Title: Eye of the Storm Author: Frank Cavallo Genre(s): Fantasy Pages: 402 pages
Synopsis: On a research mission in one of the most remote regions of the world, former Navy SEAL Eric Slade and Dr. Anna Fayne are caught in a mysterious storm. Catapulted through a rift in space-time, they are marooned on a lost world.
Struggling to survive and desperate to find a way home, they must confront the dangers of this savage land—a dark wizard and his army of undead—a warrior queen and her horde of fierce Neanderthals that stands against him—and a legendary treasure with the power to open the gateway between worlds, or to destroy them all: the Eye of the Storm.
Disclaimer: **I received an e-copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own, and this review hasan extremelymild spoiler!**
Eye of the Storm reminded me of an old-school fantasy novel in a good way. From the first fifteen to twenty pages, the plot is intriguing and the intent is clear. The reader knows what’s going on, as well as the obstacles that have presented themselves early on, and it was that intrigue that pulled me in right away. Dr. Anna Fayne is an anthropologist and along with former SEAL Eric Slade, they lead a research expedition to investigate the appearance of a Neanderthal. From there ,the anomalies begin piling up, and the research team find themselves in a new world that has its own share (many, many shares!) of problems. Dr. Fayne and Slade are soon caught on opposite sides of a war that has been brewing, as well as a plot to overthrow the city of Tulkoras.
Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) Author(s): Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff Genre(s): Sci-fi -> YA Pages: 600 (Hardcover)
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.
This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
Okay. Here’s the deal.
Illuminae wasn’t bad.
However, it had several minor shortcomings that kept adding up over the course of 500+ pages, essentially creating one rather large shortcoming that stopped me from calling the book great.
I’ve been quite the busy little bee for the last couple of months. I’m not complaining, though, because being on the go keeps my mind active and makes me feel like I’m conquering my extreme couch-potato tendencies.
The only downside, obviously, is that I’ve not read nearly as much as I’ve wanted to. Between grad school, international traveling, and pulling myself together for work every day, I only managed to finish two books in October and admittedly, I am struggling to get back into the swing of reading.
No worries, though, because this weekend things are looking blessedly slower. It’s going to be colder here in Chicago, my favorite radio station has flipped to all Christmas music, and I want nothing more than to snuggle with my dog, a book, and some hot chocolate.
So what’s happened since my last post? Well, I pulled together a little something-something that resembles a graduate thesis, and now I am one month away from receiving my MFA degree. Fingers crossed, knock on wood, salt over the shoulder- all those good luck rituals, ‘cuz mama can’t handle another semester. (They’ll never take me alive!!)
The next big thing was my cousin got married in Cancun! I was being overly ambitious and took fivebooks on vacation with me, thinking I could knock two of them out on the flight there and back, and then maybe read one while actually in Cancun.
None of those goals were accomplished.
I slept on both flights, potentially waking passengers with my snoring. Then I watched Inside Out, not realizing the movie would have me choking back tears at 39,000 feet. It’s a skill reserved only for the greats, I must say.
The wedding itself was absolutely beautiful! It was gloomy for the first couple of days and rainy, but the sun finally came out on the day of the wedding.
Now that I am back home and trying to decompress from the U.S. election results, it feels surreal to slow down and think how Thanksgiving is literally in two weeks, and then Christmas four weeks after that. There is still so much to be done- decorations, presents, cooking, family gatherings- and still so much to read! Not to mention Dishonored 2 was released today…
I have fallen so off the course with my end-of-year TBR, that I am really just free-balling it at this point. And by “free-balling it”, I mean staring at my bookshelf and pulling down whatever my hand lands on first.
I did that last night, and pulled down *drumroll please*….
Illuminae by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff. I know, I know. What a novelty.
This book has been everywhere, and though I can be hyperbolic at times, I seriously mean that. I have seen this book in grocery stores, malls, WalMart, airport shops, on the dashboard of someone’s car- everywhere. It has been on my shelf for a few months now, so I guess it is about time I hobbled onto the bandwagon.
I am only a few pages in, so I don’t know too much of what is happening yet. What is really taking my attention right now, though, is the format of the book. Illuminae is a young adult science fiction novel, where two rival corporations are at war over a smaller planet. It starts on the morning a young girl named Kady breaks up with her boyfriend, Ezra, and little do they know they’re going to need each other to survive the attack on their planet.
The story is told in a series of interviews, classified documents, and other creative ways that are difficult to describe if you aren’t actually looking at the pages right now. I was a bit turned off by the format at first, thinking that it would be too much to keep track of. I find now, though, that I’m actually enjoying it and I’m genuinely surprised by how easy it reads. I can’t wait to finish it and share my thoughts with you.
So, that is what I have in store for my weekend. Illuminae, several cups of hot chocolate, Christmas music, and playing Dishonored 2. Let me know down in the comments what you’re planning to do this weekend!
So, I know for the last three days we have all been getting the Halloween festivities out of our systems in the best possible ways. From binging on horror movies and candy, to going all out with the parties, skeletal decorations, and awesome costumes, I truly hope everyone had a perfectly spooky weekend.
