[625]: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

22816087 HarperCollins | May 19th, 2015
Hardcover, 867 pages
Adult Fiction | Science Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
CHAPTERS | AMAZON


What would happen if the world were ending?

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain…

Five thousand years later, their progeny — seven distinct races now three billion strong — embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown … to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.


When I first started my very own minimalism movement, I made a list of things I needed to tackle: 3 closets, 4 toy boxes, a wall-to-wall bookshelf, bedrooms, and a number of bathroom sinks. As the list got longer, I felt daunted. It got worse when I was faced with the debacle that was my bookshelf. I don’t quite know what to do. It was a mess of books to keep, books to give away. When it was all laid out in stacks before me, I wanted to put them all back and forget about the whole thing. I took a break. Stepped back and imagined the big picture. I was coasting after that.

Seveneves is that kind of read. First of all, it’s a monster of a book, a Sci-Fi of all things. Which means, my brain was fried by the end of the first chapter. I’ve never fully committed myself to reading something as elaborately plotted as this book. But once I gave myself some time to think about it, I realize the feat of what I was able to accomplish. Seveneves is a story that spanned thousands of years into the future. It is jam-packed with space jargon. So much so that I would dare suggest it’s the closest thing to a Rocket Science textbook as I’m going to get. The most significant thing of all is that it’s a story completely lacking in human emotion. It’s dry and sterile – and just like every other Sci-Fi books I’ve ever read. Only more involved. So did I enjoy this book? Surprisingly enough, yes. Yes, I did.

This book has quite a good hook: “The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.” And just like that, the human race was on the clock to save whom and what they can before Earth is engulfed in hellfire. Bits and pieces of moon rock debris will create a hard rain of high-velocity ammunition destined to destroy life, as we know it. In the meantime, a space ark meant to sustain life into the future will carry a select number of astronomers, scientists, and members of the general population needed for the human race to go on.

Life in space is frightful enough as it is. But if you add politics and ego to the mix, you have less of a chance of life evolving into something better than what you’ve known. That’s exactly what happened. The space ark is built into little arklets that can break apart in case of damage. So when some of the population rebelled, they didn’t think about the consequences of their actions. Humans, even the educated ones, become stupid when they’re led by egos. Water is scarce, food as well. The onset of space dementia accelerates. Populations quickly lessen from a few hundred to less than twenty. Where is the hope for humanity now?

Thankfully, there were few level headed scientists who knew what needed to be done. And this is where the title of the book comes into play. I’m not going to say anymore because that’s part of the charm of this book. It made me wonder if the author built a story around his fondness for this palindrome. In which case, I’ll come out and say, brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Even though I had to get past 600-some odd pages before the title was explained, the journey to get there was torturous fun.

Seveneves is an exhaustive tale of the human race’s resilience no matter the odds. Where it gives us hope that we will go on, it’s also a sad revelation of our tendency to destroy each other at will. Be advised, the author is quite fond of long narratives. I would say it’s best to listen to the audio book, but even that nearly put me to sleep.

 

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[623]: HIM by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

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I’ve been chomping at the bit to read this book since I got wind of it from Quest Reviews’ blog. I’d forgotten about it for a few months until the book resurfaced last week while I was wasting valuable time browsing Goodreads. Holy Hannah. *fans self* Hockey players. Gay hockey players. Gah-huh.

RYAN AND JAMIE

Since they were teens, Ryan and Jamie has attended a hockey summer camp where they learn to hone their skills on the ice. Ryan has always known that he likes boys more than girls. And he’s always been the rebellious, ballsy type who does everything to get what he wants. It just so happens that he wants his best friend, Jamie. He’s been in love with him for years. One drunken, horny night, he propositioned Jamie. After making good on a bet that he’d lost, he severed all contacts with him because he felt that he forced himself on his very straight BFF.

Years later, their respective schools are about to face off in a hockey championship equivalent to Final Four. When Jamie’s team lost, Ryan could not accept the fact that he’ll never see him again. He’s always regretted the friendship that they’d lost and the radio silence that he initiated. And since he wants to get Jamie out of his system once and for all, he’s going to do whatever it takes to do just that. Even if it means teaching at the same camp for six weeks where it all began.

