his character does not disappoint he his a calculating and caring team leader, you found out he’s reject promotion after promotion because he just wants to fly. Ooryl is by far my favorite character, he’s the goose to Corran Horn’s Maverick and a great sidekick. What I found fascinating is about the Gand species that is born only being called Gand and you have to earn your first and last name. The X-Wing battles are exciting and really smart military war games, the battle reminded a lot of the Battle School in Enders Game by Orsen Scott Card. The respect it gave to former members of Rogue Squadron, like Dack and Porkins. I really liked the epilogue and what scenario it sets up for the the next book Wedge’s Gamble.

What I Disliked: Te dialogue was sometimes lacking especially the slangs where they tried too hard to make Star Wars references, Son of a Sithspawn was the only good one that I can remember. The finale was really lacking it was one sided battle, I compare it to in Return of the Jedi you have the battle on Endor, The battle in space around the Deathstar, and you have the Luke Darth Vader duel, that all count on each other to succeed. The finally just gives you on scenario not the whole chain of events all you get is a passing acknowledgment that the plan passed or failed.

Recommendations: Iv’e read at least twenty Star Wars books over the years, where this was just good it set’s up leading to one of my favorite Star Wars X-Wing novels the Kyrotos Trap. It has an Empire Strikes back like ending that will really test the Rebellion. This novel if you ever wanted to read a Top Gun like novel full of space battles then this is your book. I rated this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Wrap Up: November 2019 Book Reviews

Wow one more month left in the year, 2019 is flying by. With my new work schedule allowing a little more time for reading, I completed 8 books this month. Two books this month have made it on my top five list of the year. I had 3 books that were five stars, 3 books that were four stars, and 2 that were three stars. One of the books was an advanced readers copy thanks to Netgalley. This month I reached over 600 followers, thanks every one for the support. I met and exceeded my reading goal of 65 books this year.

Five Star Reviews:

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – A woman is found in a catatonic state as she is covered in the blood of her husband, who had been shot multiple times, a psychotherapist believes he is the only man to make her talk again. A fantastic debut thriller with a twist ending that changes everything. This book is a little Hitchcockian with the added bonus of a Greek tragedy that will keep you on the edge of your seat until you know the truth.

Recursion by Blake Crouch – A cop is exposed to FMS (False Memory Syndrome) where all the people in their social circle remember a different lifetime of memories other then their own. Recursion mind bending Science Fiction, I would say like no other, but this is the writer of Dark Matter, so mind bending is what he just does. A good science fiction for me makes me ask questions about the potential future and this book will compel you to ask questions. The story is all about memories of the past and how we connect to them, and second-guess the choices we made in those instances.

The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – A book that takes real people and actions during World War II and creates a compelling work of fiction that fells very true. Lilac Girls follows three women Kasia a Polish teenager who works for the underground against the Nazis, Herta a young German doctor that works at women’s German prison camp, and Caroline an American that volunteers at the French Consulate and helps the war effort. These tales are all connected in some way and intermingle at times

Four Star Reviews:

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware – an anxiety filled psychological thriller about a woman invited to a Bachelorette party ten years after having a fall out with the bride to be, twist, turns, and murder are abound.   It makes you fill claustrophobic but yet on display. This is my second Ruth Ware novel I caught the hype train and read The Women in Cabin 10, I have to say I liked this one a whole lot better.

Let’s Get Invisible by R. L. Stine – this is the sixth in the original Goosebumps series. This one is all about invisibility, the ultimate way to play hide and seek. Stine always adds something real and relevant to his horrors and this time it is addiction and peer pressure.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – A book that cast a spell on your knowledge of witches and vampires and one of the best stories of introducing vampires and witches and their to world history, literature, and sciences. Diane accidently breaks a powerful protection spell on a book that is the holy grail of vampires, witches, and daemons, that tells how they were made and can be destroyed, this draws danger as all species want that book for their own purposes.

