Posted in book review, books

a turtle’s eye view – the ferryman institute by colin gigl

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via gallery books in exchange for an honest review.

charlie dawson is a legend. in his time with the ferryman institute he’s garnered a stellar reputation for success and everyone looks up to him. he has three problems, though. first, charlie is slowly losing his mind and his will to live. second, he’s received a presidential assignment giving him a choice: be a ferryman or save the girl. the girl in question is alice spiegel, who is seconds away from committing suicide. third, inspector javrouche. an internal affairs officer, javrouche is determined to bring charlie down for subversive behaviour. hold on tight because charlie’s going to save the girl. even if it kills him.

i adored the ferryman institute. i took my time reading it because i couldn’t face the prospect of it ending but, as books have a habit of doing whether i like it or not, it ended anyway. colin gigl writes incredibly lyrical sentences that build into beautiful paragraphs that alternated between making me feel incredibly happy and mercilessly ripping my heart out. gigl’s description of alice’s depression is poignant and heartbreaking without being cliched or overwrought. the very simplicity with which it’s offered it what makes it so gripping. several times i found myself crying for charlie dawson and wondering if my heart would be able to stand reading any more. of course, i had to read more and it was so very good.

seriously, you HAVE to read this book. and i hope gigl writes more. soon.

five out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – little killers a-z: an alphabet of horror by howard odentz

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via belle books/bell bridge books in exchange for an honest review.

i’ve said before that i’m a huge fan of short stories, especially scary short stories. i was excited about little killers a-z by howard odentz even though i’d never heard of the author before. it was a quick read but i did find that it felt a little repetitive at times. i don’t mean that the stories actually repeated, more that the tone and motif felt stale. sometimes it seems that there’s nothing new in horror, that everything’s already been written, and i felt that occasionally in little killers.

on the bright side, the stories that i did like i liked a lot and that was a saving grace for me. i hate reading stories that i don’t click with and i would have hated to add a collection of horror stories to the dreaded abandoned shelf. overall, i liked odentz’s writing and i’m thinking about adding another of his books to my reading list.

three out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – supernova by c.a. higgins

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via random house books – ballantine del rey in exchange for an honest review.

supernova is the follow-up to author c.a. higginslightless. unfortunately, second doesn’t always mean better. the writing felt flat and two-dimensional and the attempt at building the relationship between althea and ananke felt overly dramatic. there were characters from the first novel that i still couldn’t find any empathy for and new (or greatly expanded) characters that i just plain didn’t like. i guess, in a way, that’s better because in the first book i didn’t even care enough about the story to dislike anyone (if that makes sense). readers definitely need to have a familiarity with lightless in order to understand supernova, this is not the kind of series one can just jump into anywhere.

two out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – the hatching by ezekiel boone

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via atria books in exchange for an honest review.

i loathe spiders. i am not just terrified of them, i loathe the little eight leggedy balls of evil. i was once trapped in a closet for three hours by a spider. i turned around and there IT was, staring at me. STALKING ME. i am convinced that spiders have a spidery network for communication and they will eventually take over the world. no, not a fan of spiders.

at the end of may, i received an invitation to review the hatching by ezekiel boone. guess what it’s about. that’s right, SPIDERS. not just any spiders, though. these are 10,000 year old spiders who will stop at nothing to end us. they are awake. and they are hungry.

have i mentioned that i loathe spiders?

i couldn’t resist this book. over eight weeks, i kept looking at it, reading the description on goodreads, visiting the website. i even exchanged a few tweets with the author, who was funny and encouraging by the way. i finally gave in and started the book. and i couldn’t put it down. i stayed up all night in order to finish the hatching, and not just because i was completely terrified. from the beginning, the characters pulled me into their worlds. everything was fast-paced but the switches between points of view didn’t feel rushed or heavy-handed. it takes skill to find the humanity in a story that is, at its core, overwhelmingly terrifying. it takes skill to use words alone to make you feel like you can’t breathe, to make you feel the strands on your skin, to make you whip your head around because WHAT IS THAT ON THE WALL? ezekiel boone has that skill, in spades.

did i tell you that i am terrified of spiders?

the best part of the book came around 2:45 a.m. i was speeding through, feeling like everything was going to explode and we were all doomed, when all of a sudden i turned a page and it said epilogue at the top of the next. i was never so happy to see that word in my entire life. the reviewer in me thought, “huh. that’s a little abrupt, though. isn’t it?” the spiderphobe promptly told the reviewer to die a fiery death and happily read on. how was it going to be resolved? don’t care, it’s almost over. who was going to live? don’t care, it’s almost over (okay, i care but it’s almost over). how can they be defeated? don’t care, it’s almost over.

guess what? it’s not almost over.
ezekiel boone is a cruel and deceitful author.
this wasn’t the end, it was just the beginning.

five out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – all these perfect strangers by aoife clifford

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via random house publishing – alibi in exchange for an honest review.

pen sheppard tells you at the very beginning of all these perfect strangers that she is not a reliable narrator. of course, she doesn’t come out and use those words. instead, she says that her story could be told a hundred different ways and that murder is a grey area. so from the start you have to ask yourself, can i trust this story? sometimes, though, even the most unreliable of narrators can be telling some of the truth.

aoife clifford‘s debut novel is a masterpiece of mystery and tension. there’s an almost unnerving sense of constant danger and never knowing who you can trust. mixed in with that is the idea that while you’re too close to pen and her story you actually don’t know anything about her.

all these perfect strangers isn’t just about the present. the past is a big player in this story and clifford deftly weaves flashbacks into the current timeline. that’s not an easy task and in the hands of a lesser writer, it would quickly become confusing and overwhelming. in clifford’s hands the past becomes a sculpting tool that helps to reveal the layers of pen’s life and psyche. pen is complicated and it’s possible she’s also dangerous. the question is, is she innocent or is she simply not guilty.

four out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – dark matter by blake crouch

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via crown publishing in exchange for an honest review.

we all have those times when we wonder what our life would have been like if we had done something different – said yes instead of no, turned right instead of left, left work on time instead of working late. everybody is familiar with that feeling, right?

now. what about schrodinger’s cat? everybody loves that thought experiment – there’s a cat in a box with poison and until you open the box to see him, he’s alive and dead at the same time. it’s the act of observing the cat that settles him into a permanent state. (yeah, that’s a HUGELY simplistic explanation but i’m not a physicist.)

now you’re ready to read dark matter by blake crouch.

this is a RIDICULOUSLY fantastic and fascinating novel that kept me up all night so i could finish it. jason dessen is an engaging character and it’s easy to empathize with him as he finds himself in an unimaginable situation and tries to figure out how to get out of it. this is very sciencey science fiction story and crouch writes the hell out of it – quantum states, the multiverse, superposition theory and its relationship to observation – it’s all presented in a storyline that feels urgent and makes racing to the end imperative.

five out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – titanborn by rhett c. bruno

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via hydra publishing in exchange for an honest review.

i enjoyed titanborn and found it different from the books i typically read. i felt like it contained a little more science than i usually go for in my science fiction but it had some really amazing characterization and fascinating ideas about a future where we move out into the universe.

this was a good between books read, especially when i was found myself disappointed in books i had been looking forward to. it was really nice to come back to rhett c. bruno‘s world and investigate a bombing, discover what it’s like on a new world (a moon really, but same difference), and deal with a really annoy but completely charming new partner.

three out of five stars

p.s. when you’re close to the end, remember whether you’re using an ereader or holding an actual book. (i may have almost thrown my kindle. almost.)