SECOND CHANCE, FRIENDS TO LOVERS

I mean, who doesn’t enjoy this type of romance, right? Combine that with the hotness that is Ryan and my Kindle practically burst into flames. This is also about Jamie’s realization that he may have been lying to himself all these years. But it wasn’t a gradual thing. He didn’t suddenly realize he was gay because he couldn’t get it up with the girls. Ryan was more like an intense static electricity for him. As soon as he saw him, he knew deep down that underneath the lust was something so much more.

Ryan is a tattooed fantasy come to life. He’s aggressive, persistent, crass, and an honest-to-goodness bad boy of your dreams. Above all, he’s courageous who’s ever so willing to face the reality of who he is and would not wait for fate to intervene. I love that about him. He’d rather face the world with honesty than wait for the rug to be swept under him.

I adore the friendship and the eventual relationship between them. They had each other’s backs from day one, but they’re also very competitive. Their banter was hilarious, but man, they’re hotter when they argue.

Speaking of hot, the sex scenes are guaranteed to get you reaching for ice-cold water so you can douse yourself. My face was permanently on fire not because I was embarrassed, but because reading the sex scenes felt like rubbing ghost chili on your face: painfully hot.

IN RETROSPECT

This writing duo perfectly captured all the emotions of love between best friends. The insecurities, the doubts, and the joy of realizing they reciprocate your feelings. It’s also about finally figuring out who you are and what would make you the happiest in the grand scheme of things. It’s not always an easy decision, but if you’re honest with yourself, the rest will fall into place.

 

 

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[622]: Shimmer by Paula Weston

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The Mother of a Cliffhanger

Paula Weston knows how to write them and write them well. Practically every book in this series ended in the most painful way possible. Haze, in particular, was the most painful of all. So Shimmer started where Shadows ended – the Outcasts had no choice but to seek shelter at the Sanctuary while they figure out how to rescue Rafa and Taya from the Gatekeepers. For Gaby, it means that she might not have a choice but to ask for help from the same people who knowingly fed her to a hellion in the hopes of jogging her memory. Whatever their methods were, she knew that they have the angel-power to destroy the Gatekeepers and the iron room where Rafa and Taya were being held. Gaby has never been the most patient person, especially when waiting means knowing that Rafa is slowly being tortured to death.

The Sanctuary

In the cold mountains of Italy, Gaby and Jude will find out more about the women who built the iron room in Iowa. A secret society made up of women whose primary objective is to rid the Earth of rephaims by any means necessary. But the knowledge they unearth would bring more questions and traitors in their ranks. Regardless of what they find out, the rephaims would be more divided than ever.

Anxious Anticipation

By now I can say without a doubt that Paula Weston’s Rephaim series surpassed all the other angel series that I’ve held dear over the years. Angellfall by Susan Ee took forever to finish and when the series ender came out, it was big let down. Daughters of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor was great, but the installments were painfully too long and was saturated by purple prose that they didn’t resonate with me at all. There’s not a lot of angel books series that I follow. In fact, these were it. So I was really hoping that the Rephaim series would come through. Well, it did. And all the familiar feelings of anticipation and nervous anxiety came rushing back as soon as I held the book in the palm of my hands. I knew she was going to take me for one hell of a ride.

While Shimmer wasn’t as action packed as its predecessor, it was full of revelations that made me hold my breath. My head spun with every discovery – end over end because I can’t figure out all the implications of each revelation. Ms. Weston knows how to make my heart pound even if her characters barely lift a finger. And with Rafa’s absence, she knows that she has to make it up to us somehow.

I knew she wouldn’t be able to resist torturing us again, so heads up, this ends with yet another cliffhanger. I sure am glad I have Burn sitting prettily on my shelf because I for one wouldn’t be able to resist taking a peek at what really happened before Gaby’s and Jude’s memories were erased.

Shimmer is the kind of book that will activate all your sweat glands, will give you heart palpitations and a feeling of restless wanting for the next book. You’ve been warned.


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MY REVIEWS:

Shadows | Haze

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[620]: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

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This book was like a bag of chips. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop. It was so easy to read with a story so addictive that you’d want to savor all its sandy glory. Prior to reading this book, I was worried that it would not be for me because my experience with this type of trope was limited to The Wrath and the Dawn. And I’m not going to lie I haven’t been able to finish that since I tried months and months ago. The story was as dry as the desert heat and I had a hard time following the story. But Rebel of the Sands surprised me. I liked it. I liked it a lot.