Three Star Reviews:

Once Upon a Dream: A Disney Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell – A book from Disney’s Twisted Tales Series, where reader are given alternative versions of classic Disney stories by having what if questions. For Once Upon a Dream the what if scenario is, What if Sleeping Beauty never woke up? We get a clever plot, but with a slow start.

Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand – An interesting Historical Fiction mixed with a mystery. The story takes place in 1915 Fair grounds in Chicago about twenty years after the World’s Fair fire and the serial killer H.H. Holmes, with it’s own serial killer to deal with. The history is a big part I was constantly reminded of the nonfiction work The Devil in the White City, which covered the 1893 Chicago’s World’s Fair. This is a decent story with a strong LGTBQ lead character. A special thanks to Netgalley and Mulholland Books for giving me a copy.

 

 

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is book that cast a spell on your knowledge of witches and vampires. This book is one of the All Souls trilogy, it is one of the best books of introducing vampires and witches and their additions to world history and sciences. The book is really well researched on the history and plausibly inserts the creatures into time. This book reminded me of some of my favorite parts of Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles and The Mayfair Witches, the history and the romance. It creates and explains it’s own rules for each creature, mocking their Hollywood interpretations. Diane the main character is a strong witch that does need any saving my vampire or witch. I like that this book is quest for the holy grail tale reversed, instead of finding out about human life they want a book that explains the creation of vampires, witches, and daemons (not a typo, it is a creature at uses influence to madding effect, the super smart, that could go crazy at any moment) and also how to destroy them. The novel pays out like a chess match making continuous moves and sacrifices along the way. A Discovery of Witches is a show on AMC that is currently in it’s second season starring Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer.

The Plot: Diana Bishop is a professor at Oxford and also a witch. She knows what she is but very reluctant to use any of her powers only for trivial stuff, like not finding her glasses. She knows of Vampires and Daemons can feel their presence. Diana while doing research on alchemy stumbles across a book she needs in the Oxford library. the book is old with a seal preventing it from being opened, she need this book and it reluctantly opens, and Diana can feel a spell being lifted. She does research with it a notices the pages when in light reveal hidden text, she would love to explore this more but her need is done, she shuts the book and the seal reforms making the magic reactivate, and returns it. What she didn’t know is that no one has seen that book in hundreds of years and the book holds secrets of life and death to witches, vampires and daemons. When the magic was released others felt it’s power. Matthew an over 1,000 year old vampire wants the book and starts following Diana and protecting her from others who want the book. The book draws an ancient order that will stop at nothing for the secrets of the book.

What I Liked: The history in this book is so good I felt very real and plausible. The lore changes to Vampires and Witches were really thought full and explained where the movies and book borrowed from. The haunted witch house were my favorite scenes with the grandma witch in ghost form criticizing her ancestor’s choices. The family dynamic of vampires, this is the first book that I have read where the maker is referred to as mother and father while the new vampire is referred to as son of daughter. The aspect of the book and the secrets it holds was really intriguing and held my interest. I enjoyed that Diana’s character was so head strong and wasn’t a damsel in distress. I really liked the bad guys and only wished I could have spent more time with them in this book. I really enjoyed the side characters of Marcus, Miriam, and Hamish. The love aspect took be quite a while to be fully on board but when more was reveled in terms of fate I enjoyed it more and it became less forced. The mystery surrounding the death of Diana’s parents and what they did to protect her. The lead in to the next book is really intriguing, it seems like all the things that I liked in this book will expanded. The magic was really good I especially liked the witchwater scene and witchfire usage.

What I Disliked: All the conversations about wine, too much! There’s people out to kill us, let’s take a while and talk of this Bordeaux. The pacing to me was sometime frustrating, there’s a book that can hold the secret to everything we know of witches, vampires, and daemons, and it takes 200 pages to try to summon the book again, while we had ten wine conversations. What I failed to see was all the information on history was pulling the book in a different direction, which I enjoyed where the book ended up but would have enjoyed a faster pace pulling me there.

