Book Review: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood


BOOK INFO

Title: The Testaments
Author: Margaret Atwood
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Publish Date: September 10, 2019
Genre: Science Fiction – Dystopia
Series: The Handmaid’s Tale #2
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 4.31


BOOK BLURB

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale, has become a modern classic—and now she brings the iconic story to a dramatic conclusion in this riveting sequel.

More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.

Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.

As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.



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MY REVIEW

A sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. This book takes place 15 years after The Handmaid’s Tale, and has three female narrators telling of their experiences with Gilead.

I read The Handmaid’s Tale years ago, and loved the way it ended. I didn’t have any questions about what happened to Gilead, but with the popularity of the TV series, it seems a new book was wanted, or at least, would sell well. I do watch the series, and it’s been a long time since I read the book, so I was sometimes confused as to whether I was remembering what happened in the book or the show. Mainly, this book talks a lot about baby Nicole, who is only in the show, not the first book.

The three narrators are Aunt Lydia and two girls (Agnes and Daisy). One of the girls (Agnes) grows up in Gilead and the other one (Daisy) grows up in Canada. Aunt Lydia’s perspective was the most interesting, and made that character less of a villain. As for the girls, they have very different experiences growing up. For me, Agnes was a better developed character and I enjoyed her more. I found Daisy to be too immature and annoying.

The story continues to tell about life in Gilead, and how difficult it is being female in that society. It also introduces the Pearl Girls, missionaries of Gilead. The Pearl Girls travel outside of Gilead and find new recruits to bring back with them. It’s an interesting concept, and the only new thing added to the story of Gilead.

I found it to an entertaining read, but it is not a needed sequel. The ending of The Handmaid’s Tale is partly what made it an amazing book. This book is best read by fans of the TV series.


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Book Review: The Perfect Wife by J.P. Delaney

The Perfect Wife by J.P. Delaney


BOOK INFO

Title: The Perfect Wife
Author: J.P. Delaney
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publish Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: n/a
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.98


BOOK BLURB

Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative start-ups. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss.

She is a miracle of science.

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins to question her husband’s motives—and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to her, half a decade ago?

Beware the man who calls you . . .

THE PERFECT WIFE


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MY REVIEW

Tim lost his wife Abbie in a suspicious accident five years ago. He is a tech genius, and creates a robot that looks, sounds, and acts like his missing wife. Abbie, the robot, awakens to a world where she knows and remembers some things, but there are large gaps in her memories. She soon wants to know more about what happened to the real Abbie, and she starts to look into her disappearance.

Told with multiple points of view that are a little confusing. Mostly told from Abbie the robot’s viewpoint, but also includes an unknown narrator. This novel uses second-person POV, which I didn’t really enjoy.

The setting is Silicon Valley and centers around a man who runs a tech company and creates an AI robot. The man was infatuated with his wife, and after losing her, he creates the perfect wife… an AI robot. Kind of creepy. The story is about Abbie the robot and what she is, how she fits into society, and what happened to the real Abbie.

A combination of science fiction and psychological thriller. There is a fair amount of tech talk, but nothing too complicated. The characters are unreliable and make for an entertaining thriller. I was disappointed in the ending and how everything came together. I can handle some unanswered questions, but this story had more plot holes than I was comfortable with. Unsettling and unique.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

Book Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion by Blake Crouch


BOOK INFO

Title: Recursion
Author: Blake Crouch
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publish Date: June 11, 2019
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: n/a
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.26


BOOK BLURB

Memory makes reality. That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?


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MY REVIEW

Barry is a New York City police officer who gets intrigued with a case concerning False Memory Syndrome – a mysterious disorder where the victim remembers a life they never lived. Helena is a scientist working on a project to help preserve past memories. When dangerous technology threatens past memories, Barry and Helena work together to save the future.

Told using various timelines and the alternating points of view of Barry and Helena. This is a mind-bending time travel thriller. The first part of the book is a little slow as the story builds, but once it comes together, it becomes an action-packed read.

A captivating sci-fi thriller about memory and time travel. Unique, riveting, and exciting.