ABOUT THE BOOK

This is a story about one girl’s hopes and desire to find her place in the world; a world so unlike the one she knows. Where food is as abundant as the kindness she seeks. And where girls are respected and valued. She longed to be free from the shackles of her aunt’s cruelty and the sickening desire of her uncle to make her one of his wives. In her town, there are only two possibilities for a girl like her: to wed or end up dead. Forever a slave to the men of her family. She’s a self-taught sharpshooter, skilled and precise. So when she finally makes her escape, she’ll be sure to carry a gun with her.  When she meets the equally skilled foreigner at a shooting game, she saw her chance at freedom. But the foreigner had ulterior motives.

Through him, the adventure that she sought was more than she could ever bargain for. Fleeing on a mythical horse, she’ll find out that the foreigner is wanted for treason by the Sultan’s Army. But that doesn’t stop her from falling in love. What she doesn’t know is that Jin has the key to figuring out who she truly is and the role she must play in a war Jin and the Rebel Prince has been waging against the Sultan and his sons.

MY THOUGHTS

This book far exceeded my expectations. I never thought it was anything about magical, powerful shifters, or humans with extraordinary powers. It’s about a kingdom torn by an ambitious ruler who would sell his country to the foreigners if only to gain more power. It’s about a girl who believed in herself and her worth. Who would unselfishly risk her life to save others. Amani is an empowered, inspiring character. Nothing held her back on her quest to seek her own freedom. And she was not boy-crazy – which is refreshing considering how many heroines have been allowed to be distracted by the easy, charming smiles of their counterparts. Nope. While all she wanted is to be free in the beginning, she found a greater calling once she was at the rebel camp. She knew in her heart that she had to help out the people that she left behind because not helping would mean more death for her countrymen. Unlike her trust in Jin, she didn’t dare doubt her allegiance to the rebels. She stayed true even though she couldn’t grasp the truth about who she is at first.

The author was very skilled in giving us a bit of everything. She combined magic, fantasy, and romance into one engrossing story. Great debut, Ms. Hamilton. I for one, can’t wait for the next saga. There’s still so much to know about Amani. So much to know about where her relationship with Jin would go.


GOODREADS SUMMARY | Viking Books for YR | March 8th, 2016


 

 

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[618]: Worth It All by Claudia Connor

24683241 LOVESWEPT | April 19th, 2016
E-ARC Courtesy of publisher and Net Galley
Adult Fiction | Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
GOODREADS | AMAZON | CHAPTERS


After a car accident stole his dreams of pro football, JT McKinney has made a new life for himself far away from his old one.

He spends his time in a prosthetic research and development facility, his attention on machines instead of people until a chance meeting with a young mother and her five-year-old daughter who need his help. He’ll have to let go of the past if he wants a future.


I can never resist the McKinney Brothers. It’s one of the few series that I religiously follow. As soon as I see the instalment up on Net Galley, I put in a request tout suite. And as soon as I got approved, I read the darn book right away. This one will not be out till April, but I just had to read it! Admittedly, it’s not as great as the first two books in the series, but JT’s story is still a strong follow-up.

ABOUT THE STORY

JT McKinney is the baby of the family. He had a promising football career until a car accident took one of his legs. Since then, he turned his focus to prosthetics and had created an innovative, successful company. But since his accident, he was pretty much a closed book when it comes to the matters of the heart. That is until a mother and daughter blindsided him.

WHY I LIKE THESE BOOKS

The thing about Ms. Connor’s books is she does the family dynamics so well. It doesn’t even matter whether it’s a single parent family unit or like the McKinney’s, a huge family consisting of grown men and women with a million little kids (slight exaggeration).  She combines the realities of relationships with the perfect amount of romance. She then adds a bit of steam for those looking for heat. I don’t find her stories campy like the drug store romance books you see at the checkout counters. Not that there’s anything wrong with those books.

I must say though that this story was missing a little bit of angst. I do enjoy a story that makes my heart hurt even just a little bit and I’m sorry to say, this one was missing that factor.