Recommendations: If you want a smart new take on the vampire genre, then A Discovery of Witches is the book. If you’re a history buff, you’ll geek out after Matthew is inserted Forest Gump-like into literature, history, and science as well as witches and daemons influences as well. This book captures the imagine because it it so well thought out in terms of history. If you’re a wine connoisseur then you will find all the wine conversation way more fascinating than I did. I rate this book 4out of 5 stars. My girlfriend has read all the books says that I will like the 2nd book a lot better, so I look forward to it and the history.

Book Review: Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand

Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand is an atmospheric Historical Fiction surrounded in a world mystery by a deadly serial killer of young girls. The story takes place in 1915 fair grounds in Chicago about twenty years after the World’s Fire fire and the serial killer H.H. Holmes, with it’s own serial killer to deal with. The history is a big part I was constantly reminded of the nonfiction work The Devil in the White City which covered the 1893 Chicago’s World’s Fair. The history and the rides at the time were really neat, The book only covers one in detail Hellsgate ride I could almost imagine it. The book is LGTBG friendly with it’s lead character Pin who is a girl who lives as a boy and struggles with her feelings about girls and one girl in particular Glory. I have not read a great amount of LGTBQ books but I found this one really nailed the questioning of ones self. A special thanks to Netgalley and Mulholland Books for giving me a copy, Curious Toys was published on October 15 2019.

The Plot: Pin is a 14 year old girl who lives as a boy, it started for safety but she likes it and prefers it, her mother is a fortune teller at the fair. The both live on a shack on the fair grounds. Two years’s ago Pin’s sister was lost, she had a form of down syndrome, and has never been found. Pin runs drugs for Max, a he/she act where one side is a man and the other a woman. Pin is always curious and noticing things adults don’t she is sensitive to young girls and strangers. She watches a young girl in a yellow dress get into a ride with a man and never get out, the man she doesn’t get a good look but is sure what she’s seen. She sneaks into ride and discovers a body. Pin is the only one who cares as the body brings even more people to check out the ride and the fair, Pin is willing to risk her life but she might have to risk something more important to her identity.

What I Liked: Pin as a character was fascinating, wish we spent more time with her, and her crisis. I liked the little twist with Glory and who she turned out to be. I liked the Charlie Chaplin bit especially the bit about the cops questioning him being ashamed at the way they are portrayed in his movies. I liked the climax it was pretty exciting. The killer was good the reader was left to fill in a lot of their reasons for the crimes. I did like the flashback of the killer, even at the time reading it you didn’t know who’s flashback it was. I did like the Fatty Bacon cop character and the date scene he had. I love, loved, the part about Pin wanting to expose the killer put to do it in a way she could keep her identity as being a boy, I found that really powerful. I liked the language and found it fitting of the time period. This was one of the coolest covers with all the images about the book is has, it was one of the reasons I selected to request this novel form Netgalley.

What I Disliked: The character of Henry Darger I didn’t care for a hospital janitor that isn’t all there, slightly crazy, that looks out for young girls and has a club protecting them. His character was not needed and it kept the reader away from Pin. I would have liked his character a little more if his slight bio was at the beginning instead of at the end. I didn’t like that the story jumped around having 7 different character’s narratives. Pin, the killer and maybe one more character was all you needed, though I did like being in Charlie Chaplin’s head briefly it didn’t serve a narrative purpose and could been in the newspaper. I figured out who the killer was early, I saw where the novel was pulling me and saw through the misdirection. There was not that many possible suspects, so I found it easy to make the leap. I wanted better descriptions of all the people and things it keeps talking about boater hats, which I had to look up to know what they looked look then see it in the words on the page.

