Aaru by David Meredith Review



Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear.

She is sixteen years old.

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model.

Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale.
What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

My Thoughts:

The synopsis of this book piqued my interest and it definitely did not disappoint. Immortality is something that I think everyone thinks about from time to time and this book explores this possibility in a unique way of downloading your persona onto a massive super computer called “Aaru”.

The story was very well done…the writing flowed very smoothly and I was engaged from the first page to the last. It had some unexpected moments and ended in a way that would satisfy but also leaves me wanting more (book 2, Aaru, Halls of Hel is advertised to be released in 2018).

The characters were interesting. I did find it difficult to be on board with Koren being  only 13 or 14 years old, based on the lack of parental supervision and some of the things that happened to her (although I realize that this does happen).

Rose was a sweet character and I loved seeing the virtual world through her eyes. I did find some of the concepts of Aaru to be a bit confusing at times but overall the world building was solid.

This is not a Christian fiction book, so there was some cursing and some references to Heaven and God that I didn’t agree with.

Overall, this was a nice change from the contemporary stories I’ve been immersed in lately. It had a mixture of many genres…fantasy, thriller, horror, mystery, and romance.

My Rating:

4 stars

I received this book from the author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch Review

dark matter

Goodreads Synopsis: “Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable–something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

My Thoughts: Wow!!! This book blew my mind! A fun adventure from the first page to the last, my jaw dropped several times while reading this. There were many unexpected moments that I never saw coming. This is the kind of story you want to go into blindly because the revelations make it amazing.

This is the epitome of a thought provoking book…I can’t stop thinking of the plot and all of the things that are presented in the story.

The protagonist, Jason, is very likable and I was rooting for him throughout the story. His wife Daniela was a bit less well known…you only saw her through Jason’s eyes but it was clear how much he adored her.

I appreciated that the author didn’t need to use gore or vulgarity to make the story impactful.

This story crosses several genres…science fiction, suspense, mystery, thriller, romance, and even has some horror aspects. I truly believe that this is the kind of book that would appeal to a large audience of readers.

This book was amazing and I recommend it to everyone. It will live on my favorites list.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


Vacation by Matthew Costello Review

vacationGenre: Horror, Adult Fiction

Plot According to Goodreads: In the near future after a global crisis causes crops to fail and species to disappear . . .  something even more deadly happens. Groups of humans around the world suddenly become predators, feeding off their own kind. These “Can Heads” grow to such a threat that fences, gated compounds, and SWAT-style police protection become absolutely necessary in order to live.

After one Can Head attack leaves NYPD cop Jack Murphy wounded, Jack takes his wife and kids on a much-needed vacation. Far up north, to a camp where families can still swim and take boats out on a lake, and pretend that the world isn’t going to hell.

But the Can Heads are never far away, and nothing is quite what it seems in Paterville. . . .

My Thoughts: I went into this book with no expectations…the synopsis sounded good and I was in the mood for something different. The book was great and I really enjoyed it. This is the type of book that reads like a movie…the sentences are very clipped and short and there is a lot of dialogue….this made it a very quick read.

The Good: There are no extremely gory scenes…things are described so that the reader can imagine what is happening but there aren’t a lot of graphic details. I can be a bit squeamish when things get too graphic so I was thankful for this.  The vacation setting was a fun twist on a common storyline…I love settings in the wilderness or leisurely places. The story had steady pacing, there were no places where I felt the story lagged.

What I didn’t Like: The world in this story was very interesting but there were a lot of things that were left unexplained….I wanted to know why the can heads did what they did and more about the world. (This is the first book in a duology so it’s possible that things will become clearer in the second book). I didn’t feel like I got to know the characters as well as I would have liked.

My Rating: 4/5 stars.

Within These Walls by Ania Ahlborn Review

witwPlot: Horror, Mystery, Psychological Thriller

Judging the Cover: This cover jut screams “creepy ghost story” to me and I love it!

Plot according to Goodreads: With his marriage on the rocks and his life in shambles, washed up crime writer Lucas Graham is desperate for a comeback. So when he’s promised exclusive access to notorious cult leader and death row inmate Jeffrey Halcomb, the opportunity is too good to pass up. Lucas leaves New York for the scene of the crime—a split-level farmhouse on the gray-sanded beach of Washington State—a house whose foundation is steeped in the blood of Halcomb’s diviners; runaways who, thirty years prior, were drawn to his message of family, unity, and unconditional love. Lucas wants to tell the real story of Halcomb’s faithful departed, but when Halcomb goes back on his promise of granting Lucas exclusive information on the case, he’s left to put the story together on his own. Except he is not alone. For Jeffrey Halcomb promised his devout eternal life…and within these walls, they’re far from dead.

My thoughts: This story pulled me in from the beginning and didn’t disappoint in any way. There was a point when the scariness of the book caused me to resolve only to read it during the day.

The Good: The story revolves around a cult leader named Jeffrey Halcomb who is in prison for murder of a follower. Jeffrey’s family of followers was very similar to the Manson family (who the author references a few times in the book). I’ve always been fascinated by cults and the way people are able to persuade others to do outrageous things…it’s a very scary thought and the fact that this happens in real life is terrifying.

The author is a gifted storyteller. The imagery in the book is very clear and the premise, although it reminded me of the Manson family, was very original compared to the other books I’ve read.

There were a few twists and that I didn’t see coming and the ending was a surprise (which I loved).

What I didn’t Like: There were a few moments that could have been edited out due to relevance but it didn’t really bother me.

My rating: 4 1/2 stars (out of 5)

I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy Review

imageGenre: Horror, Adult Fiction

Judging the Cover: I was drawn to the cover and it persuaded me to request the book from NetGalley. I’ve always thought that there was something creepy about the woods so I found this cover intriguing.