One of the things that I like about this series is Claudia’s characterization of the kids. I fell in love with Matt and Abby’s brood; Hannah’s patients did me in. In this book, Casey stole the spotlight. She’s so sassy and adorable beyond words. Much like JT, Casey is also an amputee – not because of an accident but because of a birth defect. She doesn’t mince words, which I guess, is a toddler trait. Oh, but is she the most adorable five-year-old! She has had troubles with her prosthetics, but because they’re poor, Paige only managed to get her the most basic one. JT offers to help, but he ends up doing so much more than giving a single mom a break in life.

All in all, I don’t think I’ll ever stop reading Ms. Connor’s books. She knows what I like and does it so well. If you have the chance to check out this series, don’t hesitate.

 

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[617]: The Widow by Fiona Barton

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The Widow is a mystery that centers on one particular crime. A toddler disappeared in the front lawn of their house creating a vacuum of events that will lead them to Glen and Jean Taylor – a  couple seemingly content in their childless suburban life. But the more we delve into their story, the more we see what’s really behind the curtain. Jean Taylor was a devout wife to Glen Taylor’s old-fashioned, patriarchal disposition. They are routinely British as marriages go. The book opened with Glen already dead, so the sequence of events threw me off a little.

Throughout the novel, we’re given privy to relationship between media, witnesses, suspects, and the police. I enjoyed trying to decipher everyone’s motives and degree of participation to the crime. As each revelation brought me closer to the truth, the more conflicted I felt. Don’t get me wrong, there is a clear perpetrator here – that was given from the very start, but the whole time, I felt a bit of sadness for a devoted wife who longed for a child for years. Ms. Barton brought these characters to life not to be endeared or revered. Certainly, not all of them are all that likable. But they are all perfectly flawed in their weaknesses.

The Widow also offers a few perspectives –  with each chapter headlined from the point of view of the speaker: The Widow, The Detective, The Reporter. So the story was told as they saw fit. Obviously, the main focus of the story is Jean Taylor and the demise of a relatively quiet and comfortable marriage. And with the death of her husband, a joyous but guilt-ridden relief.

IN RETROSPECT

The Widow is nowhere near the twisted tale of Gone Girl, but it offers a different kind of nightmare altogether. Fiona Barton cleverly flayed every dark niches of a crime investigation without losing the story’s suspenseful momentum.  Disturbing to say the least. A revelation in more ways than one. The Widow was like getting a peek at how your neighbours actually live. Their secret lives that we never see. And in the end, it makes you wonder if you’re truly better off knowing or if you could’ve gone on  your whole life not knowing. Either way, you can’t unsee/unknow it.


GOODREADS SUMMARY | Penguin Random House Canada | February 16th, 2016 | Chapters | Amazon


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[615]: Dear Emma by Katie Heaney

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Have you ever been surrounded by exuberant teenagers talking all at once? When you’re trying to hold on to your sanity and rather, futilely keep track of the conversation at the same time? That’s how I felt while I was reading this book. Don’t get me wrong this was funny and entertaining. But at times, I wanted to tell everyone to shut the hell up (the characters, I mean) so I can figure out what the hell was going on. There’s an almost manic quality to the writing that reminds of  Lorelai and Rory Gilmore’s notorious dialogues. That’s either a good thing or a bad thing depending on how much of a fan you are/were. But no matter how good The Gilmore Girls was, I could only watch it in little doses before I run screaming to the hills.

ABOUT THE STORY

Dear Emma follows the story of Harriet, an advice columnist who found herself possibly needing a dose of her own medicine after being unofficially, unceremoniously dumped. It seems shady that Keith would simply fade out of her life hoping that she wouldn’t notice the underhanded way he was shafting her. But when his new girlfriend wrote a Dear Emma letter, Harriet saw an opportunity to avenge her hurt pride. However, the more she gets to know Remy (who happens to work at the library with her), the more she realizes that she might just be a hack when it comes to love and friendships in general.

LOVE IN THE ERA OF SOCIAL MEDIA

This book tackles the dynamics of relationships in the era of social media and modern technology. From the nuances of texting etiquettes to our online stalking tendencies,  Dear Emma shows us how relationships work/break through our interactions in the modern world.  But the general lesson I can take away from this book, is that boys are stupid. I can’t tell you how often I said that while I was reading. After the hundredth time, my husband finally took offense and mumbled, “Not all of us are.” To which I conceded, okay fine. Not all the time then, under my breath. And these guys are supposed to be college students. When do boys actually grow up? The answer scares me, to be honest.