Recommendation: I would mildly recommend this to a reader searching for a LGTBQ character in the early 1900’s and the questioning of one’s self and identity was really good. If you like historical fiction of the early 1900’s, I love Charlie Chaplin and found that part fascinating, as the description of the Hellsgate amusement park ride. I rated this novel 3 out of 3 stars. I found there were some really great moment and some not so great moments that it balanced out.

Movie Review: Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Directed By Kevin Smith

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Directed by Kevin Smith – The movie was everything I hoped it could be as a fan of Kevin Smith and his View Askew Universe. I also saw this movie as part of a Road show stop in Chattanooga, Tennessee where Kevin Smith and Jayson Mewes introduced the film and did a 45 minute Q and A after the film. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is like his Avengers: Endgame marvel movie, where he wraps up films and storylines that he started 25 years ago. Chasing Amy was my favorite movie and it gives us closure after 22 to the story of Holden and Alyssa. It’s something I didn’t know I needed until I saw the scene with Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams. This movie has jokes on jokes, it reverses some of the scenes from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Matt Damon and Chris Hemsworth make fun of themselves in hilarious Cameos. Kevin Smith plays dual roles as a version of Kevin Smith the director persona, and as Silent Bob. I saw the film as part of the road show some scenes couldn’t be heard over the laughter of the audience. I would recommend it if you were a fan. The jokes are full of puns and movie references like cultish hits like Don’t tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and How High, as well as references to Glen Gary, Glen Ross and Up in Smoke. Celebs have fun poking fun poking fun of themselves like Ben Affleck forgetting the name of his mother and winking at the camera, and Jason Lee making fun of Alvin and the Chipmunks. The movie is a good time all around and there’s plenty of references that are hit and miss, it helps if you’ve seen the movies that Jay and Silent Bob are in, but they are humorously summed up in a scene.

The Plot: Years after the world had scene the last Bluntman and Chronic movie, Hollywood has declared it is time for a reboot. The movie company has tricked Jay and Silent Bob to give their life rights away as Bluntman and Chronic alterego’s are Jay and Silent Bob, since that’s who it was based on. So Jay and Silent Bob set off once again to shut the new movie down. Along the way Jay runs into a blast from the past Justice, Jay’s ex, also lovingly known as Boo Boo Kitty f#ck. Justice reveals Jay has a daughter, and it just so happens she wants to make it to the Bluntman and Chronic movie as well, for other reasons.

What I Liked: The jokes and references, I’m a huge movie geek and there’s jokes, upon jokes about cult classic, to comic book movies, courtroom TV dramas, and plenty jokes about Jay and Silent Bob’s own films. There’s plenty of weed references layer through out. This movie has so much self depreciating humor and most of it leveled at Kevin Smith the director himself. Jayson Mewes can handle the juvenile comedy but he has some moments of drama that for the most part he pulls off. The movie doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and constantly winking at the audience.  Tommy Chong’s steals the scene, it reminded me of every time he was on that 70’s show and nailed it, he is so hard not too watch. The Chasing Amy scene was beautiful, Kevin Smith has said the scene came at the last minute, but man was it needed and executed to perfection.

What I Disliked: No Mark Hamill Disney told him he could not do it so he was greatly missed as Cock Knocker the villain. The Climax is a big mess that makes no sense and a character turn from out of nowhere.   The beginning takes a little second to get into it, it’s extremely cartoony, but soon begins to balance out.

