Crime/Mystery/Thriller

The Mysterious Island

The Mysterious Island

 Summary:

Five Union prisoners escape from the siege of Richmond in a balloon, are blown off course and crash on an uncharted island. They must learn to rebuild a society for themselves while awaiting rescue. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

What is so great about Verne’s books are that he seems to almost never run out of natural phenomena to explore.  Although I find it hard to believe that Smith’s crew has exactly the skills required to survive and even flourish in such a landscape, it does make it a fantastic story.  (Then again folks were much more resourceful than their modern counterparts these days.) The mystery of the island is incredibly subtle and I love how it slowly unravels throughout the book until culminating in the last few chapters.

I think this is a book that you could read and re-read many times over and still find something new to observe of understand.  Much like “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” you have to enjoy the book for challenges that the characters work through in of themselves rather than rushing towards the ending of the book.  If you’re one who wants a quick-fix, this won’t be an enjoyable read.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Fans of adventure, slow build and an adventure for adventure’s sake.

The Immortals (Olympus Bound #1)

The Immortals

Summary:

Manhattan.
The city sleeps. Selene DiSilva walks her dog along the banks of the Hudson. She is alone-just the way she likes it. She doesn't believe in friends, and she doesn't speak to her family. Most of them are simply too dangerous.

Murders.
In the predawn calm, Selene finds the body of a young woman washed ashore, gruesomely mutilated and wreathed in laurel. Her ancient rage returns. And so does the memory of a promise she made long ago. To protect the innocent-and to punish those who stand in her way.

Gods.

With the NYPD out of its depth, Selene vows to hunt the killer on her own. But when classics professor Theo Schultz decodes the ancient myth behind the crime, the solitary Huntress finds herself working with a man who's her opposite in every way. Together, they face a long-forgotten cult that lies behind a string of murders, and they'll need help from the one source Selene distrusts most of all: the city's other Immortals.  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher and I voluntarily chose to write a review

Review:

This was a book that I had low expectations on that ended up blowing me out of the water.  I found the exploration of the Classicist’s views on mythology fascinating.  If you didn’t find the topic interesting in its own right it might have been a bit much for you, but as I was unfamiliar with the more in-depth mythology, it was all new to me.  Because it was new to me, it also meant that many of the reveals had more of the “Ahah!” moments that someone more familiar might have.

Selene is cut off from the world as begrudgingly allows herself to have assistance through the investigation of the mystery.  I enjoyed that she’s not exactly likeable, but slowly becomes more relatable throughout the book.  Theo reminded me a lot of Robert Langdon in a good way.  He’s somewhat bumbling, but means well and does his best to apply his knowledge towards figuring out the mystery.  This combination of the two had me continuously guessing as to which directions things were going to go and I loved how the final showdown towkred out.

Warning: Contains repeated violence and sexual content.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Fantasy fans who think the idea of myths come to life sounds fantastic.

Want to read the whole series?

  • Winter of the Gods (Olympus Bound #2)
  • Olympus Bound (Olympus Bound #3)

Day Moon

Day Moon

Summary:

In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global soft-ware initiative his deceased grandfather helped found. Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare’s complete works gifted him by his grandfather. Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled “Day Moon”. When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose. Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depend on it. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher and I voluntarily chose to write a review

Review:

This was a read I had to abandon, but I did give it about ~160 pages before giving up.  The premise was fairly intriguing to me, but I wish I had realized that the religious connotations were going to be quite so heavy handed.  I’m not opposed per say, but it just didn’t quite fit with the expectation.

Regardless of the religious content, the reason I had to put the book down was because it was so dragged out.  The story just never quite felt like it was moving anywhere and there wasn’t any urgency to the events.  Even when the characters are in danger, it seemed to unfold in a very “matter-of-fact” way.  I liked the world-building the potential of the story, but ultimately this one fell flat.  Hopefully others have more luck with this read.

Warning: Contains violence and heavy religious content.

Rating: 1 stars!

Who should read it? More religious readers who are willing to be a little more patient with a story.

The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters

The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters

Summary:

In Portland in 1983, girls are disappearing. Noah, a teen punk with a dark past, becomes obsessed with finding out where they've gone—and he's convinced their disappearance has something to do with the creepy German owners of a local brewery, the PfefferBrau Haus. Noah worries about the missing girls as a way of avoiding the fact that something's seriously wrong with his best friend, Evan. Could it be the same dark force that's pulling them all down?

When the PfefferBrau Haus opens its doors for a battle of the bands, Noah pulls his band, the Gallivanters, back together in order to get to the bottom of the mystery. But there's a new addition to the band: an enigmatic David Bowie look-alike named Ziggy. And secrets other than where the bodies are buried will be revealed. From Edgar-nominated author M. J. Beaufrand, this is a story that gets to the heart of grief and loss while also being hilarious, fast paced, and heartbreaking.  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher and I voluntarily chose to write a review

Review:

This book struck me as all around average.  There were a few reveals and certainly some very sad moments, but I never felt fully invested in the characters.  Noah is interesting and his relationship with Ziggy created an odd dynamic, but I felt like I knew what was coming from early in the story.  One the one hand I felt for Noah and everything he went through, but I also was frustrated to his determined blindness to everything going on around him.

My biggest observation is that there are a lot of things that didn’t feel realistic to me.  Would Evan really have delayed for that long? And why was he delaying before they even were in the rock competition?  I still really enjoyed this book, but I don’t think it’s going to be one that stick with me in the longer term.

Warning: Contains violence.

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Fans of coming of age stories, punk culture and fans of 80’s music.