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

Book Review: Kill Code by Clive Fleury

Kill Code by Clive Fleury

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: Kill Code
Author: Clive Fleury
Publisher: TCK Publishing
Publish Date: December 5, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 4.29

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
WHEN THE OCEANS RISE… THE TRUTH DROWNS

It’s the year 2031. Our future. Their present. A world decimated by climate catastrophe, where the sun’s heat is deadly and the ocean rises higher every day. A world ruled by the rich, powerful, and corrupt. A world where a good man can’t survive for long.

Hogan Duran was a good man once. He was a cop, forced to resign in disgrace when he couldn’t save his partner from a bullet. Now Hogan lives on the fraying edges of society, serving cruel masters and scavenging trash dumps just to survive.

But after four years of living in poverty, Hogan finally gets a chance to get back on his feet. He’s invited to join the National Security Council, the powerful paramilitary organization responsible for protecting the rich and powerful from the more unsavory elements of society. All he needs to do is pass their deadly entrance exam, and he’ll be rewarded with wealth and opportunity beyond his wildest dreams.

But this ex-cop’s path to redemption won’t be easy. The NSC are hiding something, and as Hogan descends deeper and deeper into their world, he starts to uncover the terrible truth of how the powerful in this new world maintain their power…and just how far they will go to protect their secrets.

In a world gone wrong, can one man actually make a difference, or will he die trying?

Kill Code is the first novel in an exciting new dystopian science fiction series from the mind of award-winning author, screenwriter, and director Clive Fleury.

Fans of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, and Divergent by Veronica Roth will be captivated by Kill Code.

You’ll also love this book if you enjoy:
· Dystopian novels and stories
· Stories about futuristic societies
· Stories about disgraced cops
· Stories about unlikely heroes
· Stories about conspiracies
· Stories about injustice


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MY REVIEW
In a not too distant future, climate change has led to a dystopian world where the rich and powerful rule. Hogan Duran gets the chance to join the National Security Council (NSC). It’s a prime position protecting the rich and powerful. Hogan and the other applicants are put through a grueling, and deadly, test to win the highly sought after position. There are secrets in the NSC though, and Hogan starts to question everything during his time there.

Hogan is a tough former cop looking for a chance at a better life. He thinks he’s got the opportunity if he can pass the challenging tests issued by the NSC. Of course, things are a lot more complicated than they first appear.

This is a quick and entertaining science fiction story. The dystopian world is dark and gritty. The characters are strong. The plot is exciting. Good read for fans of dystopian novels. The ending does set it up for a sequel.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: After Terra: Year 200 by Daniel Coldspring

After Terra: Year 200 by Daniel Coldspring

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BOOK INFO
Title: After Terra: Year 200
Authors: Daniel Coldspring
Publisher: Independently Published
Publish Date: April 7, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.38

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Love, what’s it worth? For Matt Garrison, it means a journey to Neptune to find a gem for his girlfriend. What awaits him there is more trouble than he imagined could exist, as he is swept up into a deadly heist against the Solar Consortium, alongside the most dangerous elements of the fringe. The Consortium controls the Solar System 200 years beyond Terra’s demise, and they now want Matt and his crew dead. But there is more buried in the grave of a shattered world than anyone, even the Consortium, thought was possible, something waiting to be discovered by a seemingly outdated man like Matt…


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MY REVIEW
Matt gets more than he bargained for when he heads off to Neptune in search of a ring for his girlfriend. His journey soon takes a turn for the worse. He ends up crossing paths with a misfit crew, and joins them on an adventure.

Matt is a cropper, aka farmer, who is a a good guy, though a little naive. The misfits he gets involved with include Jessie and Obed. Jessie is a bad-ass who enjoys her weapons, fighting, and sex. Obed is a less than honorable hacker. The remaining crew is just as entertaining.

This story takes place 200 years after Earth has been destroyed. The remaining humans live on other planets, and are ruled by the Consortium. One of the things I liked about this novel was that the story takes place in our star system.