Recommendations: if you’ve seen all the other Jay and Silent Bob movies, then this one is can’t miss. It you’re a casual fan I think you’ll enjoy. If you’re a fan of movies there so many references the one mentioned in this review are just scratching the surface. This movie delivers on the laughs in a big way I was crying a couple times out of laughter. I saw this movie as part of the road show tour, where you get a film introduction where we watched all of Jay and Silent Bob’s Audible spots, then the film plays and a 45 minute Q and A where I found out the plot of Clerks 3 got personal stories of Stan Lee, Found out the Mallrats 2 is happening at Universal, and we are getting Moose Jaws a movie of a Jaws version with a moose. Kevin Smith can Jab and I found it entertain and riveting. Seeing a movie with fan of Kevin Smith that get the same references from his earlier films was really special and worth the 60 dollar tickets in my opinion. I rated the movie 4 out of 5 stars. It ranks in my top third spot according to Jay and Silent Bob movies. The magic is still there with Jay and Silent Bob

Book Review:The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a fantastic debut with a twist that changes everything. This book is a little Hitchcockian with the added bonus of a greek tragedy, it will keep you on the edge of your seat until you know the truth, but once you know the big twist there’s another one coming and it is great one two. This novel makes you not trust anyone as everyone has flaws, some own those flaws and and others hide them dark and deep. One of the better twist I’ve read in a novel since Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, my top book of last year. The Silent Patient just took the top spot in mystery away from the also excellent An Anonymous Girl By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. This novel is more than the twist is intrigued me from the start and did not let go. What I consider a great mystery is when, twist makes since and also you gave the audience enough clues to figure it out, for me that’s what this book did, and it deserves a slow clap, because it fooled me and I could not be happier, I hate when I figure out an ending, but I didn’t know where this was going an the unreliable people that could have done it were plenty. The ending will stick with me for a while like Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins where I got the mystery all wrong.

The Plot: Alicia Berenson is a semi famous painter who adores her husband Gabriel also an artist deals in photography. They were happily married for 7 years, but 6 years ago Alicia is found covered in blood with her husband shot multiple times. Alicia went it to a catatonic and stopped speaking, and has been that way for the past 6 years. Theo Faber is a psychotherapist that can feel the empathy of those he works with, he has grown obsessed with Alicia’s case over the years, and when an opportunity come to take a position at the Grove where Alicia is held comes up he must take it. He thinks he’s can get her to speak and tell what really happened that night.

What I Liked: The pace and flow make this 336 page book so easy to read. The way the novel is set up got me hooked form the start and made have to know what happened. The twists will make you mouth drop. It made the theme of stage tragedies work really well. The suspects all have motive but as you get to know them they also show in some cases multiple sides, so all remain questionable. I did not guess any of the mystery correctly, but when all revealed it made since. Having Theo tell the story has a potential book really works as he get to play detective to unlock Alicia’s mind.

What I Disliked: When all is revealed I wanted a bit more the wrap up was good, but I wanted a better explanation about some parts. I had to keep reminding myself this was England than America. But that’s it really solid debut.

Recommendation: I liked this book a lot it was my kind of mystery, a quick read with amazing twist that change everything, even though they were right in front of your face the whole time. If you like big twist books like Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn, Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins then you will love this book. I rated The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides a big 5 out of 5 stars. I look forward to a lot more work from this author. I love when the hype for a book is real.

Tv Series Review: The Mandalorian chapter one -Star Wars Disney+

The Mandalorian episode 1 written by Jon Favreau and directed by Dave Filoni is off to a good start in the first live action show in the Star Wars universe it captures the look of Star Wars off the bat. The first episode took a minute to get into, I would have to say mainly to Horatio Sanz acting. I didn’t feel like he was part of the universe and more or less a guy in a costume. I was very satisfied with what happened to his character. The music was kind of odd at times, some times it was nailed, but I swear I heard parts of a Rocky like theme, I honestly don’t think it was implanted in my brain because I saw Carl Weathers, who was good. The cast without Horatio Sanz and other actors in the opening scene are good, really good. You will play where have I heard that voice from with voice talent from Nick Nolte and Taika Waititi. Other actors are Pedro Pascal as the Mandalorian, who does not take his helmet off and sounds more like a young Timothy Olyphant tan Pedro Pascal under the helmet, Werner Hertzog, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi and Brian Posehn. I’m a pretty big Star wars fans I’ve seen every movie watched most of the tv shows I love Rebels, read a decent amount of Star Wars books.