AUTHENTIC DIALOGUES CAN BE TIRING

One of the things that drove me crazy is the authenticity of the dialogues. In some instances, this would’ve been fully appreciated. But halfway through the novel and after all the shouty-caps and gratuitous exclamations points, I got tired.  I kid you not, I was exhausted. There is nothing more tiring than keeping the fervent enthusiasm of the dialogues in your head. Not even my teen can be this exuberant. Though, I should mention that Dear Emma has its moments as well.  Not everything is  fun and boy-bashing games (though those were fun, too).

Regardless of that hiccup, I think that this is one smart, funny chick-lit. Expect to find positive dynamics between women that shows friendship, camaraderie, and empowerment. Katie is a BuzzFeed editor, so you know you’re going to be on the up and up with the millennials.


GOODREADS SUMMARY | AMAZON | CHAPTERS | Grand Central Publishing, March 1st, 2016 | Paperback, 320 pp.


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[614]: Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

3993839 St. Martin’s Griffin | March 3rd, 2009
Paperback, 431 pp. | Audio, 14 Hours and 45 mins.
Adult Fiction | Thriller | Horror | Suspense
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
GOODREADS SUMMARY | AMAZON | CHAPTERS


When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there’s either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills… and there’s nothing wrong with Joe Ledger’s skills. And that’s both a good, and a bad thing. It’s good because he’s a Baltimore detective that has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new taskforce created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can’t handle. This rapid response group is called the Department of Military Sciences or the DMS for short. It’s bad because his first mission is to help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a dreadful bio-weapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies. The fate of the world hangs in the balance…


This book was awesome! Patient Zero has been on my bookshelves for at least a couple of years now and I’m kicking myself for ignoring it for so long. It was such a refreshing take on the tired living dead trope. But the best thing about Patient Zero was that it’s the first zombie novel that actually had a [spoiler alert] happy ending! I’m pretty surprised about that. Anyway, if you’ve been following the news lately, this one is pretty much like reading current events – minus the zombies, of course. I mean, you’ve got a group of terrorist bent  on killing Americans. It shows their fanatic hate towards the Western world and what they will do to further their cause. In here, a gazillionaire whose front is providing cures for diseases in the third world countries is also funding terrorist organizations on the side. He’s pretty suave about his business dealings so no one knew what he’s been doing.

Our hero is Baltimore PD’s Joe Ledger. He is one bad mutha. In fact, he may be a little unhinged if I may say so myself. He got recruited by a new and clandestine government agency who’s even more powerful than FEMA (and trust me, FEMA can hold the government by its nose in states of emergencies). His mission is to stop the terrorist from unleashing holy hell on Earth. They created a virus that turns people into zombies within seconds of infection. So there’s no time for quarantine just wide-spread chaos. Joe Ledger is pretty bad-ass. He’s also intuitive, intelligent and he doesn’t recognize authority. Precisely the kind of smart-mouthed undercover agents I like.

There is an addictive quality to this book. The kind that won’t let you sleep until you’ve read the entire thing. Because I downloaded this from Audible, I listened with an obsessive furor. I really couldn’t stop. It helps that there was no down time in the story. It hits the ground running right off the bat.  This series tackles different problems with each installment (though they might be related), but each has a clear ending. Which is great if you’re tired of waiting for  installments. All in all, a great zombie read. It’s action-packed, funny, highly entertaining, totally addictive.

 

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[613]: The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

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After a fit of starts and stops, I finally managed to read this book in its entirety on Friday. We didn’t have the greatest of starts, this book, and I. The first few chapters was painstakingly slow, but the story picked up as soon Elli escaped from the Temple of the Rock. After that, it was smooth sailing. I can never deny Sarah Fine’s talent in the world she lets us see. It doesn’t matter where she takes us. More often, it’s a world entirely her own. The stories tend to be dark, with characters well-suited and perfectly conceptualized. I will never doubt this woman again.