A fun sci-fi novel. This is a space opera, space western, and dystopian story all wrapped into one exciting adventure. I don’t read many space operas or space westerns, so I’ll compare it to a TV show… Firefly. Humorous, action-packed, and outrageous.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Camouflage by Ivy Keating and Scott Spotson

Camouflage by Ivy Keating and Scott Spotson

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: Camouflage
Authors: Ivy Keating and Scott Spotson
Publisher: Champagne Book Group
Publish Date: September 23, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.0

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
A missing man, a new police chief and an unexpected New England town mystery.

When Sean Dermott, the newly appointed police chief, sees the report that a popular local high school coach is missing, his growing fascination with the alluring Vanessa Strauss, who reported the disappearance, makes him determined to solve the case.

The investigation leads him and his team deep into Quarry Head Park, a local scenic preserve with nature trails and expansive views. There is no sign of the missing man, but what he does find terrifies him to the core.

From the depths of the park, a deadly prehistoric looking creature emerges, attacks swiftly and silently, leaving devastation in its wake. In the chaos which follows, it is up to Chief Dermott and a team of scientists to fight for balance by ensuring the safety of his town and preserving this remarkable discovery.

He will risk his career, his reputation and even his own life to stand by what he believes to be right. The question is, will he succeed, or will all be lost?


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MY REVIEW
A man is reported missing in a small New England town. While investigating the case, the police become aware of an unusual creature living in the nearby nature preserve. The police chief contacts a local scientist/researcher to identify the animal. As the case unfolds, the police and scientists try to find balance between preserving a prehistoric animal and protecting public safety.

The characters are realistic and likable. The police chief is a little on the young side, and feels he needs to prove himself in his new job. Besides working hard on the two cases – missing man and prehistoric animal – he finds himself attracted to the woman who reported the missing man. A romance develops.

I especially liked the researchers. They were the right amount of excited and academic about a new, or rather, old, species being discovered. The scientists want to help, and the story does a good job with them explaining things to the police as they learn new information.

The scientists want to discover where the creature came from and what happened to its environment that caused it to move near the town. If they can figure that out, maybe they can return the animal back to its natural habitat.The police and scientists are working hard, but there are opposing sides. There are those who want to protect the animal and those who want to destroy it.

A sci-fi mystery with adventure and romance. Entertaining, thrilling, and fast-paced.

I received a free digital copy of this book from Kimberly Costa at Caffeinated PR Services, in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Last by Hanna Jameson

The Last by Hanna Jameson

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BOOK INFO
Title: The Last
Author: Hanna Jameson
Publisher: Atria Books
Publish Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: Dystopia
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.78

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife’s text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he’s waiting in the lobby of the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic conference, still mulling over how to respond to his wife, he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. That’s all he knows before news outlets and social media goes black—and before the clouds on the horizon turn orange.

Now, two months later, there are twenty survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Those who can’t bear to stay commit suicide or wander off into the woods. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization. But when the water pressure disappears, and Jon and a crew of survivors investigate the hotel’s water tanks, they are shocked to discover the body of a young girl.

As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world?


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MY REVIEW
Jon is staying at a hotel in Switzerland when nuclear war breaks out. The hotel is in a remote enough location that the employees and guests of the hotel are safe from the bombs, but cut off from society. Some people from the hotel decide to leave and find their way home, but Jon and 20 or so others remain at the hotel. After a couple of months in the hotel, the water pressure starts to disappear. While investigating the cause, the body of a young girl is found. Jon takes it upon himself to find out what happened to the girl, and he becomes obsessed with identifying the killer. Meanwhile, supplies decrease and tensions between the hotel residents increase.

Jon is an American visiting Switzerland for an academic conference. The novel is told from his point of view using a diary/journal style. Jon and his wife have a troubled marriage, and he feels guilty for how he left things with her. Part of his behavior is a result of his guilt, and his need to make things right.

We never know much about the attacks, just that various cities in the United States and Europe have been bombed. After the attacks, communication (i.e., internet access) is mostly lost. The hotel has resources, so they have basics like food, water, and shelter. It would have been nice to know a little more about the attacks, but that is not the primary focus of the story. The relationships between the survivors is the focus, and is very realistic. The hotel residents are varied in their nationalities, backgrounds, beliefs, and personalities. This seems accurate, and creates a lot of conflict.