 

The Plot: (loose spoilers – I describe the first five minutes of the show) The world is torn after the defeat of the empire (The Mandalorian takes place after Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens. Bounty Hunting is in business, the mandalorian enters into a bar after a character was getting shaken down. When he walks in he’s immediately accosted he takes down the thugs and in brutal form (the camera cuts away as some one is sliced in half), The guy getting shakendown offers a reward as thanks, but the mandalorian looks him up and he has a bounty and is removed. That sets up the tone of the show. The mandalorian turns in his bounties then learns of a top secret loose on the details mission that he takes on a remote planet.

 

What I Liked: The visuals are stunning there’s a lot of really cool visuals that could be posters the final shot, and the walking out of the bar shot. The transitions in the show are the exact in a Star War . The acting is good except for Horatio Sanz, sorry. The story moves really well, the episode is only 35 minutes, which felt odd and went very fast. I liked that he doesn’t take the helmet off, we get to see his face as a boy through flashbacks. The special effects were really good for a tv show. There’s a creature that was in Jabba’s palace, that is featured here in a really memorable cameo scene, it is not the same creature but a cousin or brother maybe. Excellent action scenes. There’s good bits of humor throughout, Taika Waititi’s character gave me the biggest laughs. I love the characterization of the bounty hunter, very Clint Eastwood the spaghetti westerns. Theirs is a western no man’s land vibe.

 

What I Disliked: The music was at times weird, and did not fit. There’s only one episode up for now but no timeline listed of when new episodes come out, which I find frustrating. I liked Nick Nolte’s character but did not like the scene he was in, it felt like total filler. I reminded me of a bad episode of the Clone Wars. I took a second to get in to the universe.

 

Recommendations: I will recommend the series, it feels more like Rogue One the film than any other star wars film. The action and atmosphere is great. You doesn’t have to know anything about star wars too watch this show. I rated this episode 4 out of 5 stars. Personal note don’t worry my book review friends this is mainly a book review site, I just got Disney+ the three year deal and wanted to give my insight to the new show, for people that are star wars fans that are maybe on the fence.

The latest trailer

Book Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware is an anxiety filled psychological thriller, it makes you fill claustrophobic but yet on display. This is my second Ruth Ware novel I caught the hype train and read The Women in Cabin 10, I have to say I liked this one a whole lot better. my main complaint is it ended the mystery too soon and In the Dark, Dark Wood keeps you guessing until the end. The reviews blurbs on the cover do imply scary mainly Reese Witherspoon’s “Prepare to be scared … really scared!”, this book is a long panic attack, you are in a character’s mind living her worst case scenario with some added memory loss that really puts her on edge. The twist are mainly small but there’s a couple large ones, but the novel is mainly atmospheric. This book is scheduled to be a movie soon.

The Plot: Nora or Lenora is found in the dark woods, covered in blood and bruises, with most of her fingernails broken and battered, she has no memory other than she was a guest a a bachelorette (or the British version a hen party) at a remote cabin in the woods. Nora takes us through how she got invited to the party. Nora a Crime writer gets an invite from Clare trough her over ambitious friend Flo. Nora thinks there must be a mistake Clare had a falling out 10 years ago, she looks through the guest list and sees the one person she knows from the past, Nina they message and Nina is just as surprised at the invite as Nora. They each dare each other to go, something they will both soon regret.

What I Liked: As someone who has had bouts with anxiety, the description are right on and put you in that space. Nina was by far my favorite character, great sassy character that is not afraid to speak her mind and make a situation uncomfortable. I loved all the allegories to stages and play acting, and how it fit so well with all the reveals. I like the atmospheric tension with the setting. I was satisfied with the the reveals and reasons of the antagonist. There some great uncomfortable humor at one character’s expense that had me laugh out loud once, and chuckle. The ouija board scene is the by far my favorite scene.

