a turtle’s eye view – the sleeper by j. robert janes

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via open road integrated media in exchange for an honest review.

sometimes in a relationship one person will say “it’s not you, it’s me” to their partner. that’s what i feel like saying to the sleeper by j. robert janes.

i’m not a fan of historical fiction in general but i devour it when it’s about world war ii and/or nazis or really anything in that general vicinity. the sleeper fell right into that category and the general description made it sound like it was something i would really enjoy. unfortunately i didn’t.

the chapters were rambling, the characters were two-dimensional, the plot was weak, and it just kept going for days and days. i seemed to have a pavlovian response to the novel – every time i started reading i’d get about ten or so pages in and fall asleep, even if i started reading soon after getting up for the day. it had promise, it just wasn’t well executed.

one out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – try not to breathe by holly seddon

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

alex is a journalist. well, she was a journalist before her alcoholism cost her everything. amy was a happy 15-year-old student with a loving mom and step-father, a boyfriend, and a secret. now alex is trying to find some meaning in her life and amy is in a coma – persistent vegetative state is the official name for it – and alex is going to find out what happened to put amy there. regardless of the consequences.

normally when i start reading novels like try not to breathe i play a game with myself. i say, “okay, self, this is how it’s going to end.” and i wait and see if i’m right. it’s arrogant, i know, but these types of novels are just so predictable. so here’s the part where i congratulate holly seddon because not only was try not to breathe NOT predictable, it was surprisingly touching.

seddon writes well and avoids clichéd traps that lesser writers would fall into given the subject matter. i not only cared about alex and amy but found my heart beating a little faster as i got closer and closer to the end and wondered if a happy ending, any kind of happy ending, could possibly come out of such a jumble of secrets and lies and pain. in addition, i got caught up in the stories of the other characters and actually found myself yelling at one of them out of sheer frustration (this did not please my sleeping corgi).

i could just keep going with this but i’m trying to avoid spoilers. let me just wrap it up by telling you that you won’t be disappointed by either the characters or the writing here and it’s well worth adding try not to breathe to your to be read shelf.

four out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – the good neighbor by a.j. banner

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

if you think about it, falling in love is one of the most terrifying things we do. we open our lives, our histories, our souls to another person and expect that they will do the same for us. we believe that they will be honest with us and worthy of everything we have to give them. we trust that when they say “i love you” they mean it and when they say “’til death do us part” it means to them what it means to us.

in a.j. banner‘s novel, a tragic event in her neighborhood spills over into sarah mcdonald’s life and she begins to question everything about her marriage as a result. even as she tries to rebuild with her husband, the fears pile up, the clues seem to have been there all along, if only she had noticed, and no one is who she thought they were.

the good neighbor is a decent story with an interesting plot. though there were times when it felt like banner was trying to cram a few too many people into the mystery in order to keep the reader guessing about who the real threat was, the story was solid and entertaining. even though i never felt the need to set everything aside so that i could devour it, this was a good book to read a few chapters of every day or so.

three out of five stars

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

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via del rey spectra in exchange for an honest review.

i was so excited about lightless by c.a. higgins. a crew of three on a huge, experimental, military spaceship traveling to pluto. the ship gets boarded by two thieves who may not be thieves at all. the ship’s computer gets compromised somehow (was it one of the thieves?). an operative of the agency that runs the solar system boards the ship to question the captured thieves. don’t even ask, just take my money and give me the book. i so wanted to like this book. i so wanted to care about these characters. i so wanted to.

i didn’t feel anything for the characters in this book. i didn’t hate them, i didn’t love them. worst of all, i felt no empathy for any of them. more than once, i found myself reading through the book and discovering that i had just read pages and pages but had no memory of what had transpired on them. the writing was good i guess, it just didn’t hold my attention because there was no connection between me and the characters. i got bored about a quarter of the way through the book and only kept reading it because i promised a review. in my opinion, that’s a bad reason to keep reading a book. and i’m disappointed because i was so excited about this one and i feel more than a little let down.

two out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – seize the night edited by christopher golden

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

let’s get some details taken care of right up front. vampires should not glitter. vampires are not misunderstood, taciturn, emotionally invested, misunderstood heroes. did i say misunderstood twice? yes. yes i did. and, yes, i am a little pedantic on the subject.

now that that’s covered, let’s talk about seize the night: new tales of vampiric terror edited by christopher golden. i adore short stories. i adore scary stories. and i adored this collection of short scary stories. there are real vampires in here, vampires that will scare you, haunt your dreams (and sometimes your awakenings, too). vampires that understand that food is food, like is like, and never the twain shall meet.

the stories in this collection are incredibly well told and worth reading more than once. my favourite was definitely paper cuts by gary a. braunbeck. i didn’t just enjoy reading it, i haven’t stopped thinking about it since. in the entire collection, only one story failed to live up to the standards set by all the others. blood by robert shearman is a good story, don’t get me wrong, but it left me confused and i just couldn’t understand its inclusion in this particular anthology. i highly recommend seize the night to anyone who enjoys horror, vampires, or just wants a good short story collection to read close to halloween.

five out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – stormbringer: book 2 of the wyrd by alis franklin

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

book two of alis franklin‘s wyrd series finds sigmund and lain separated and dealing with another ragnarok. sigmund’s gamer friends play a much larger role in this book and while that’s a welcome change the separation of sigmund and lain make the book less enjoyable. franklin’s writing is still good, and she once again shows an incredible mastery of norse language, customs, and, gods. unfortunately, part of what makes the story so compelling is the relationship the two main characters have to work so hard to maintain and that is missing in this addition to the series. stormbringer is heavy on the norse language, but franklin provides a glossary which is very helpful.

three out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – dark screams, volume five

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

i was happy to find only one author whose work i was familiar with in dark screams, volume five. you never know about horror and this collection gave me a chance to dip into the work of new (to me) authors without committing to a complete novel. i was not disappointed. i meant to read this collection one at a time, maybe when i couldn’t sleep (yeah, i’m crazy like that), or between other books, but i ended up reading it in one sitting. the stories were extraordinary.

five out of five stars

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