This novel is more of a character study, and not a lot of action takes place. Based on the book description, I was expecting more mystery than is delivered. Still, the characters and their interactions were believable and interesting.

Fantastic setting. Interesting characters. Slow paced. Good for fans of apocalyptic stories with a little mystery.

Fun fact: My family and I were vacationing in Hawaii when we received a notification about a ballistic missile threat, so the whole finding out about the end of the world in a notification on your phone is kind of realistic.

Missile threat notification

I heard about this book from fellow book blogger Amy Sullivan @ Novel Gossip. Thank you for recommending this book and sending me the Netgalley widget!

Book Review: Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal

Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: Time Crawlers
Author: Varun Sayal
Publisher: Kindle Direct Publishing
Publish Date: June 15, 2018

BOOK BLURB
Alien Invasion, Dark Artificial Intelligence, Time-Travel, High-Tech Mythology, Djinn Folklore, Telekinetics, and life-consuming Cosmic Entities are some major themes in this book which has six tightly-knit, fast-paced Sci-Fi stories.

1. Nark-astra, The Hell Weapon
The weapons he possesses make him the destroyer of worlds, and he burns for revenge. A high-tech take on ancient Indian mythology.

2. Death by Crowd
The dark desires of the masses; darknet websites fueled by a crypto-currency. What lurks in the background – an advanced artificial intelligence?

3. Genie
He rubbed a lamp alright, but what he got was the shock of his life. An entirely sci-fi take on the djinn myth.

4. Time Crawlers
There are individuals who existing in multiple time periods at once, and there are those who know about them….

5. Eclipse
No attacks, no blood-shed, yet there was an invasion and a conquest. Who are these shapeshifter aliens being hounded by an eclipse?

6. The Cave
The fate of an advanced imperial race hangs in balance as a dark celestial entity meets a legendary protector.


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MY REVIEW
A collection of six short science fiction stories. The stories concern parallel universes, aliens, and technology.

The stories:
1. “Nark-astra, The Hell Weapon” – Apocalyptic revenge using high-tech weapons.
2. “Death by Crowd” – A disturbing darknet world and artificial intelligence.
3. “Genie” – A guy meets a genie, and gets a quick intro to parallel universes and technology.
4. “Time Crawlers” – Time travel and those who know about it.
5. “Eclipse” – Aliens amongst us.
6. “The Cave” – An apocalyptic alien presence.

An imaginative and engaging collection. Several of the stories use dialogue, in fact, some were all dialogue. I enjoyed the humor used in some of the stories. “Genie” was an especially humorous story. Overall, a good collection of short stories. “Death by Crowd” and “Time Crawlers” were my favorites. A quick, fun read for fans of sci-fi.

I received a PDF of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox
by Christina Dalcher

Women in the US lose their rights very quickly when the political climate changes in this dystopian novel. Along with losing all their rights, women also lose their voices when they are no longer allowed to speak. Each woman and girl is issued a device to wear that counts their words. They are allowed to speak 100 words a day, and if they go over, they suffer terrible shocks.

The beginning of the book is about the state America is in and how it came about. The second half of the book is a little more exciting and leaned more toward a thriller.

I enjoy dystopian novels and was looking forward to this one. The premise of women and girls losing their voices was very interesting, and what drew me to this novel. Unfortunately, I didn’t love it. The story was disjointed, and the characters were unbelievable and unlikable. The most interesting parts of the book were those that dealt with linguistics.

I received a copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter
by Blake Crouch

Jason is a physics professor at a local college. He is happily married and has a teenage son. That all goes away one night when Jason is abducted and wakes up where his life is not his life – his job if different, his wife is not his wife, and his son was never born.

It starts with an ordinary evening at home, but then Jason’s world gets turned upside down and inside out. A fun ride for fans of science fiction. This is also a romantic story. The love a man has for his family can be a powerful thing.

A unique and complex novel. Fast paced and lots of action.