What I Disliked: I felt no police would allow a suspect to have all the free reign with visitors, and the hospital administration letting almost anyone with no relation back to see a patient. The novel had some good twist but for the climax there’s a scene that is so telegraphed I kept rolling my eyes, other reviewers have really harped on this scene, it was a misstep but I didn’t let it effect my rating too much with the other twist and turns landing.

Recommendations: If you’re looking for a good solid mystery then this one works, there’s no big twist that change everything but twist that for the most part keep you guessing. I will recommend this book to people curious about what happens to your mind and body during a panic attack, if you’ve never had one. I rated In a Dark, Dark Wood 4 out of 5 stars this has restored my faith in Ruth Ware since I gave The Women in Cabin 10 3 stars.

Book Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion by Blake Crouch is a mind bending Science Fiction, I would say like no other, but this is the writer of Dark Matter, so mind bending is what he just does.  A good science fiction for me makes me ask questions about the potential future and this book will compel you to ask questions. The story is all about memories of the past and how we connect to them, and second guess the choices we made in those instances. I was thrown into my own life and thought about my own memories the happiest and the saddest. This story can be compared to Inception meets Primer with some Edge of Tomorrow thrown in. This novel like Dark Matter is a story that goes off the rails, you will not know where this story is heading, it changes directions at least 3 times, but man is it a good ride. Blake Crouch is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, I was super bummed when I was not selected for the ARC on netgalley for this book. I liked the story as a whole a lot better than Dark Matter, but the twist hit me a little harder in Dark Matter, but Recursion has more of them. Blake Crouch’s work has been turned into series and he has some upcoming like Wayward Pines a 2 season show that aired on Fox staring Matt Dillon, Good Behavior which is based on a novella just finished season 2 on TNT, Dark Matter is to be a film at Sony, and he sold Recursion to be a series on Netflix produced by Shonda Rhimes of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy.

The Plot: Barry a detective in robbery homicide gets a call about a possible jumper, he’s the first to meet Ann, as she sit on the edge of the roof. Barry thinks of ways to tackle her and drag her away but pauses when it is revealed she has FMS False Memory Syndrome. A new disease that travels in social circles and could be contagious, the disease makes a person have a whole lifetime of other memories from their own. Ann describes how she is all alone but she remember having a loving husband and a son in her memories. She tracked the man down, and he didn’t know her or want to do anything with her. Ten years earlier Helena is a researcher at Stanford in memory she hopes to one day cure the Alzheimer disease that her mother has. She gets an offer she can’t refuse for full funding for a project she’s dreamed about, but never told anyone about. her financier seem to know more about her and her project than meets the eye. This research either leads to the cure or the cause of FMS.

What I Liked: This story goes everywhere, even when writing the plot for this review is only one eighth of the story, you can not predict where this story is going to go. I could compare it to one of my favorite Tv shows American Horror Story, where you never know where the plot line is heading. The twist are layered throughout and keep you guessing. There’s a real heart to the story and a sweet love story about second chances. The action when it there is really good. The bad guy has a good deal of layers and motive for his actions. I did not like Helena’s character at first but grew to really love her. The two character perspective of Helena and Barry really works. I was never confused by the narrative, and this story is one that could easily get confused with in another writer’s hand. I love the questions this story ask about memory. The science isn’t crazy detailed but I felt it was just enough.

What I Disliked: Helena’s character does take a little while to love, at first I was really missing the Barry chapters, but here character does get better. This novel repeats its self a lot, I had a couple friends not like Dark Matter for that reason alone and since it is memory it is more. I really noticed it at the end I think that Crouch tried to make it different, sometime he succeeded sometimes he failed. I thought Barry’s character was sometimes too smart for his background.