ABOUT THE STORY

Somewhere along the way, the Priests that govern the queen’s people got greedy. They wanted powers beyond anyone’s imagination and control of the kingdom forever. Three hundred years before the world of Impostor Queen, a prophecy that the strongest Queen will be born. A Queen who will rule and protect a kingdom where fire and ice wielders will have the free will to live however they want. When the stars aligned and this powerful queen was born, the priests did whatever they could to find this child. They had so much hope for her. They trusted her to protect them from the invading Soturis. And to provide for them when the winter months was long and cold. It is to their utter disappointment when Saadella was unable to wield any magic. When she found out that was to be put to death, she escaped with the help of her handmaiden.

Near-death, bleeding, and delirious, she was rescued by a mine dweller suspected to be a part of a group of thieves. Here, she will find out more about herself. She will find the truth about the prophecy. And most of all, she will find love. Love for an ice wielder who hates his power; and love for people who only ever wanted to be free.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT

For non-fantasy readers such as I, Sarah Fine has this incredible ability to simplify her world and her stories.  Sometimes, the prophecies are written in such a way that will put Bill Shakespeare’s writing to shame. I mean, seriously. I’d hate to have to read and re-read that part of the book just to get a better understanding of what I was up against. But Sarah’s writing is so concise and clear that I don’t burst a vein reading them.

I must admit that I had a tough time with Elli’s powers and her role in the prophecy at first. I was disappointed with it, in fact. I thought it was anti-climactic. She was supposed to be powerful, but she hardly exerted any of it. She’s able to siphon powers, but she’s not able to wield them. She’s more like a Teflon. Fire and ice do nothing to her. I mean, she can wield power, but she would need a conductor first. If anything, I thought the Suurin was more powerful than her. Regardless, I thought she was still a great character. She went through the motions of denial and acceptance once she found out what she can do.

The romance. Oh, the romance. For a moment there, I thought Sarah Fine was going to ruin it all by introducing a love triangle arch. I’m so happy she didn’t. Though, I’m a little afraid of what’s to come. Let’s just say,“you will regret this love”, is not sitting so well with me. Ominous much?

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[612]: He Will Be My Ruin by KA Tucker

25814244 Atria Books | February 2nd, 2016
Source: Publisher | ARC, paperback 340 pp
Adult Fiction | Mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
GOODREADS | AMAZON | CHAPTERS


Twenty-eight-year-old Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a bottle of Xanax and a handle of Maker’s Mark, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers secrets in the childhood lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man who Celine herself claimed would be her ruin.

On the hunt for answers that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.


This was a different K.A. Tucker altogether. Gone are the steamy bed scenes and romance, replaced by some good old fashion mystery that enraptures a reader.  Admittedly, I was not completely sold at first. But the more I read, the more I got sucked into the vortex of mystery surrounding Celine’s death.

OPEN AND SHUT CASE

It was meant to be an open and shut case – death ruled by suicide. There was a  note; a bottle of pills and alcohol beside her bed. But Maggie had a hard time accepting the fact that her best friend could do something so cowardly. She was a person full of life and ambition. A person who loved her cancer-stricken mother and was working her way to a degree. So what would make her kill herself in such a way?

As Maggie tries to pack Celine’s belongings, she finds clues that will lead her to believe that not everything is at it seems. Slowly, she pieces together the life of her friend who struggled with money, love, and depression.

PLOT-DRIVEN MYSTERY

Like I mentioned above, this is not your usual KA Tucker fare. If you go into this book looking for romance, you will be disappointed. I tried my hardest to empathize with the characters, but at the end of it all, it’s a plot-driven book. I was more interested in what happened to Celine than I was with Maggie, or Grady, or Jace. This is also one of those few occasions when I didn’t care that Maggie had romantic trysts with both guys. I knew where Maggie’s head was at. And it wasn’t so much as getting romantically involved with the guys, but mostly because they were just…there. I wasn’t rooting for anyone. But through it all, Maggie’s focus was in solving Celine’s death.

I found the book to be a bit more verbose than usual. Packed with narratives as Maggie tries to unravel the last few months of Celine’s life. I had a difficult time solving the mystery. Just when I thought I had it in the bag, a wrench gets thrown into the mix. So as mysteries go, this was a neatly plotted, annoyingly bothersome novel.

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