BUT, since Halloween is technically tomorrow, I still have a few tricks (and treats…*wink wink*) to share with you all in order to make Monday a little more bearable. I have total faith that you all are pretty speedy readers (don’t be modest now. I see too many wrap ups with you guys reading, like, thirty books a month), so I have four short and creepy books/stories that can easily be read in one sitting. And, yes, even if you are like me and were not blessed with speedy-reading abilities, these four titles will still keep your little Halloween spirit afloat throughout the day. Enjoy!
Coraline by Neil Gaiman – 162 Pages
I honestly never get tired of talking about Coraline. Though it is not my absolute favorite Gaiman book (American Gods reigns supreme), it is still pretty high up my list. For those unfamiliar with the book, it follows a young girl named Coraline Jones, who moves into a new home with her family. Her parents are inattentive, workaholics who seemingly forget they have a living, breathing child under their roof in need of their parental guidance. Coraline, however, is a naturally inquisitive child, and she quickly takes to exploring their new home. In her wandering, Coraline discovers a small passage in the wall, and when she emerges on the other side, she is in an exact replica of her home. But everything, especially Coraline’s Other Mother are just a little…off.
Coraline is an unnerving read, and it perfectly exemplifies everything that I admire about Neil Gaiman’s work and how he makes the unbelievable, well, believable. The creepy aspect of this story is not dimmed down simply because Coraline is a child. If anything, that is what makes it all the more frightening. This is a wonderful story on so many levels, and for every type of reader. Coraline incorporates themes of strength, friendship, and facing your fears that I think would be great to share with younger audiences. The movie, though? I still have nightmares.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – 160 Pages
Shirley Jackson’s writing is gold. Let’s just throw that out there now. I may be singing her praises now, but I’m actually really late to the Shirley Party. I read her short story “The Lottery” a few years ago, which I loved, so I don’t know why it took me so long (aka last week) to finally continue on with her work.
That’s right, I read We Have Always Lived in the Castle for the very first time in my life last week, but it did not take me long to see why this is considered a modern classic. Upon finishing it, I wanted to shout at everyone to go read it. This story is wild, people. I am struggling to even put my sentiments into actual words. The book is told from the perspective of Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood, and she, along with her sister and uncle, are living in isolation from their small town. As the events of the story unfold, you slowly learn what exactly happened to the rest of the Blackwoods and why this town is actually afraid of/ despises the family.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is not outright scary so much as it is downright creepy. Merricat is not a character whose head you want to be in for too long, as she thinks such unnerving things with a blasé kind of attitude. She is definitely not someone I’d want to encounter on the streets late at night, alone…
What’s great about this book is the entire atmosphere is dark and bizarre. It just screams “read me for Halloween”. Jackson’s writing is incredible, and she sets the tone of the whole book from the very first sentence. You won’t find monsters or anything “scary” in We Have Always Lived in the Castle. It is merely psychological suspense at its best.
Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King – 464 Pages
This list would not be complete without the king of horror himself: Stephen King. With novels like It,Under the Dome, and The Stand, it may seem like Stephen King is physically incapable of writing a short story. Fear not! Everything’s Eventual is here to prove you wrong.
Everything’s Eventual is a collection of fourteen of King’s short stories, and while the entire collection is almost 500 pages long, the majority of the stories in here do not exceed fifty. They are all amazing, and if this post were not about spooky stories to read in one sitting, I’d tell you to go forth and read the whole darn thing. But, in the interest of time, I will highly recommend two of my absolute favorites from this collection.
The first is called “That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French”. This title is, of course, in reference to the French word for “deja vu”. It follows a married woman who is riding in the car, and she is reminiscing on the things that have happened in her life, including her marriage. You soon realize that events are repeating themselves, and they all have the same outcome. The plot twist that comes later is one that truly blew me away and had me whispering, “that’s crazy” over and over again to no one in particular, considering I read this story when I was alone. “That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French” is twenty-four pages long.
The second story from this collection that you need to read is “1408”. Yes, that “1408″, which was turned into a movie in 2007 with John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. I thought the movie was awesome, but there is something about the actual written story that still gives me chills. It follows Mike Enslin, who is a best-selling writer known for his work on famous, haunted places across the country. Despite this, Mike himself is a skeptic and doesn’t really believe any of what he writes about. The story begins when he checks into a hotel and stays in room 1408- a room that has been a hot-bed for multiple suicides and even more “natural deaths”. “1408” is a story I’d approach with caution. This leans away from the unnerving and more into the psychological horror and plain horror genre, that could potentially be too unsettling for some readers. If you think you’re brave enough, though, you can read “1408” here.
There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury
“There Will Come Soft Rains” is a futuristic short story by Ray Bradbury that was included as a section in his novel, The Martian Chronicles. We are introduced to a smart house- one that cleans, cooks, and basically takes care of anything the family of the house needs…but where is the family?! As you go through the house’s daily tasks with it, you slowly realize that something is not right, and that the world at large has forever changed.
I have a lot of favorite Bradbury stories, and this one is definitely at the top of the list. The historical context of “There Will Come Soft Rains” makes this story even more powerful, as it deals with many of the fears that stemmed from the Cold War era. This is also a must-read for fans of the Fallout franchise.You can read the full story here.
That’s it, folks! Let me know down in the comments section if you read (or still plan to read) anything spooky for Halloween! I hope you get to check out some of these stories that I’ve mentioned above, because they are all incredible.