Recommendations: If you liked Dark Matter you will like this book, when both of these books ended I collected my thought and thought of the science fiction questions asked and put in my own life. I like science fiction that makes me think and this did. If you like stories about memories then you will love this book. I acknowledge this book has flaws but the story experience is one to beat, so I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars. This is my second five star review fro Blake Crouch and eagerly anticipate his next one, I actually plan to reread Dark Matter and post the review on this site, since I was still so new at reviewing the first time I read it.

Book Review: Goosebumps: Let’s Get Invisible by R. L. Stine

Let’s Get Invisible by R. L. Stine is the six in the original Goosebumps series, I’m rereading them in order, and giving them to my nephews, but the’ve been so much fun, so I’ve reviewed six so far. This on is all about invisibility, the ultimate way to play hide and seek. Stine always adds something real and relevant to his horrors and this time it is addiction and peer pressure. The group of friends keeps challenging each other to go invisible longer, you’ll hear a lot of really this is the last time, only to do it more and longer. The twist was really good and clever, one of the better twist so far. This one is mild on the scares but you will get the feeling to shout maybe you guys should not do this again. This novel is more focus then others we are shown the device that makes you invisible pretty early for a goose bumps book. I did feel that the gimmick of invisibility started to run out. This story was made into an episode for the Fox TV show, in the 2nd season episode 6 and is currently on Netflix.

The Plot: It’s Max’s birthday party, he had all these outdoor activity’s but it’s raining. 15 kids show up all together but start leaving at 5 (lame). Max is left with his annoying little brother Lefty, Erin the girl he likes and her best friend April the kind of shy timid one. The group are looking for something to do, they watch Terminator but then get bored, Erin who has a thing for attics realizes Max has one and they set up an adventure to the attic. The dog Whitey joins them, they rifle through old magazines when the dog starts pawing at something in the back and find out it’s a small door to a secret room. The rood contains a large old timey mirror that is wood paneled with a light attached above it. Max looks into the mirror marveled at the lack of dust and how clear it is pulls the cord on the light above as all his friend and brother freak out, because he has vanished, Max thinking this is a joke pulled the cord again as he reappears. with his friends asking how he did that. Before he can explore more his friends mom comes. Two days later Max can’t stop thinking about the mirror and little does he know his little brother is thinking the same thing. Max explores late at night and his brother follows wanting to play the ultimate game of hide and seek, they each stand in front to the mirror and pull the cord and play, for a bit when Max starts to fill weird and light all a sudden, he’s had enough and pulls the cord, but he and his brother don’t reappear right away something has gone wrong. They do appear but the more they do it the longer it takes and Max starts noticing something is not right about the return.

What I Liked: A way more focused story than other goosebumps series stories. The fear of not returning is done well. The twist is good, even though the final twist doesn’t make too much sense. The addiction angle was really great, it made me think about how friends in the past have peer pressured me into doing something that maybe weren’t that safe, just like in the story. the invisible prank on the neighbor was a classic make them see something then get someone else and nothing, but it works here.

What I Disliked: There was no history of the mirror, the novel goes out of it’s way to say it used to be the grandparents home before and even has them come over, Lefty tries to mess with them and is foiled by Max, but nothing ever happens. Also the grandparents come over for a meal and it ‘s just chicken noodle soup, really set up your serving game. the invisible angle gets tired with i’m going to quit then does it again. The final twist did not make sense, I liked that is was telegraphed fro the beginning, but with what happens in the climax it didn’t make much sense.

Recommendations: This one is a good one for the younger kids, it teaches them about peer pressure and is not scary, it has a couple prank scares but nothing really scary. I would compare this to Monster Blood where it is not scary and more humorous, I liked this one a lot better than that one. I rated Let’s Get Invisible 4 out of 5 stars. The ranking of the six I’ve read so far, from best to worse is Stay out of the Basement,The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, Say Cheese and Die, Let’s Get Invisible, Welcome to Dead House and Monster Blood. I will continue to ready the series in order and give it to my nephews when finished, next up is Night of the Living Dummy.