Plot according to Goodreads: A young New York City couple with a boy and a baby in tow, Ben and Caroline Tierney had it all…until Ben’s second novel missed the mark, Caroline lost her lucrative banking job, and something went wrong with 8-year-old Charlie. When Ben inherits land way upstate from his grandmother, the two of them began to believe in second chances. But upon arriving in Swannhaven, a town that seems to have been forgotten by time, they’re beset by strange sights and disconcerting developments…and they begin to realize they might have made their worst mistake yet. But what dark secret is buried in this odd place? And will Ben and Caroline figure it out soon enough to save their young family?

My Thoughts: I want to preface this review by saying that I read this as I was getting into a reading slump so I don’t think I had as much patience for reading as I normally do. This story felt like something I’ve seen many times before…family needs to escape the city and moves into a huge house in the country but strange things begin to happen when they get there. I found the story to be extremely slow moving and couldn’t connect with any of the characters (I didn’t even feel like the characters were connecting with each other). I decided to put it down permanently at the 46% mark. I really tried to commit to it but I had no interest in the plot whatsoever. This wasn’t the book for me.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The Stranger by Harlan Coben Review

The StrangerGenre: Adult Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Judging the Cover: I like the colors and the houses strung together but I’m not sure I would pick this one up if I wasn’t familiar with the author.

The plot from Goodreads: Married parents Adam and Hannah confront the shocking secret on which their marriage is built—leaving Adam wondering whether he ever truly knew Hannah at all.

My thoughts: I went into this book with no expectations. I was not disappointed. The story is about secrets being revealed and the mysteries that occur after the revelations. I found this story interesting and unpredictable. It wasn’t “unputdownable” but I enjoyed it in its entirety.

The Good: This is the second book I’ve read by Harlan Coben and I love his writing style. It’s straightforward and simple and it’s very easy to fall into. The plot had many facets to it that all came together in the end. The characters were all interesting and even though there were many characters, it was easy to keep track of them.

The Things I Didn’t Like: There really wasn’t anything “special” about this book. I enjoyed it but there was nothing that really stood out and I feel that it won’t be memorable over time.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Snowblind by Christopher Golden Review

snowblindHere in Pennsylvania, we tend to get a lot of snow and I love it. I always try to read a “wintry” story at least once during the winter and this was a perfect book to read.

Genre: Horror, Adult Fiction, Thriller

Judging the Cover: I love this cover! It really conveys the feeling of winter and it even has a bit of texture to represent the ice on the trees.

Plot from Goodreads: The small New England town of Coventry had weathered a thousand blizzards…but never one like this. Icy figures danced in the wind and gazed through children’s windows with soul-chilling eyes. People wandered into the whiteout and were never seen again. Families were torn apart, and the town would never be the same.
Now, as a new storm approaches twelve years later, the folks of Coventry are haunted by the memories of that dreadful blizzard and those who were lost in the snow. As old ghosts trickle back, this new storm will prove to be even more terrifying than the last.

My Thoughts: I am not always a fan of stories with paranormal elements but I really enjoyed this one. Each character was interesting and the plot was very interesting. There were times when I was genuinely feeling scared and had to put the book down for a while (especially when I was reading it at night). Definitely worth the read.

The Good: This story had a great atmosphere. The town of Coventry was a place that felt familiar. The characters were all well developed and I was interested in each of their stories. There were some very scary parts in this book and it takes a lot for a book to scare me.

The Not So Good: The ending left me with a few unanswered questions and I would have loved an epilogue to wrap things up.

My Rating: This was a solid 4 star book for me…it wasn’t “unputdownable” but it was highly enjoyable. Definitely recommended for fans of a good ghost story.

Solitary by Alexander Gordon Smith Review

solitaryThis is book 2 of the Escape from The Furnace Series, so I won’t be able to share a lot about this book as I don’t  want to give away spoilers.

Genre: Horror, Young Adult

Judging the Cover: This cover really represents the story well…I also picture Alex, the main character to look similar to the guy on the cover.

My thoughts: I hate to say it but I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first one. I felt like it kind of dragged in the middle and was a bit repetitive.

The good: The setting is great and the mystery of the story kept me interested.

The bad: The pacing seemed a bit slow and I still don’t feel like I know the characters very well.

My rating: This was an average read for me, I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it so I gave it 3/5 stars. I’m still continuing the story, I have to find out what happens!

Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith Review

lockdownThe Plot from Goodreads: Furnace Penitentiary: An underground hellhole. A place of pure evil with walls soaked in blood. Murderous gangs and vicious guards rule the darkness. Horrific creatures steal people away in the dead of night. And the impossible – escape – is the only hope.

Genre: Young adult, Horror, Science Fiction

Series: This is book 1 of a 5 book series

My Thoughts: I would NEVER want to go to Furnace! The story is about Alex, who has been sent to Furnace, an underground prison for teenage boys. He meets his new roommate, Donovan and makes a friend named Zee. Things at Furnace are very hard and scary. Survival is not easy.

The good: The author’s descriptions are very detailed so that the reader is able to very clearly see Furnace. The story had action non-stop from the first page to the last. The pacing is great and the writing style is very easy to get into.

The Not So Good: The book has a lot of unanswered questions but it is book 1 of a 5 book series so I’m sure everything will be resolved eventually. I didn’t feel like I got to know the characters as much as I would have liked. The main character, Alex, drove me crazy with some of his choices.  The book ended with a huge cliffhanger, which may be a negative for some people but I’m planning on reading the second book soon, so it’s not really a negative for me.

My rating: 4/5 stars. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a creepy story that is a bit bizarre.